Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Koran - Burning "Pastor" Terry Jones

Anyone who reads my posts will need about two and a half seconds to get a pretty good mental picture of my personal opinion of Islam and the sort of society that it creates.

Having established that, I can feel comfortable about stating some points on Florida "Pastor" Terry Jones and his sort of 'Christian" Church.

To be clear - The issue at stake is far more basic than free speech/First Amendment rights. No one in his right mind disputes the fact that our free speech rights are rightly very broad in the US. We have yet to be faced with laws as they exist in some European countries that define anti-Islamic statements as "hate speech" and subject the speaker or writer to criminal charges. People in the US will not stand for such legal restrictions so the probability of such a law being enacted is very low.

Also to be clear - Nor is the issue about the Koran itself. This book is incendiary, hateful, (especially of Jews- calling them apes), and promotes a socioeconomic system of subjugation and slavery of enemies throughout its pages. It takes the God of the Old and New Testaments and turns him into a slave master with the mentality of a pagan Arabian deity. Women are allowed to give testimony which is valued at half that of a man. Its restrictions and mandates appear designed to grind the cultural progress of a society to a halt. Particularly galling to me is how it takes accounts from the Old and New Testaments and twists them into bizarre versions that completely negate the whole point of the original account.

The point at hand is this -
When one is deciding whether or not to perform any act, he must take into account events that are likely to occur, either directly or indirectly, as a result.

The plight of Christians in Muslim-majority nations is well known. Even ignoring all that has happened up until the modern era, it does not take a scholar to know that the life of a Christian in these countries is indeed held very cheaply. They are subjected to murders, beatings, kidnapping and rapes, and Church burnings, often by rampaging mobs of Muslims. Even before the loosening of what little fetters held the Muslims back (by the US occupation of Iraq and the glorious Arab Spring) Christians could not live their lives free of fear. The removal of the autocracies removed the fear of heavy-handed police reprisals and opened up the floodgates, especially in Iraq and Egypt. Time and space prohibit me from going into detail on this, but details are not hard to find, especially if one avoids the leftist media.

Terry Jones (I will avoid the title 'Pastor' as the word connotes one who acts as a shepherd - one who protects) Had finally followed through with his widely publicized threats and burned a copy of the Koran in March of 2011.
(Note that technically a Koran must be in Arabic to in fact be a Koran - in any other language it is a commentary on the Koran)
 I will not entertain any protests of support of Mr. Jones or any of his cohorts in the commission of this act. Yes, it was of course legal and the Koran is still as dangerous as I described above.

Here is the main point- Mr. Jones' act essentially directly imperiled Christians in mainly Muslim countries by his act. Mr. Jones and his cronies did this act while nestled safely in the bosom that is the American infrastructure of Law Enforcement and military. I cannot believe that Mr. Jones was not aware that murders and rapes of Christians were committed in Muslim countries immediately following the publication of the Mohammed cartoons. At least in that case the publishers themselves were in much more danger than Mr. Jones and his followers as European nations like Denmark have much larger (proportionately) and more aggressive Muslim populations than does the US at the time of this writing.

Mr. Jones performed a tremendously inflammatory, albeit legal, act that he knew could well result in severe violence on Christians who live in a perpetual hostage status. They have trouble getting Visas to leave their countries, nations like the US will not recognize them as different, (The US recognizes ethnic but not religious differences) and they live with the specter of a rampaging mob or a close group of Muslim buddies who may cause grievous harm at any moment hanging over their heads. If Mr. Jones or one of his immediate family was currently a hostage of Muslim terrorists, would he have wanted someone to do something that would provoke them into even more hostile acts? I don't find that likely as Mr. Jones made sure that he himself was in a very safe place when he did this.

There is a word to describe a person who, from a safe and secure position, does something that he knows will provoke vicious and barbaric people to attack others when the original actor will not be able to even stand up and protect the innocent while the attacks occur. The word is coward.

Mr. Jones wanted to play-act the role of soldier. He could have flown to, say, Amman, Jordan, called up Al-Jazeera, waited for the arrival of the camera crew, and proceeded to burn a Koran in the middle of a market square in the city. He would  have been torn to pieces by the mob before the police got him into custody, but at least his act would have endangered himself and not others who would have to suffer in his place. In that case I would have considered him to be a  brave but reckless man. His actions are right in line with many of the Evangelical/Fundamentalist mindset, one that offers no empathy for others and concentrates solely on what I want. The physical and emotional pain that the Middle Eastern Christians and their families would suffer did not matter to him. I am going to do what I want and "oh, well" to those who may suffer as a result of my actions.

The US made a decision to send troops to the Middle East twice in the last ten years. Those that went into combat were in peril as well and any Christians who would suffer attacks as a result. Mr. Jones and his followers did nothing but perform an act of theater that would endanger others far away but not him or his group. I also don't know of Mr. Jones or his group doing anything to help the Christians in the Middle East, either by political/financial support or by sponsoring families to come to the US. I also don't know of them petitioning the UN to take action on behalf of those Christians. The actions of Mr. Jones and his congregation are not indicative of people who subscribe to Christian beliefs or thought.

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