I illustrate with a quotation from the atheist philosopher Richard Rorty, who died recently and is, I suspect, now having a lengthy conversation with his maker. Rorty argued that secular professors ought “to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.
Here is what Muslims and Muslim organizations are expected to say: "As a Muslim, I condemn this attack and terrorism in any form." This expectation we place on Muslims, to be absolutely clear, is Islamophobic and bigoted.
It liberates the vandal to travel-you never saw a bigoted, opinionated, stubborn, narrow-minded, self-conceited, almighty mean man in your life but he had stuck in one place since he was born and thought God made the world and dyspepsia and bile for his especial comfort and satisfaction.
I'm a Christian first, and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second, and don't you ever forget it. You know who else was kind of "divisive" in terms of challenging the status quo and the powers-that-be of his day? Jesus Christ.
What we need to do is to have a sensible approach to immigration. It needs to be open. It needs to be non-dogmatic and non-bigoted. We need to be firm but reasonable in the way we deal with the problem of illegal immigration. And we need to try to get as many of our immigrants who want to do so to become citizens as quickly as possible so that the American people will all see that this is a part of the process of American history, which is a good one for our country.
What other developed democracy has such a ridiculous and squalid history of intolerance? From the imprisonment and roasting of heretics, witches and poachers, to the censorship of literature, art and television: from St Alban through Wilde, Joyce and Lawrence I think we can point with pride to as grim a catalogue of intemperate, bigoted repression as any nation on earth...
Antisemitism is unique among religious hatreds. It is a racist conspiracy theory fashioned for the needs of messianic and brutal rulers, as dictators from the Tsars to the Islamists via the Nazis have shown. Many other alleged religious 'hatreds' are not hatreds in the true sense. If I criticise Islamic, Orthodox Jewish or Catholic attitudes towards women, for instance, and I'm accused of being a bigot, I shrug and say it is not bigoted to oppose bigotry.
What but education has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbors? And what chains them to their present state of barbarism and wretchedness but a bigoted veneration for the supposed superlative wisdom of their fathers and the preposterous idea that they are to look backward for better things and not forward, longing, as it should seem, to return to the days of eating acorns and roots rather than indulge in the degeneracies of civilization?
London is one of the world's centres of Arab journalism and political activism. The failure of left and right, the establishment and its opposition, to mount principled arguments against clerical reaction has had global ramifications. Ideas minted in Britain – the notion that it is bigoted to oppose bigotry; 'Islamophobic' to oppose clerics whose first desire is to oppress Muslims – swirl out through the press and the net to lands where they can do real harm.
Show me two villages, one embowered in trees and blazing with all the glories of October, the other a merely trivial and treelesswaste, or with only a single tree or two for suicides, and I shall be sure that in the latter will be found the most starved and bigoted religionists and the most desperate drinkers.