by Skip Conover ~ Copyright 2010 Donald L. Conover (Twitter: @skip_conover)
The Rev.? Terry Jones needs money! This can be the only reason why he would stir up this controversy about burning the Koran. There will be enough Americans who believe such crazies to get him over his cash crunch. But that does not mean that he represents anything like a majority of American, Christian, or Western thought. CNN, MSNBC and other inflamers need money too! That’s why they let this crackpot stir things up instead of ignoring him. They are giving him hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free publicity, which only serves to make matters worse. I wonder if he will collect that much! He was given 7.5 minutes of airtime on CNN today, multiple times! Just ask Coca Cola what they would have to pay for that time, if they were buying it.
He says that his message is for the members of “Radical Islam,” and yet his messaging and targeting are clearly designed to upset all Muslims, and the fact that a Malaysian friend brought it to my attention without noting the conciliatory parts of his message means that the conciliatory things he had to say about moderate Muslims were completely lost in the noise level.
Here is my rebuttal of Fran Ingram’s ten reasons to burn the Koran, which the Rev.? Terry Jones has published on his church’s web site (I do not offer a link here, because I do not want to encourage these people):
1. There is no place in the Bible that says that if one does not follow Jesus Christ one is damned to eternal hell fire. If that were true, all predecessors of Jesus, like King David and Abraham himself must also be in hell. Christ invited people to follow him to reach the kingdom of heaven, but at no point did he say that his was the only way. In fact, Jesus himself was a practicing Jew, and “Christianity” was a construct developed long after his death. Surely Jesus had his beefs with venal politicians and deceitful clergymen, like Rev.? Jones, and the Bible reports many valid reasons for his beefs, but he did not say that Judaism per se was evil, and he surely didn’t opine on Islam, because Mohammed lived 600 years later. Ms. Ingram is welcome to her 1st Amendment protected belief about “eternal damnation,” but I for one say she’s full of bologna, and just trying to stir up a controversy to raise money for her church. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 I infer, “… and all of the peoples and cultures of the Earth, and all of the methods of seeking God.” So far as I know, most major religions credit God with making everything!
2. The same can be said about the New Testament of the Bible (the basis of Christianity), which did not come together in more or less its current form until 325 years after Christ. So what? Should we be burning Bibles too? Think back 325 years from now. Is there anything you can point to and say this assuredly happened that way? Take the Boston Tea Party, for example. One version says that “Old New England Tea” was Rum, and the fight was over a tax on alcohol not tea. I prefer this telling, myself, but who can say for sure?!
3. All ancient peoples believed in these early forms of religion. Religion has evolved quite a way in the past 1,500 years, and neither Jesus nor Mohammed, nor even Moses could have predicted how. These are simply inflammatory words to stir up the controversy and bring more money into what must be their struggling church. The majority of Americans would not support this kind of incitement.
4. The same could be said about the Bible as well, and the life of Christ. All you have to do is follow the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem to understand how Christian infighting has desecrated the sanctity of the place where Jesus was crucified, if he was crucified in the place the Jewish guides say. Trust me, it’s nothing like what you saw in the paintings of Michelangelo and others. They didn’t need any Jews or Muslims to do that, because they managed it quite well on their own steam. As I noted previously, the New Testament of the Bible was only put together about 325 years after Christ, and all you have to do is read about the Book of Thomas and the other omitted scriptures to understand how venal religious fanatics have dominated our worship to this very day. The last two sentences of Ms. Ingram’s “reason” are simply her speculation. I doubt if she’s ever been to a Muslim country or shared a meal with a Muslim family. Furthermore, “christians” like this believe the Bible without question, despite its own internal contradictions and faults.
5. The same can be said for followers of Christ today. She is simply being inflammatory. The worse she makes it, the more CNN and other media outlets will help them raise funds for their church. I guess they’re selling books too! I wonder how they live and what kind of cars they drive. Are CNN and MSNBC and Fox all contributing to their lifestyle with all of this free publicity?
6. The same can be said for Christianity and many of its followers. I know that my first ancestors in North America came here to escape the Catholics of Spain behaving in precisely the same manner. The Bible does not call for separation of Church and State. The U.S. Constitution does! If Ms. Ingram had visited a Muslim country, she might see that most Muslims live in very similar ways to most western peoples. And she would have seen that they are highly civilized. This does not condone some practices in those countries, most of which are justified by secular law and not Islam. This too will change in its own time. I have a photograph of my Great Grandmother and her three sisters dressed very much as if they are in abaya (1879). My Great Great Grandfather is wearing a beard, much as Muslim men do today.
7. The same can be said for many aspects of the Bible and its more radical followers. I’m sure Ms. Ingram would not have made it at the time of the Catholic Inquisition!
8. The Bible has similar provisions, and despite the fact that “born again” christians claim that every word of the Bible is true, many enlightened Christian leaders have questioned this assertion, and accepted it as clearly wrong. While the Koran does include such a provision, it is not practiced in modern Muslim societies (with the noisy exceptions proving the rule).
9. Who wouldn’t be afraid after our actions have led to the death of more than 1 million Muslims in Iraq? Afghanistan too! And then there is the hateful polemic of inflamers like Ms. Ingram to make things seem more “civilized” here in the West.
10. The same can be said for christian imperialism and colonialism. What does Ms. Ingram propose happen to 1.6 million Muslims? Reading this, I feel I’m reading an excerpt from Mein Kampf. When did radical christians give up compassion and tolerance? Ms. Ingram probably doesn’t even know that Thomas Jefferson was not a Christian.
In this piece I have intentionally put the “c” in “christian” in lower case, indicating that I do not believe that these views represent the views of any true Christian church, any more than I believe that organizations that claim the mantle of Islam necessarily represent the beliefs of most Muslims. Ms. Ingram needs to understand and internalize the distinction.
There is a reason we have Freedom of Religion guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, which all of our Federal officers and military personnel swear to uphold to the death. The reason is that many of the ancestors of most Americans came to North America to escape religious strife. We have 10X the number of people claiming to be Irish in the United States as there are in the entire Republic of Ireland. Many of them came here to escape religious warfare, and Islam had nothing to do with it! I know my first Dutch-, Swedish-, Welsh-, and German-American ancestors probably never met a Muslim in their lifetimes.
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