To the editor:
My letter attacking Cal Thomas' fanatical bias against Muslims stirred up considerable right-wing annoyance. Unlike his Internet counterparts, Stu Nowlin (Public Forum, Jan. 18) uses relatively temperate language, tries to address what I actually said and has the courage to sign his name. However his arguments don't persuade.
¢ He asks whether "Pope Benedict XVI's claim that jihad is the essence of Islam make[s] him a bigot?" I can't judge Benedict's inner character, but many Western commentators said Benedict's statement, in context, was bigoted on its face. For example, Benedict equated "jihad" (literally, "struggle") with "violence," which many Muslims deny.
¢ Nowlin gives a potted history of Muslim violence as evidence of - of what? Christianity has a comparably violent history and founding text, but Nowlin apparently believes Islam is violent in essence. That's bigoted on its face; there are many perfectly peaceable Muslims living in Lawrence.
¢ He accuses me of intolerance and "prohibitions on a free press" because I dared criticize the Journal-World's editorial judgment. He should get a grip.
¢ He argues there are no moderate Muslims with power to make peace with Israel. That's a tricky piece of propaganda, since any group making war automatically appears immoderate. Yet warlike Egypt made lasting peace with Israel.
¢ Nowlin thinks it's name-calling to call Thomas a propagandist. That hinges on whether you view "propagandist" as an empty slur or an empirical category of performance.