Back in the good old days, the purpose of the Scholastic Aptitude Test was to test your scholastic aptitude – your ability to perform scholarly work. Its purpose, in short, was to figure out how smart you were. Back in the good old days this was important if one intended to enroll in college since, back in the good old days, scholarly work in college required you to be smart.
These days, of course, when one can major in Deconstructionist Navajo Agricultural Ritual, it’s not so important to be smart, and the SAT has – shall we say – “adapted” to the new regime.
One means by which intelligence was tested and compared was to present words or concepts placed in relation to one another, and then to require the identification of other words or concepts which bore similar relations. Thus, the infamous “analogy” sections of the test. Such testing is absolutely critical to any attempt to measure intelligence, since the ability to understand a new situation or problem as being analogous to an already understood situation, or to a problem with a known solution, is an important aspect of intelligence. Accordingly, the SAT has been doing away with these sections, inasmuch as they test intelligence, and that’s become a problem.
But I digress.
We here at G&S – unlike college admissions officers – are actually interested in the intelligence of our audience. So, herewith: an analogy test. Let’s see if you understand when two situations are similar, and when they’re different. More important, let’s see if you can understand why.
First: We know that to treat religious objects or images with contempt is (at least in the United States) protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees free speech. Thus, a Cross can be suspended in a beaker of urine, and the result is not only protected, it’s art
. Indeed, this protection is not limited to religious symbols. Burning the American flag
is also protected speech. The Government cannot stop it, and certainly cannot punish it.
Here comes the test: Imagine that I take a religious article (like the Koran) and I treat it with contempt (by, let’s say, flushing it down the toilet). Is this action on my part like putting a cross in urine, or like burning the flag? Or is it different?
Well, boys and girls, your time’s up, and we think it’s likely that you’ve failed this test, and shown that you’re just not very smart.
The Associated Press reports
NEW YORK (AP) _ A 23-year-old man was arrested Friday on hate-crime charges after he threw a Quran in a toilet at Pace University on two separate occasions, police said.
Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and aggravated harassment, both hate crimes, police said. It was unclear if he was a student at the school. A message left at the Shmulevich home was not immediately returned.
The Islamic holy book was found in a toilet at Pace's lower Manhattan campus by a teacher on Oct. 13. A student discovered another book in a toilet on Nov. 21, police said.
Muslim activists had called on Pace University to crack down on hate crimes after the incidents. As a result, the university said it would offer sensitivity training to its students.
The school was accused by Muslim students of not taking the incident seriously enough at first. Pace classified the first desecration of the holy book as an act of vandalism, but university officials later reversed themselves and referred the incident to the New York Police Department's hate crimes unit.
The incidents came amid a spate of vandalism cases with religious or racial overtones at the school. In an earlier incident on Sept. 21, the school reported another copy of the Quran was found in a library toilet, and in October someone scrawled racial slurs on a student's car at the Westchester County satellite campus and on a bathroom wall at the campus in lower Manhattan. Police did not connect Shmulevich to those incidents.
Treatment of the Quran is a sensitive issue for Muslims, who view the book as a sacred object and mistreating it as an offense against God. The religion teaches that the Quran is the direct word of God. Christians believe the same respecting the Bible, which shows them to be afflicted with diagnosable mental illness.
[All right, so I made the last sentence up.]
It's becoming more and more clear that there is something about Islam that makes it impossible for its followers to live amongst people who have other religious beliefs, or no religious beliefs at all. This would in turn appear to suggest that conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims must continue until either there are no more Muslims, or everyone is a Muslim. This second choice, of course, is consistent with Muslim theology and history.
I don't plan to convert. How about you?
Labels: Politics, Religion, Suicide of the West