Belmont Club

Dark Sacrament

The Arab spring in Egypt has provided a glimpse into the workings of an Islamist mind. “Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives – for up to six hours after their death.” No gender discrimination is involved, however, since women will also be allowed to have sex with their dead husbands.

The controversial new law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament. It will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 and the ridding of women’s rights of getting education and employment. …

Egyptian journalist Amro Abdul Samea reported in the al-Ahram newspaper that Talawi complained about the legislations which are being introduced under ‘alleged religious interpretations’. The subject of a husband having sex with his dead wife arose in May 2011 when Moroccan cleric Zamzami Abdul Bari said marriage remains valid even after death. He also said that women have the right to have sex with her dead husband.

The romance of the dead — even the undead — has experienced a similar vogue in Western popular culture. The Twilight novels, for example, have taken the teenage world by storm. “Twilight is a series of four vampire-themed fantasy romance novels by American author Stephenie Meyer. It charts a period in the life of Isabella ‘Bella’ Swan, a teenage girl who moves to Forks, Washington, and falls in love with a 104-year-old vampire named Edward Cullen.”

But even though some people think it is cool to have an undead boyfriend, most people still understand that Twilight is just fiction. Discrimination against the dead — mortism — has not yet attained the earnest status of ageism or racism. There have been no serious proposals — so far — to extend equal rights protection to deceased Americans beyond those they already enjoy at the ballot box.

That does not mean that the War Against the Dead will forever be ignored. For modern Western Culture is beset by dozens of “isms” and”wars.” Here is a just a partial glossary.

  • Anti-Mormonism. Discriminating against Mormons.
  • Tobaccoism. The right to discriminate against smokers, as described by the New York Times.
  • Able bodism. Discriminating against the disabled because of their disability, as described by the British government.
  • Employism. Discriminating against the unemployed because of their previous inability to hold a job, as described by the New York Times.
  • Size Acceptance. A movement devoted to fighting bigotry against fat, obese, and overweight individuals.
  • Mentalism. Discrimination against crazy people as described by the Guardian.
  • Languagism. Discrimination against languages that people do not understand, as explained by Miami University.

This is merely a partial list. There are many, many more Wars, proto-Wars, and incipient Wars. The catalog will continue to grow, both in Islamic and politically correct societies, simply because societies falling under the domination of a single ideology have the tendency to regulate personal behavior ever more minutely.

One of the key moments in the march toward regulating every action occurred in 1969, when radical feminist Carol Hanisch coined the phrase “the personal is political.”  All of a sudden activists understood that nothing anyone did stood outside the purview of public policy or political debate.

What you ate, thought, wore, listened to, said, viewed, did — or did not do — was political and hence the fair object of regulation.

Consider that the word “niggardly” has an entire Wikipedia entry devoted to its appropriate use. Once a simple word which meant stinginess, its true sinister nature was revealed when David Howard, a white aide to Anthony A. Williams, the black mayor of Washington, D.C., used it in reference to a budget. Then all hell broke loose.  Soon there were calls for a “national debate” on the subject of whether the word niggardly could be licitly spoken at all. Words — especially words — are dangerous.

Shortly after the Washington incident, another controversy erupted over the use of the word at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. At a February 1999 meeting of the Faculty Senate, a junior English major and vice chairwoman of the Black Student Union told the group how a professor teaching Chaucer had used the word niggardly. She later said she was unaware of the related Washington, D.C. controversy that came to light just the week before. She said the professor continued to use the word even after she told him that she was offended. “I was in tears, shaking,” she told the faculty. “It’s not up to the rest of the class to decide whether my feelings are valid.”

The personal is political. In strict Islamic societies the personal is religious. There is a code to govern every situation.  There is a sunnah which governs the pious use of the toilet.  In ideologically dominated societies, the use of words — or the commode — becomes the subject of authoritative pronouncement.

“I don’t give a s**t” is a fundamentally lawless attitude.

Thus, people who live in societies governed by religious or political correctness soon require an “Ask the Imam” service. They need to know, as a practical matter, how to behave in every situation. When is a person considered Hispanic? A White Hispanic? An Afro-White Hispanic? Otherwise they will make a mistake, a condition known as “insensitivity.”

These perplexities have created a demand for race experts or political correctness experts of all kinds, whose sole function is to determine whether a word, action, or gesture is ceremonially correct. Sensitivity training is nothing more than an “Ask the Imam” service for secular, modern, leftist Westerners, and it is a huge market. Denny’s, after paying out $5.4 million in a British discrimination suit, quickly retained prominent ethnic spokesmen to do their commercials and is now Fortune magazine’s “Best Company for Minorities.”

So from one point of view, the Islamic specification on whether and for how long you can have sex with the deceased is simply another “Ask the Imam”  question. What is interesting about this case though is that it places one totalitarian tendency — radical Islamism — on a collision course with another totalitarian tendency, Western political correctness. You have the irresistible force, Leftism, against the immovable object, Islam.

Why should they care when the dead may not? Because Western feminism, though entirely indifferent to abortion or the sacredness of the dead in other contexts, is like every ideology sensitive to direct challenge. Since the Egyptian ruling has the appearance of subordinating a woman to a man — even though  one party is already a corpse who might not give a hoot — it is sacrilege to the feminist canon. For nothing is more jealous of its sacraments than institutions which profess not to believe in any. But for feminism and Islamism, the contest was never about women or Allah. It will always be about power. That, they can both believe in.

Yet it is perhaps permissible, even hallowed, to express a love for the dead, though rarely in physical ways. A flower by the tomb, a burned out candle, a memory at close of day is a sign not only of what remains, but what endures. Yet love needs no imam or PC experts to guide it. Just the sounding sea and a single voice speaking out as if no word were ever unheard.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love –
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me –
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud one night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we –
Of many far wiser than we –
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling -my darling -my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea –
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


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