Iran: The Anti-Beard Revolution
As a follow-up to my posts here and here, take a look at the continuing Nicholas Kristoff series on Iran. His newest article,"Overdosing on Islam" is a worthwhile read. Kristoff tells us how the younger generation is disgusted with the reign of mullahs. As one young man puts it:"America is only Baby Satan. We have Big Satan right here at home."
The youth have even revolted against beards in a way that is reminiscent of the generation of Peter the Great (who, in his quest to Westernize Russia, actually imposed taxes and license fees on the unshaven in his war on orthodox religion). Well, at least this generation's fight is against any government intrusions of this sort.
There's a useful lesson here for George Bush's America as well as for the ayatollahs' Iran: when a religion is imposed on people, when a government tries too ostentatiously to put itself"under God," the effect is often not to prop up religious faith but to undermine it. Nothing is more lethal to religious faith than having self-righteous, intolerant politicians (who wince at nose studs) drag God into politics.
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