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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Koran Burning and Rage

Am I just a knuckle head or is there a double standard here?

An artist smeared feces on an image of Jesus. Another time a crucifix was placed in a glass container of urine. A movie came out portraying Jesus as a homosexual. Another came out claiming Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene; accusing the Catholic Church of a "cover up" (Rome's marketing department created the mythic Jesus for male dominance).
Christmas and Easter signal the popular media that it is time to produce materials which produce doubts about the identity of Jesus. A negative spin or scandal is always prefered.
In some places biblical verses are called "hate speech" because they are offensive to certain communities. Any number of times popular writers and speakers are heard ridiculing the Sacred Scriptures and those who believe in them.
The popular media generally portrays ministers as dishonest shams, crazed extremists, ridiculous simpletons, and, of course, child molesters and predators.
The typical Christian response is to ignore these 'assaults' on our Lord and on our faith. We continue to pray, to build communities, and try to live right and help others. We do not trash the local bookstore which has a table piled high with every author critical of the faith or of Jesus. We do not burn down museums and movie theatres which promote blasphemy. We do not kill or maim those who mock us and insult us.

So, how is it that when someone who 'does not matter' burns a Koran in the US that is justification for riots half way across the world? How is it that someone who converts to Christianity in their country can be killed, and that is not offensive? How is it that young women who share the story of Jesus can be imprisoned for months and some American columnists argue that the women were at fault for failing to be respectful? How is it that the same writers berate an American for showing disrespect to the Koran? Why is an American who burns Korans responsible for the murders, violence and destruction done by those who are angered at his acts?

There is a bizarre belief system in place in our country right now and it is deeply troubling. I am not going to demonize Islam and I am not attacking Muslims. I am saying that people who riot and kill because they are offended by an offensive act are looking for an excuse to riot and kill. I am also saying that the response to their actions should not be to justify or excuse them. Koran burners may be idiots, but they cannot be held responsible for the outrageous behaviors of others. [news flash, do we blame teams that win championships because fans riot?]

I am not advocating burning Korans. But I think that it is outrageous that people who execute a convert to Christianity would complain about respect. I think it is ridiculous for people who outlaw talking about the Christian faith to whine about the responsibilities of other people in foreign countries to respect the book they think is holy. I think it is hypocritical for Americans of a certain political persuasion to advocate tolerance and respect for Islam while advocating Christians constatnly endure any number of offenses to their beliefs.

There is another issue. Is the Koran from God? Why would any Muslim think a Christian would view the Koran as revealed truth? Do they reverance our Bible as holy scripture? Do they allow Christians to build houses of worship in those lands which were the birthplace of our faith? Do they tolerate and respect the Jews and the Jewish faith? Do they respect Jewish claims to the land? or Christian holy places?
I wonder what St. Paul would do if handed a Koran. Would he burn it? Maybe not, but I think his response to it would be offensive. The ancient prophets of Israel are certainly on record as to their beliefs about other religious traditions, the most popular images are "adultery" and "fornication." Jesus certainly is not on record making any statements in support of other religions. Once again, I think burning a Koran is disrespectful to the beliefs of others and it should not be done. It serves no helpful purpose. I do not burn or otherwise disrespect Korans, but it is because I choose not to, not because I am compelled by faith not to. I think it contains much that is not true. I think it is not from God. If I believed otherwise I would no longer be a Christian.

I prefer for us all to get along. I prefer respect, kindness and peace. I also know that there are some beliefs which do not allow for a middle ground. I believe in the Trinity. Muslims call me a polytheist. That is the starting place. I do not expect them to think otherwise, nor do I expect them to. I do expect them to allow me to believe what I believe where ever I am. I also expect them to allow me the freedom to share my faith with others. Until they do, I do not want to hear about how the disrespect of some small man over here called deaths and riots over there.


  1. Very well said, Jeff. Thank you for speaking out on this issue.


  2. Notice the people making the most noise about no-name pastor being disrespectful are the same people who defended the crucifix in urine as art? I can't even get angry at these people; my daddy always told me not to argue with stupidity.

  3. thanks Jen!
    Just Me, gotta say you are better than I am, I get mad!

  4. I was just thinking how your previous post title, Patience in a Strange World, is what is called for by this post.

  5. Patience is necessary but we must be strong defenders of our faith. Recently engaged to handle a legal tranaction for muslim clients who insisted that the docs be Sharia compliant.This was not covered on the TN bar exam so I withdrew. I did bother me a bit I'll admit.