Faith-based terror

To the editor:

Cal Thomas (Journal-World, July 19) deplores the supposed inability of Western moderns to unclutter their minds of historically ignorant, self-indulgent, pacifist ideas and see the connection between “private faith and public action” that drives Islamic jihadists to acts of terror.

What planet is Thomas living on? We secularists know better than anyone the character and danger of such religious absolutism. We have plenty of it in our own culture – historically and currently – and it is what we are continually striving against, no thanks to men like Thomas. His concern with jihadist trends in Islam is understandable, but where is his outrage over Christian extremism in America, the kind that inspired unrepentant abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolph, for instance?

Where is his demand that we bulldoze the churches and imprison the preachers who foster such zealotry, as he suggests be done with certain mosques? Secularists see the common danger in all such mythical obsessions, and strive to move beyond primitive blood sacrifice that poses as justice.

Contrary to common slurs, secular humanists have plenty of moral fiber, if Thomas would care to notice. Committed secular moderns have higher and sounder convictions, more life-respecting values, less ignorance, less cynicism about humanity, less self-indulgent fixation on personal salvation and pious dogmatism than your average hard-core religionist. And with good reason: We never delude ourselves that we act with divine guidance. Thomas needs to get on the side of the earthly “angels,” if he wants to stop faith-based terror.

Bruce S. Springsteen,