Silence For You – Tolerance For Me

Pastors Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp are loathsome individuals to be sure.  It’s one thing to hold a belief, to claim faith and ardently follow your heart and spirit through the religion you choose.  But to purposely insult, demean and antagonize another set of beliefs is simply horrible.

Further, it’s inconsistent with the message of most mainline religions.  As a Christian I practice patience, tolerance and love of my neighbors.  Even my enemies.  As such, even if, and I certainly don’t hold this belief, but even if those of another religion were my “enemy” I find consistency in the Lords commandment to “love thy enemy”.

To burn the most Holy Book of Islam is an insult that goes too far.

With that said, I am finding the inconsistency in response appalling.

In Christianity, there is no more Holy an individual that the Christ Jesus.  An artist, with Federal money no less, crafted a “piece of artwork” that involved a bust of Christ submerged in urine.  This gentle example of tolerance was “Ooo’ed and Awe’ed” by the artistic Left as artistic freedom.

Christian churches are desecrated, burned and vandalized all the time.  There is nary a peep from the outraged “tolerant majority” regarding the gentle needs of the religious Christians suffering at the hands of the unclean.

Further, you don’t see Christian’s reacting like this:

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Violent protests over the burning of a Koran in Florida flared for a second straight day, with young men rampaging through the streets of this southern capital, flying Taliban flags and wielding sticks.

Nine people were killed and 81 injured in the disturbances, all from bullet wounds, said Abdul Qayoum Pakhla, head of the provincial health department. One of the dead was a police officer. Kandahar has long been the heartland of the Taliban insurgency but has been relatively quiet in recent months since a surge of additional American troops arrived here.

The protests here came a day after a mob overran the headquarters of the United Nations in Mazar-i-Sharif, killing 12 people, 7 of them international staff members. The mob gathered after three mullahs at Friday Prayer urged action in response to the Koran burning by a pastor, Terry Jones, in Florida on March 20.

You simply don’t see organized Christianity reacting to insults and attacks in a manner that reflects the MOST intolerance you can demonstrate.  If the idea that the burning of the Koran is showing disrespect and needs to be addressed, certainly the murder and torture of innocent people is an even MORE egregious act of intolerance?

Which brings me back to the Mosque in North Carolina that wants religious leaders in the region to join him in protest over the burning of the Koran.

SMITHFIELD — A mosque leader wants other religious leaders to join him in opposing Florida pastors who burned the Islamic holy book last month.

Ali said Christians and Jews should be offended by Jones’ act too. The Quran encompasses the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible as well as the teachings of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. Muslims also believe in earlier prophets, from Adam to Abraham to Jesus. All appear in the Quran.

“In so many places, the word of Jesus Christ in there – how can you burn this book?” Ali said. “That’s not freedom of speech; that’s blasphemy and burning.”

If religious leaders don’t speak out against Jones and Sapp, Ali worries that others might follow their lead and burn the Quran. “Jones and Sapp must be excommunicated from the Christian faith and condemned by the churches all over the world,” Ali said.

As I mentioned above, he’s right; those Pastors are horrible examples of Christian love.  But before I would expect to see him adamant in his protesting of that burning, I would expect him to call for restraint, compassion and tolerance from his own people; his own faithful.  A call for further understand, further education and inter-faith fellowship would be more appropriate.

But I don’t see that.  I don’t see him or any other massive movement for that matter, to condemn the Islamic attacks in nations such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and others throughout the region.  I would be more understanding and supportive of the good doctor’s position if he and other Muslim leaders had shown an equal reaction to the insults and intolerance showed other religions in the name of his.

15 responses to “Silence For You – Tolerance For Me

  1. The problem is politics mixes with religion. In Afghanistan you have pre-modern cultural relations, much like Christianity was back when they burned witches. If you go back far enough, when the Christians took Jerusalem in the crusades they said “convert or die;” when the Muslims took it back, they did not seek revenge for the massacres. So depending on the politics and the culture of the time, religion is used/expressed differently. Muslims in America tend to be modernized like Christians, which is why most Muslims have a very tolerant and open form of the faith here.

    I think the key is that European and American Muslims can play a positive role in convincing Arabs, as well as those outside the Arab world in Iran and Afghanistan that the West and modernity isn’t just about sex, drugs, hedonism and materialist excess. We are painted (thanks in part to Hollywood) as a soulless, Godless people, greedy, corrupting governments there out of our lust for oil, wanting to corrupt their youth and destroy their values. In that light, fear mongers use Islam as a way to create hatred. The extremists are on the wrong side of history, but I think we need a little patience and perspective — we’ve modernized, they haven’t. Their culture is starting a very difficult journey; we can’t expect them to be where we are now. Muslims here (and in Europe) are our natural allies to helping change that region of the world. And, given the horrors that the West went through when we modernized (Communism, the holocaust, world wars, etc.), we have to hope their journey isn’t quite so tumultuous!

