Following on my last message about transforming the energy in Egypt, it occurs to me that the underlying cause of what is happening is a conflict over whether religion and government should mix. We in America should be so very grateful that the framers of the Constitution saw the inherent danger and decided that Church and State should be kept apart.
Apparently what happened in Egypt was that one fascist dictator was overthrown, albeit by democratic means, by a fascist organization that was hell bent on making it a one-party Islamic state. The military and the secularists said, “No” to that, clumsily it has to be admitted, and ousted that government before it had gone too far in making it so.
So much of the Middle East is mired in bloody war over this issue, bedeviled by the drive to make Islam a form of government instead of a matter of personal devotion. But this is nothing new. History is so littered with wars of the same making that you have to wonder whether the late Christopher Hitchens, who wrote the book, “God Is Not Great,” had it right in saying that religion of all stripes has always been and will always be a force for evil in the world. When people use religious belief to justify their evil behavior, as the zealots of all religions, including Christianity, are prone to do, you can see his point.
But the lesson in all this for Americans is to stay vigilant against those who keep pushing for religion in schools, local government, and everywhere else they want to impose it, including our own bedrooms. Combining the two, even in subtle ways, is a recipe for endless conflict and should be resisted at all costs.
The other sobering thought for Americans is that President Morsi got elected with 51% of the vote with a turnout of around 40%. The ones who were most motivated to go out and vote got what they wanted, even if they were in fact the minority.
These figures are more or less the same as in America, even for presidential elections. Voting apathy, combined with a profound distrust of the fairness of the voting system, has its dangers as we can now plainly see in the case of Egypt. It has also been amply demonstrated in primary elections in America, where only the people with extreme agendas come out to vote for an extremist candidate running for office.
I can’t help thinking the Australians have it right when they say everyone must vote by law. At least then you can’t complain if you get what you didn’t want, which is what happened in Egypt.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts