Christianists and Islamists

A reader writes:

"Remember the ridiculousness after John Lennon mentioned how The Beatles were a bit more popular than Jesus Christ? They held vinyl bonfires, burned Beatle memorabilia, and generally acted the way religious idiots do when 'offended'."

The fundamental issue is, of course, the compatibility of religion with liberalism. This is a profound one, and liberalism (I mean it in the classical sense) has succeeded, in large part, in taming religious conviction in the West, in privatizing it sufficiently, for democratic pluralism to work. What unreconstructed Islam represents - in its interpenetration with the West - is a delayed response of fundamentalist faith to liberal democracy. True fundamentalism is incompatible with liberal democracy. And that's why, although at the moment the Christianists are nowhere near as intolerant or as violent as the Islamists, we have to be vigilant at home as well. I will simply note a recent comment by a fundamentalist about the casting of a gay actor in a Christian movie:

"[I]t would probably be an overreaction to firebomb these men's houses. But what they have done is no mistake. It is a calculated strategy."

Note one word: "probably". That's the difference between the Islamist and the Christianist.