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Archive for September, 2010

Religious Fanaticism

Okay, so here we go yet again. Some bible-thumping, religious moron who is seeking his own fifteen minutes of fame has somehow managed to ratchet up the threat of terrorist attacks against both America and American citizens abroad. Let’s talk about this idiot.

First, though, let’s get just a little bit of perspective here. In the Muslim world, the burning of the Qur’an is not always a bad thing; in fact, it considered to be a gesture of utmost respect. Whenever a copy of the book is discovered to have a misprint, or becomes too old and worn to read, it is burned. Furthermore, in the Islamic scholarly tradition, burning a holy book is a show of respect, and symbolically, has an opposite connotation than burning a holy book in the West.

Hey, Pastor Jones. Did you do any research before you set out on this?

The thing is, though, Jones is not a Muslim. He’s not doing this as a gesture of respect. He’s doing this for two reasons. To put himself into the spotlight (and perhaps boost his church membership to something more than the fifty or so people who now attend), and to incite and fan the flames of Islamophobia.

Jones is, I’m quite sure, aware of the possible consequences of his actions if he carries out his plan for this Qur’an burning day. At a time when American troops are fighting to try and restore peace in Islamic parts of the world, he is attempting to start an all-out war with well over a billion Muslims. He’s also, I think, one of those worst kinds of religious fanatics: He is seeking his own martyrdom, because if he goes through with this plan, he will be the target of every radical Muslim on the planet, all of whom will be trying to be the person who takes his life.

All of this has been incited by a man who calls himself a Christian. Some of my best friends are Christians, and none of them have this attitude. The worst thing that they might do would be to engage a Muslim in a spirited debate about how they need to convert to Christianity for their own salvation.

The pastor claims that under the first amendment of the Constitution, he has the right to do this. He is quite correct in that claim. However, given the great freedom that the first amendment affords us, Jones needs to keep something in mind. With great freedom comes great responsibility. Jones is engaging in the global equivalent of yelling, “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

It’s people like Jones who have turned me completely away from Christianity, just as the radical Muslim fringe elements would prevent me from ever trying to embrace that religious faith. Believe it or not, there are a few forms of spiritual self-expression that do not tend to spawn a fanatic fringe element. I’ll stick to the one I follow, thank you.

As for Jones, someone needs to bitch-slap some common sense into this idiot. He has the potential to cause a huge amount of global unrest if he doesn’t learn to shut his mouth.

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