What a more wonderful world it would be if the worst threat from Muslims and Muslim clerics was that they would conduct mass Bible burnings.
Try as I might, this Southern Baptist just can’t seem to get worked up over the burning of Korans by a non-Southern Baptist in Florida even when the drive-by media continually reminds me that the burnings “provoked” retaliatory killings in Afghanistan. Still not feeling the outrage over smoking paper when General Petraeus insists that said fires “put our soldiers at risk.”
But Mike, that preacher is crazy. Fine, then lets have him examined by two psychiatrists and have him fitted for a strait-jacket, but first can we have all Muslims committed to an insane asylum that favor the killing of innocents in retaliation for the burning of their "holy" texts or the depictions of their "prophet"?
Fighting words and the imminent incitement to violence
I'm going to leave the policing of the clergy to sectarian leaders while I assist in policing the un-serious media and those who let that media determine what matters when Muslims kill innocents.
Muslims have been killing non-Koran burning Christians most of my life. My earliest memory of this trend was when Sirhan Sirhan gunned down Robert Kennedy. The media blamed an "atmosphere of hate" in the South. Never mind that RFK was gunned down in Los Angeles and that the murderer sought to eliminate a supporter of Israel.
I don't remember any Christian-sponsored Koran burnings before September 11, 2001. I did read that more Korans were burned, along with the 3000 innocents, on that day as the World Trade Center towers fell. Have you forgotten? I haven't.
It is certainly appropriate for Christians to continually explore Scripture's teachings against unnecessary provocation, but the Muslim list of grievances against Christians, Jews and the secular Left would fill scores of "Why Do They Hate Us" books. If we let them determine what we can and can't do lest they kill folks two weeks after the smoke of a Koran bonfire clears, then we might as well convert to Islam. A woman could still be put to death after converting if she "provokes" a man to rape her by allowing too much ankle to show beneath the burka, but at least the list of grievances is not as long.
The Gospel, fighting words and the First Amendment
The basic, non-Florida preacher, Christian message of Protestants, Catholics and Eastern Orthodox is that Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Light and that no man cometh to The Father, except through Christ. Not Mohammad!
Does the preaching of that Gospel provoke Islamists to kill innocents more or less than Koran burnings? Sharia law provides for the death penalty for converting to Christianity and in many Muslim countries, the same penalty applies for preaching that gospel on land that Mohammad conquered with the sword.
Does General Petraeus suggest that we limit Sunday sermons to conflated cheek-turning homilies until Afghanistan is Connecticut? The Apostle Paul said that Christ's Good News was a scandal to the world, and the reaction of Islamists and the secular Left to that gospel proves it.
I have great respect for my fellow Southern Baptist, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, but must take some exception to portions of his recent statement on the matter:
“Along with all Southern Baptists, I condemn the burning of any religious book. That is not the mark of a good neighbor, a good citizen or a civilized human being. I also condemn the riots and the killings of human beings in supposed retaliation for the burning of the Koran. This is also heinous behavior and is not in any way, shape or form justified by the burning of the Koran. In civilized society, one does not kill people for disrespecting or destroying the symbols or instruments of one’s faith.
“We will continue to condemn the burning of religious books and we will continue to condemn killing human beings in response to such despicable behavior. Both are barbaric and uncivilized, and the Muslim community can rest assured that we will continue to condemn a radical fringe that would burn Korans, and we expect them to join us in condemning their co-religionists’ killing human beings and using the burning of a Koran as the pretext for such murder.”
I appreciate that Dr. Land makes clear that there is no justification for the killing of innocents, but I think any definition of "barbaric" and "uncivilized" that includes the "burning of any religious book" renders the words meaningless.
Some have suggested that the act of burning is over-the-top, and given past obsessions with attempts to ban flag burning, recent events have made for seemingly strange bedfellows, especially in a nation whose revolution was preceded by serial Union Jack flag torchings and the burning of Tories in effigy. Our Supreme Court has recognized such burnings as protected symbolic speech.
It is true that English Common Law and recent court precedents recognize an affirmative defense to assaults and batteries up to and including homicide if one is "imminently incited" to violence through "fighting words" or conduct. But in the present case, the incendiary act took place two weeks before the murderous acts.
Weakness is the main provocation that endangers the troops
Finally, I would ask the Press that covered Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink; our Secretary of State that loudly declared while a U.S. Senator that such dissent was the "highest form of patriotism; and the non-Lieberman Democrats that produced the "Bush-lied" Era if our troops were put more at risk by a Florida preacher than by promises to pull out of Iraq if President George W. Bush was denied re-election.
Were our enemies emboldened to fight on when then Senators Obama and Clinton voted against funds for the troops?
Were the troops more endangered by burning pages in the Sunshine State or by a junior senator from New York refusing to condemn the characterization of our top military leader in Iraq as General "Betray-us"?
Did it put our troops less at risk to voluntarily burn our own Bibles in 2008 lest Afghans be offended by The Word? Why didn't that cheek-turning act buy us enough Arab or other Muslim "street cred" so that the civilized of the East could resist the irresistible impulse to kill innocents when confronted with two-week old Koran ashes?
Weakness invites aggression. Brace yourself for more as long as even our military leaders keep yelling "how high" whenever NBC or a radical Muslim says "jump". This kind of political correctness, moral equivalent "tolerance" is what led to Fort Hood.
Legal Editor - The Minority Report
Atlanta Law & Politics columnist for Examiner.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
More DeVine Gamecock rooster crowings at Modern Conservative, Hillbilly Politics, Unified Patriots, Political Daily and Conservative Outlooks. All Charlotte Observer and Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-eds archived at Townhall.com.