One of my hobbies is collecting what I call strange convergences, unexpected overlaps between seemingly antithetical political philosophies.
For example, when it comes to gender identity and the proper role of women, Christian conservatives arguably have more in common with the Muslims they so distrust than they do with feminists and secular liberals. That's not to say that they endorse honor killings, forced marriages, full-body veils or criminal sanctions for homosexuality. But there are undeniable points of connection. (Recently, Robert George, a prominent Catholic intellectual, teamed up with a Muslim thinker, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, in an appeal to hotels not to provide access to pornographic TV.)
Likewise, American conservatives complain about "Islamofascism" as manifested, for instance, by death threats against cartoonists who depict the prophet Muhammad. But would they be as sanguine about uninhibited free speech if it was Jesus or the Virgin Mary being lampooned? Recall Rudy Giuliani’s attack on the Brooklyn Museum for exhibiting a Madonna fashioned in part from elephant dung?
The latest strange convergence involves Pussy Riot, the feminist punk band that performed a "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral in which they beseeched Mary to "banish [Russian President Vladimir] Putin." One might think that conservatives in this country would join the U.S. State Department in denouncing the two-year prison sentences imposed on three Pussy Riot members. Not necessarily.