Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised "for the good of its victims" may be the most oppressive. CS Lewis
In today’s News and Observer, Raleigh, NC there was an astute letter to the editor.
“Maybe the so-called pastor, Terry Jones of Gainesville Fla., with his 50 member church can merge with the so-called pastor Fred Phelps’ 50 member church in Topeka to for a “mega” 100 member church of hate.
As a review, Jones wants to burn the Quran tomorrow to “commemorate” 9/11. Phelps is the despicable leader of the loathsome Westboro Baptist Church, which protests at the funerals of American soldiers. Read more about this at Wikipedia.
Yesterday, Jones announced that he would not burn the Quran because Imam Rauf, of the NYC Islamic center mess, had agreed to move the center. Later in the day, Rauf denied such a deal. As of about 2 PM today, Jones said that he was tricked into stopping the burning and is considering going ahead with the act unless God “stays his hand.” There is an interesting sidebar to this statement. Apparently Jones’ associate pastor (This just goes to prove that any size Baptist church must have more than one pastor or it isn’t a real church) spoke of God staying the hand of Abraham, as he was about to sacrifice his son. Did you know that Muslims change that story to say that Abraham was going to sacrifice Ishmael?
I want to state categorically that Jones and Phelps are sorry examples of Christianity and I wish both of them would disappear from the scene, immediately. Perhaps they could investigate sightings of Nephilim in Arkansas. But, they both appear to be seeking their time in the limelight and will likely continue their reprehensible behavior.
Wade Burleson, who is now back in the saddle (welcome back!) at his blog Grace and Truth to You wrote a thought provoking article on an incident of Bible burning by the US military in Afghanistan. I promise that this will all tie together.
“The U.S. military has confirmed that Bibles of United States soldiers serving in Afghanistan were confiscated and destroyed by order of the U.S. State Department because Muslims were offended that the soldiers were filmed reading the Bibles on Arabic Al Jazeera television.”
“ Military personnel threw away, and ultimately burned, confiscated Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages (Pashto and Dari) amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.”
“The decision was made that it was a 'force protection' measure to throw them away, because, if they did get out, it could be perceived by Afghans that the U.S. government or the U.S. military was trying to convert Muslims," Wright told CNN on Tuesday.”“Troops at posts in war zones are required to burn their trash, Wright said.”
“This decision came to light recently, after the Al Jazeera English network aired video of a group prayer service and chapel sermon that a reporter said suggested U.S. troops were being encouraged to spread Christianity.”
“The military says a soldier at Bagram received the Bibles and didn't realize he wasn't allowed to hand them out. In the Al Jazeera video, which shows the Bibles at the prayer service, an unnamed soldier says members of his church raised money for them. The chaplain later corrected the soldier and confiscated the Bibles, Wright said.”
“Military officers considered sending the Bibles back to the church, he said, but they worried the church would turn around and send them to another organization in Afghanistan — giving the impression that they had been distributed by the U.S. government. That could lead to violence against troops or U.S. civilians, Wright said.”
Before I pontificate on this subject, I want to mention that Imam Rauf made some statements that were shown on the O’Reilly Factor last evening. I do not want to misrepresent anything that the Imam said but one thing stood out in his remarks. He was concerned about potential violence in the Middle East if the yahoo (my words) pastor goes ahead in his Quran burning.
I fear a much bigger problem is developing with no easy resolution. Every group, no matter how altruistic and/or Christian, has nut jobs. Let’s name him Bubba. You know they guy I am talking about. He’s the guy who shows up to a peaceful protest against proposed healthcare legislation with a poster of Obama dressed as Hitler. He’s the guy who appears at a prayer vigil at an abortion center covered in blood, carrying dolls covered in blood. Bubba usually carries a megaphone and sings stupid songs at ear piercing levels. Bubba supports your cause but you really don’t want Bubba to show up, ever. Yet, he always does and no one seems to know how to handle him because he has a right to protest as well.
It bothers me that one nut job from a small church in Florida could cause threats of violence by Muslims around the world. It concerns me that Imam Rauf should speak in a matter of fact manner about such violence and unrest in the Islamic world. He seems to think this is a normal response. Well, if Bubba can cause such unrest then we might as well give up the ghost now. Because no matter how hard we try, there will always be fruitcakes making exceedingly poor decisions. How can one stupid person cause an entire region of the world to go nuts?
A couple of examples show us that radical Islam does not subscribe to "Sticks and stones may break my bones; but words will never hurt me."
Theo Van Gogh , a provocative, over the top writer, who criticized Islam in disgusting fashion (along with every other religion in the world), was reviled by Muslims and was eventually killed by a Muslim.
Salman Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses which was perceived by Muslims to treat Muhammad in an irreverent fashion. A religious fatwa was issued on Radio Tehran by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In other words, assassinate the man. He was forced into hiding for years.
Which brings me to the Bible burning issue in Afghanistan. Why in the world didn’t anybody raise a fuss about this? There seems to be a fundamental lack of mutual respect on the issue of religious freedom. We rightly condemn the burning of the Qurans. But where is the outrage of Bibles being burned on the military base?
I expect that some will say that the Bibles were in a local language and that means that they would be distributed off base which would offend the Afghanis. However, the Bibles could have stayed on base and be freely distributed to those on the base who wanted such an item. My guess is that there are curious locals who might like to take a look at this forbidden book. In fact, the military could have had books available from many faith groups on the base to show the Afghanis our commitment to freedom of religion.
Can these extremists ever be appeased? Must the world walk around on proverbial eggshells waiting for the next yahoo to insult Islam? I must question the sensitivities of this faith group. Its proponents have successfully put the world on edge. And, to this blogger, it seems that violence and strife will only continue to increase. May God help us.