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‘In foreign policy, the myth of religious violence serves to cast nonsecular social orders, especially Muslim societies, in the role of villain. They have not yet learned to remove the dangerous influence of religion from political life. Their violence is therefore irrational and fanatical. Our violence, being secular, is rational, peace making, and sometimes regrettably necessary to contain their violence. We find ourselves obliged to bomb them into liberal democracy.’ p.4

‘The logic is impeccable: if we are dealing with inherently violent and irrational social orders, there is not much hope of reasoning with them. We must be prepared to use military force. The hope is that, through both gentle and forceful means, we may spread the blessings of liberal social order to the Islamic world. Thus is the myth of religious violence used to justify violence. A strong contrast is drawn between religious and secular violence. Violence that is labeled religious is always peculiarly virulent and reprehensible. But violence that is labeled secular hardly counts as violence at all, since it is inherently peace making. Secular violence is often necessary and sometimes praiseworthy, especially when it is used to quell the inherent violence of religion.’ p. 13

The Myth of Religious Violence, William Cavanaugh, 2009.