Politics is dominated by pious, politic lies and half-truths. Every nation has them, and Turkey’s are most impressive.
Turkey has been a vanguard, in the Muslim world, of “Westernizing” and “modernizing” tendencies. But it still has one foot in the deep past. One of its great pious half-truths is that Turkey is “99 percent Muslim” yet possesses a “secular state” where “all religions are equal.”
With some religions more equal than others.
An Alevi spokesman, Izzettin Dogan, charges that the country “is actually a Sunni Islamic state.” There are 30 million Alevis in Turkey, according to the New York Times, and they are not alone in getting the short end of the stick in “secular Turkey”:
“The state collects taxes from all of us and spends billions on Sunni Islam alone, while millions of Alevis as well as Christians, Jews and other faiths don’t receive a penny,” Mr. Dogan said, referring to the $1.5 billion budget of the Religious Affairs Department. “What kind of secularism is that?”
And it gets to the heart of one of the reasons I’m so happy to live in America. Our government may be a mess, but we still have some basic freedoms. We’ve long gotten over the ancient fixation on the union of religion and state.
In ancient empires, kings styled themselves as gods.
We know better.
And we know better than to subsidize religion — or use it as a branch of the government.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.