If arguments were like swings at a baseball game, Former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, would be called 'out' on strikes for his recent comments about Islam. Three verbal swings and three verbal misses add up to a strike out. Like all strike outs, there will always be a later opportunity to step up to the plate, but for now, Mr. Huckabee should be sitting in the dugout reflecting on just how wrong he got it.
Strike one: Mr. Huckabee's claim regarding "a Muslim group that says that Jesus Christ and all the people that follow him are a bunch of infidels who should be essentially obliterated". This could actually count as two strikes, but because we should be charitable in our assessment (it's the 'Christian thing to do', right?), I am only counting it as one.
Huckabee is wrong on Islam claiming that Christians are infidels. In fact, like Jews, they are 'people of the book' -- a far cry from infidels. He is also wrong because even if he argued that despite the teachings of classical Islam, many Muslims call Christians infidels, does he know that the ones to whom he was referring have ever done that? Wrong on the facts and arguing with insufficient information = strike one.
Strike two: Mr. Huckabee's playing a dangerous game of reductio ad absurdum. Even if he really did not intend to compare the practice of Islam to viewing adult movies, as he certainly seemed to, there is no doubt that he used an argument meant to create fear of some non-existent outcome. "Where does this end? How far does it go?", he asked when referring to the rental of a church to a Muslim group.
Like all slippery slope arguments, the idea is to argue against something which does not exist because there is little or no problem with the issue at hand. Fear is the emotion which animates such arguments, and using his own fears to frighten others counts as strike two against Mr. Huckabee.
Strike three: Attacking Islam for a triumphalist version of faith which is little different than his own. When Mr. Huckabee asserts, "We're talking different when you have a faith that believes that all who don't adhere to that specific faith are infidels".
While classical Islam does not consider all others to be infidels, it does consider their faith to be incomplete and deficient. So does Mr. Huckabee's understand of Christian faith! There is no salvation except through Christ, according to the tenets of his faith, and so for Mr. Huckabee's pot calling Islam's kettle black, we call strike three.
At least for now, Governor Huckabee, you are out.
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