Friday, July 22, 2005

Can We Ever Really Get Rid of the Messages of Hate?

After the the four failed bombings in London and the shooting of one man said to be directly linked the terrorist bombings, Muslims are now concerned about a possible 'shoot to kill' policy with UK police.

My first reaction was, "well, what do you expect. Maybe you should have thought about that before you let your Clerics create a 'bomb to kill' policy."

There has been a lot of talk about the Muslim community and the radical Muslim clerics who openly preach hate toward the infidels. Overall, the Muslim communities have some huge issues to deal with. Terrorism, of course, is one. Treatment of women, another. Etc.

But, then I thought about a conversation I had yesterday. It made me wonder, how much control the average Muslim has over these radical Muslim clerics. After all, I have no control over the radical Christian leaders. The vast majority of Christians are peaceful people who condemn violence as a tool, but that doesn't stop Reverend Michael Bray of the Army of God. His organization calls those who bomb abortion clinics and kill doctors prophets and heroes.

I have always interpreted Paul’s [Paul Hill murdered a doctor on the street] deed not as an example of how any and every citizen may lawfully defend the innocent; I see him not as a citizen and defender but as a statesman and prophet. Paul did not choose to terminate an abortionist covertly so that he might repeat the good deed to future joy of many babies and their relatives. Rather, he chose to abort the abortionist in public, laying down his weapon and holding his hands to heaven as he walked away and submitted to arrest. His was the message of a prophet to the civil authorities. This is the proper legal standard. This is justice. Murderers are to be executed.

The Army of God has an entire page dedicated to Paul Hill. It calls those who kill people martyrs. I have no way to stop him preaching hate.

Not only does Reverend Bray endorse terrorism against anyone connected with abortion clinics, he also sided with Saudi Arabia and applauded when three gay men were beheaded by Saudi officials. I have no way to stop him preaching hate.

Then there is Reverend Fred Phelps who also endorses violence against homosexuals. He not only applauded the beating to death of Matthew Shepard, he wanted to erect a monument on the Idaho State Capitol grounds saying that a gay man murdered in a hate crime in Wyoming 1998, is "burning in hell." I have no way to stop him preaching hate.

I have no way to stop Jerry Fawell from saying that 9/11 was caused by God's wrath on liberals:

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

While I don't, for a second, think that the Muslim community is without fault in allowing the messages of hate and murder to flow from its mosques and schools, I also don't think it is as easy as many Americans may think it is. 95% of American Christians believe it is not ok to commit terrorism against fellow Americans, regardless of their view of abortion. But yet the message is still present. 95% of Christian Americans believe that violence against African Americans and other minorities is wrong, but the KKK and other racists groups who call themselves Christian still preach their hate and avocation of violence. If there is such little acceptance in our community for these messages of hate, how do these extremist still have such a loud voice? How would we stop them? Assassination? Is there anyway to muzzle them without sinking to their level and breaking the law? Protest? Would they even listen if we had a 10 million person march on Washington, D.C. telling these preachers to sit down and shut up? I don't think so.

If we can't reign in our own religious leaders from preaching hate, how can we blame the entire Muslim community for not being able to reign in their radical clerics. As we see in our own community, when we are free, we can never fully rid ourselves of these preaches of hate. The Muslim community does have a lot of culpability in the current degree of hate being preached, but if we ever expect them to live in a true democracy (as we claim we do) it will be impossible for them to ever weed out all of the religious extremists, just like it has been impossible for us to do the same.


Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

I don't suppose the average German had much input into Hitler's doings, either.

The few examples of Christian hate there are- and you cite, are a far cry from the vast institutionalized hatred that the Islamists foster.

As despicable and ugly as the examples of Christian hate you cite, they are in no way equal in magnitude and scope of what passes for Islam, as taught by the radicals.

Tom Carter said...

Dingo, you're dancing all around moral relativism in this post, and it doesn't play well. The reason you can't stop Christians from preaching things you dislike is because you live in a country where speech is free and protected. In Muslim societies, inappropriate speech is punishable by death. Your government doesn't support religious hate speech and incorporate its extremism into law and policy, as in most Muslim countries. Christians in your country are among the first to overwhelmingly and sincerely denounce any kind of violence done in the name of their religion. Muslims rarely denounce violence and terrorism committed by other Muslims, and when they do their denunciations are qualified and lack sincerity.

These and other differences aren't subtle or complex. How do you not see them?

Dingo said...

Tom, I am not talking about Iran or Saudi Arabia. I am talking about Dearborn, MI, Leeds, UK, France, Belgium, etc. where we see a lot of this anti-western sentiment being taught in our own back yards.

ilona said...

You bring up things that are ruminating around in many peoples minds, for this reason I am thinking of giving your post special treatment this week( using it as a base to address the important questions).... if I change my mind I'll simply come back here and talk with you in your comments. This deserves careful looking at.....

Dingo said...

feel free Ilona. Either here or there.

ilona said...

I'm working on it today. I am going to do it on my blog because you have several important points to address and it would take too long in the comments. I should have something tonite.

I admire that you dug into some of the underlayment of the issue.

Anonymous said...

The more I looked at your post in order to write on it, the more I agreed with Tom Carter.

The only conclusion I can make is that for whatever reason you truly see the two on the same plane because they are both religions, or monotheistic religions... or something. Because you aren't taking the time to dissect the actual characteristics and outcomes.

Maybe this is where some of the discussion should take place with those who identify "Left". I don't know.

Dingo said...

it doesn't matter if they are monotheistic or not. It has nothing to do with the similarities or differences of the religions itself. It is that fact that both can and are used to preach hate and violence. If you look at the US alone, there has been more home grown domestic terrorists who are Christian than there are Muslim. If Islam itself is the problem, why do we not see more Muslim Americans committing violence?

And again, I am not comparing Iran to the US, I am commenting on the state of free speech within our own borders. I am saying that the problem is much more complex than the vast majority of Muslims standing up an condemning violence. Even though the overall majority of Christians are peaceful, that doesn't stop the few who are willing to commit violence in the name of God, from doing so.