    • Muslims in America tend to be modernized like Christians, which is why most Muslims have a very tolerant and open form of the faith here.

      I can agree with that. However, I would like the American Muslims to be on the forefront of condemning the violent Islamic actions in the world just as quickly as they are to demand condemnation of the Christian actions. And remember, Islamic reaction often involves the taking of lives, murder, torture and other illegal acts. In the case of the Florida preachers, while despicable, they are absolutely legal. Burning a book is protected speech.

      The larger point is that while intolerance is heaped on the feet of Christians, the whole of society feels we should be understanding of the Muslim.

  2. “I would expect him to call for restraint, compassion and tolerance from his own people”
    Of those three traits, I think “restraint” is sadly the hardest one to ask for in this country.

  3. Scott Erb ,

    Ancient history is not relevant . Can modern Christians be held responsible for the middle ages ? How about Muslims be held responsible for how they took the Middle East from the remnants of the Roman Empire . Pre Islam , Jews , Christians and others held sway in the Holy lands . When the Muslim wave swept out of it’s birth place it was pretty violent . Those people in the Middle East and into Spain were not peacefully converted to Islam .

  4. Alan, individuals are responsible for their actions. However, the reality is that Islam is only starting the process of modernization which the West has already completed. Since Islam is not going away, and clearly the West is not going somehow defeat them in war, then the best interest of the West is to do what is best to try to support modernization of the Mideast. The good news is that extremists are not winning the hearts and minds of the youth (and half the population from Afghanistan to Morocco are under 24) and extremists are on the wrong side of history.

  5. Pino, I think the reason people say we should be understanding is because of both our power and self-interest. I know of few people more critical of Islamic extremists than Muslims I know in the US. One can oppose the extremists clearly and decisively while at the same time respecting Islam.

    • Pino, I think the reason people say we should be understanding is because of both our power and self-interest.

      I know why we should be understanding. That’s not my point. My point is that I have very little patience for Muslim Holy men demanding that I be understanding.

      I know of few people more critical of Islamic extremists than Muslims I know in the US.

      I would like to see their critque.

      One can oppose the extremists clearly and decisively while at the same time respecting Islam.

      To very sure; I agree with you.

  6. Scott Erb,

    ” The good news is that extremists are not winning the hearts and minds of the youth (and half the population from Afghanistan to Morocco are under 24) and extremists are on the wrong side of history. ”

    I disagree . The most dangerous group is always unemployed youth . They are the most easily swayed by revolutionaries . They are the Islamic world .

  7. pino ,

    We all wondered at the calmness of the Japanese during the aftermath of the earthquake and Tsunami . No rioting like in New Orleans after the Hurricane . And the Japanese are to be praised , but I remember reading an article that cited Japan has the oldest population . Old people do not tend to smash and grab from abandoned stores .

  8. Japan’s youth (or population in general) also doesn’t suffer from major narcissism and entitlement issues like most in the Western world do.

  9. One thing to keep in mind: Japan’s debt to GDP ratio is 200%. Ours is about 75%. Their government debt is far, far worse than ours. So yes, praise Japanese culture, but they’ve obviously got problems too!

  10. Scott Erb ,

    I merely used Japan to illustrate the problem in the Muslim world . If you look back to a time when Japan was causing trouble you can go back to the period between the World Wars . They had a rapidly growing population, that they had trouble feeding and giving opportunity to . In other words a large youth population .

    This was also the time when they totally disrespected anyone who was not them . They mistreated and murdered Chinese civilians, American POWs . That famous Japanese culture was not evident .

    In large parts of the Muslim world you have parallels to the Japan of that era . Including suicide attacks on their enemies . In it’s results radical Islam is close to Japanese militarism . The underlying forces are also almost the same . Including an envy and loathing for Western culture and military power .

    The differences are that Japan was one country . The Muslim world is fractured . As long as you have poverty combined with high birth rates , the extremists will win the hearts and minds of the Muslim youth .

  11. Alan, I really think the Muslim world is rejecting the extremists and especially the youth has a good chance to embrace modernism. The extremists want a puritanical life style that most young people reject. In any event, I assume we can agree that it’s in our interests to do what we can to help the modernizers and resist the extremists. Islam isn’t going away, after all. What are our options?

  12. Scott ,

    I don’t think you can possibly make a statement that Muslim youth is rejecting or accepting anything . It depends . It depends on each country . In Egypt I believe the youth will embrace radicalism . In Iran the youth are rejecting the Islamic Puritan straitjacket the Mullahs have had the country in for 3 decades . The same in Syria , where the Assad dynasty is stepping up murder to cling to power .

    Options are to project strength . Be decisive . Libya, you are in for a dime, in for a dollar . You can’t split the difference . Either flatten the place or leave . The only reason Qaddafi behaved and gave up his WMDs was his fear of G. W. Bush after he saw Saddam go down . Obama has to screw somebody besides Republicans to make middle eastern tyrants afraid of him . Talking them to death ain’t working .

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