Unlike his predecessor who commonly identified these forms of evil as "Islamic Terror," President Obama has repeatedly and emphatically denied that Islam--as a world religion--is in any way a source of the problem.
Following his long-standing policy, President Obama has again insisted that this recent outburst of sudden violence, resulting in the brutal and violent death of a US diplomat, does not fit with the real "Religion of Peace." Islam, as his formal policy goes, is a religion of tolerance and peace. These sorts of outbursts, we are told, simply do not fit the paradigm.
One wonders how much longer the Administration expects the general public to be patient with this kind of reasoning. Let's consider this matter more deeply.
Philosopher of religion Anthony Flew (1923-2010) identified an informal fallacy that he dubbed the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. (No surprise there, Flew was British of course!) In this maneuver, a claimant denies that a universal category is ever truly broken by a given counterexample that stands against his claim. Accordingly, no exception could ever be given that denies his own general rule. Here is an example of how it works:
Smith: All Scotsmen are loyal and brave.
Jones: But McDougal over there is a Scotsman, and he was arrested by his commanding officer for running from the enemy.
Smith: Well, if that’s right, it just shows that McDougal wasn’t a TRUE Scotsman.(1)
If Smith claims that all A are B, and Jones produces a counterexample of A that is non-B, Smith simply denies that Jones' example truly represents A rather than altering his own categorical universal.
I think it is apparent how the Obama Administration has committed this logical fallacy over and over again. Each and every time that Islamic-related violence fans its deadly fires, we are told that these incidents don't represent the "true Islam." If the malefactors are ever identified as Islamic at all by Obama or his Press Secretary, we are told that they do not represent the "real version" of Islamic religion.
But given that the counterexamples seem to proliferate monthly and ubiquitously around the globe, one wonders where exactly this "religion of peace" paradigm can be found in the first place. Bin Laden (we are told) didn't represent the "real" Islam when his henchmen slammed jetliners into the World Trade Center. Nor Al Qaeda. Neither did Saddam Hussein when he released biological agents on his own people. Nor Ahmadinejad when he repeatedly threatens Israel with extinction. Nor did Al Zarqawi. Nor Hamas. Nor do the current massacres of Syrian civilians. Nor the bombers of Christian churches in Nigeria and Kenya. Nor any other Salafist jihidist groups for that matter.
Accordingly, it seems impossible for the Obama Administration to admit that Islam is, at best, a deeply flawed and tragic imposter of a "religion of peace." Any time a counterexample is given to add evidence that Islam is an intrinsically violent and dangerous religion, that counterexample is passed off as being "No True Muslim."
Perhaps it is time that we recognize the religion of Islam for what it is.
Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida. Follow on Twitter @matt_everhard.