Thursday, September 9, 2010

Burning the Koran/Woe Unto You Lawyers/Christians, Bring It

What I want to know is why moderate Christians aren't giving Terry Jones much more shit.

In the last ten years, Muslim extremism has replaced nuclear holocaust as the greatest political problem facing humans. The question is, how do you communicate and negotiate with people who do not respect or give credence to your own laws, your own statutes and constitution. Someone who truly believes infidels should be slaughtered is not someone interested in the fine points of freedom of speech and rule of law.

Well, many years ago I wrote an article for the Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review called Burdens Hard to Bear: A Theology of Human Rights. I wrote the article as an opportunity to think about what Christians like me could do about Christians who were virulently opposed to, say, gay rights. And I conclude pretty quickly - and in a tripped out academic writing style I find very strange - the following: You will fail if you try to convince politically active Christians (people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin now) that the values of democracy - of classical liberalism -- are more important than the tenets of their own religion. I concluded that our only chance to engage with that sector was to argue from within their own traditions, religion and values. Step into the paradigm, boys. That's what I said. In the article I manage to shoehorn in a little Dosteyevsky so it takes a while.

So my conclusion was that the only way to talk to the extreme politically active Christians was to say that the actions they contemplated - banning gay marriage, for instance -- were essentially unchristian. The essence of Christianity, I argued, is that people must be free to choose to follow Jesus, and that choice cannot be inflicted on them by the power of the state.

Another way to look at this conclusion is that I was saying that moderate Christians need to call out idiots like Terry Jones by using the same Bible and the same language and the same Jesus that he is trying to hijack for his own purposes. What Jones wants to do is manifestly unchristian. And some Christians should be telling him that. And if moderate Christians stood up to him and told him that, then that would be a wonderful piece of news for the Muslim world. It would be nice to see something like that on Al Jazeera right about now, wouldn't it?

We are all waiting - especially here in England- for the moderate Muslims to tell the extremists that their agenda is not the agenda of Mohammed. How about encouraging that by doing the same thing to our extremist Christian problem, Terry Jones?

I really wish that Obama with his Christian background had dared to go that far today. Instead, he gave a practical results-oriented argument: if you burn the Quran, Jones, then more people will join Al-Quaeda. I'm not saying he's wrong, I'm saying that Jones doesn't give a shit whether more people join the cause. Hell, that guy would like to bring about some Revelations shit, so he's there, going, "Yeah! Bring it on!". But if Obama, or someone, Joel Osteen or that guy who did the inaugural prayer, or SOMEONE would say that in fact, Christianity demands extreme pacifism (blessed are the peacemakers, turn the other cheek), then maybe Jones would have second thoughts. Go and pray with this guy and see what happens, oh ye who still have faith. All you "prayer warriors", why don't you get on this?

At least if he didn't have second thoughts, you would know he's just a piker and a poser.

And maybe if you did something, you could avoid this horrible flashpoint. Look at how extremists reacted to the Dutch drawings. I'm just saying it could be bad.

2 comments:

  1. I love it when you get feisty for logic!

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  2. Rachel -

    Kate was saying similar things in the car this morning on the way to Church -- why aren't more Christians speaking out against (and speaking TO in love) Jones. I think a number have. But the bottom line is I don't think Al Jazeera is going to report on the Christian leaders or half billion Christians who disagree with the guy (just like I don't think Fox news likes to do stories on Muslim moderates or peace-loving liberals).

    But to your main point -- best way to argue with conservative Christians is to use their own rulebook (i.e., the Bible) against them -- totally agree.

    - Dave

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