Marotta's reply to Luke shows a stunning failure of logic. Speaking to Luke he says:
Everything you say about Islam applies to Christianity.
After which Marotta says that Christianity has its own Sharia! How can someone be so blind to reality as to not see the difference between how Nuns dress, on one hand, and cutting off the heads of non-believers, on the other hand? How can someone call himself an Objectivist and not see the difference between the brutal, purposeful initiation of lethal physical force on a massive scale - here and now in this century - and the complete freedom to choose whether or not to accept this or that tenent of this or that religion? I've said it before, Marotta's thinking is frequently muddled.
The current conflicts with the Arab-Islamic cultures (plural), which derive ultimately from U.S. meddling in the wars of other nations, allow many on the secular right to ignore the threat to modernity presented by our Christian fundamentalist neighbors.
There have been Arab-Islamic conflicts with each other, with Jews, with Christians... with anyone within sword's reach... since the 7th century. Saying that it suddenly arose from "U. S. meddling in the wars of other nations" is a bit blind to reality.
But that whole 'meddling' thing is just a phrase modifying the sentence's subject: "conflicts with the Arab-Islamic cultures." What does he say these conflicts do? They cause the 'secular right' to ignore 'the threat to modernity presented by our Christian fundamentalist neighbors.'
Marotta, presumably speaking from the 'secular left', is trying to be helpful and point out that if the secular right weren't being distracted by these Islamists, who are beheading people, killing people of all faiths in the hundreds of thousands, who are attempting to gain nuclear weapons, and who call for our death... well, if they weren't so distracted by that (which, he says, was caused by meddling) that they'd see that the real threat is from Christian fundamentalism. A threat to modernity, he say.
Here is how I see it. Religious faith in place of reason is an epistemological abomination whether it is from Islam or Christianity. But fundamental Christianity is not attempting to force all of the rest of the world to accept a set of barberous, 7th century laws or be killed - they haven't formed into a theocratic nation seeking nuclear weapons - they aren't flying airplanes into our buildings or setting people on fire. They attempt to PERSUADE people to accept their beliefs. Persuasion is different from killing and isn't it strange that this has to be pointed out? My sense is that Marotta can NOT escape those progressive talking point he accepted somewhere along the line - that explains, to a degree, why he overstates the dangers of fundamentalist Christianity and understates the physical dangers being brought to us by Islamic fundamentalism.