The Tyranny of the Majority
Today, the First Amendment says Moslems have the right to build a mosque on their own private property in New York City two blocks from the site of "Ground Zero" (which means something rather more trenchant in Hiroshima) precisely because 30% of 21st Centurion Americans are pig ignorant Republicans who have had visions of a 900-foot tall Jesus who says they can't.
The imams have no voice and no special standing in the indictments to come — Allah knows what is in the Quran — so they would do well to sit down and shut up and listen to their mothers, wives, daughters and sisters, who know more than they do. Or was Allah never concerned with the human condition? Was Mary not worth ten times the entire Caliphate?
When I read the Quran, I'm baffled by a relentless, sometimes unpleasant, torrent of historical and cultural references. The text itself seems disconnected and does not tell a coherent tale or make a clear argument. And, of course, the classical Arabic is a complete mystery to me. The beauty of the Quran as recited is the principle argument for its unearthly source, but no English translation conveys that sense.
†I'm not really a Dharma Bum, although I have leanings. I met Gary Snyder, once. He doesn't remember ;-)
‡I had to bail after six and a half days. I'll keep an open mind, but without some help in interpretation (history, context, etc.), this won't end well.