Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In Flagrante Delicto: Dangerously Stupid Bigotry In Action From Gainseville, Florida

"But in America, there is the freedom to be ignorant"

Today I looked up the definition of inflagrante delicto: it comes from Latin - "in a blazing offence" - from which we get the term "caught red-handed." So it may be it ironic that the act of burning a religious holy book has brought out the Christian Right's Islamophobia: it's been there all along, but this time it was caught in the act just as its homophobia was caught in the act with Fred Phelps' antics at Matthew Shepard's funeral. 

And while we might argue that anything associated with  Westboro Baptist Church would be discounted as in bad taste, an ally of the church - the Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Fla, however, is trying to prove that bad taste can be deadly. In a news item that summarily falls into the WTF? category:

(CNN) -- The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church's plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning the demonstration "could cause significant problems" for American troops overseas.

"It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan," Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.

And to further solidify the proof of his idiocy, Pastor Jones of Dove World Outreach Center
...insists the event is "neither an act of love nor of hate," but a warning against what it calls the threats posed by Islam.
The website of Dove World Outreach Center (activew membership - 50) is a chilling affair, primatily because he so purposely demonizes Islam and the Christian Right's usual targets (the LGBT community and Obama, e.g.) referring to them all as "evil." The undertone of "destroy them before they destroy us"  is so prevalent that it renders his "neither an act of love nor hate" statement totally meaningless. He expounds on the "unbelivable cruelty" of radical Islam while negating the fact that his rhetoric will cause harm to Muslims in this country because, of course, there are no Muslims in America who are not part of radical Islam.

BTW: Jones boasts that he has never read the Quran.

There is, of course, a plethora of Christian leaders calling the proposed September 11th International Burn A Koran Day an abomination. The most insightful and glaring protests, however have come from the Gainesville, FL communities. One of them has a website to which people can affix their name to a petition.

We the people of the City of Gainesville Florida, and others everywhere who support freedom of religion, sincerely request that the Dove World Outreach Center Church not proceed with their plans to burn the Koran on 9/11 or at any other time. Freedom of religion is a founding principle of our Constitution and the burning of any people's sacred texts is in direct opposition to this principle. If you proceed with your plans to burn the Koran, please understand that this act will not serve to lessen our respect for the Muslim faith, but will only serve to lessen our respect for you and what you are preaching.

Jones has refused all demands to stop the book burning.

Jones canceled a planned appearance on CNN's "Rick's List" to discuss the controversy Monday afternoon. Plemon el-Amin, the imam of an Atlanta, Georgia, mosque, said that Jones' criticism of Islam is "really quite uninformed."
"But in America, there is the freedom to be ignorant," el-Amin said. "The only problem is in the world, many people don't understand that particular freedom. So what he is doing is like shouting fire in a theater, in a world theater, and people are upset."

PLemon el-Amin was being kind  when he used the word "uninformed." Jones' foolhardy attempt at "evangelism" eerily conjures up the Christian Right's desperate attempt to gain control in a "Christian Only" nation and in doing so, magnifies its unreasonable and rather brainless world view. For example, the website for Dove World Outreach Center lists TEN REASONS TO BURN A KORAN. With it, Jones ticks off a litany that is so parallel to extreme/radical Reconstructionist thought  that it seems to simply switch the words Islam with Right Wingnut Religion. 

 - The Koran teaches that Jesus Christ, the Crucified, Risen Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords was NOT the Son of God, nor was he crucified (a well documented historical fact that ONLY Islam denies). Parenthetical expressions can effectively point out ingnorance: Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and dozens of other faiths do not recognize Christ. The Koran, however, is an Abrahamic faith which does recognize Christ as a prophet. Also, Christ's crucifixion is only documented in one source outside the Bible. 

- The Koran does not have an eternal origin. It is not recorded in heaven. The Almighty God, Creator of the World, is NOT it's source. It is not holy. It's writings are human in origin, a concoction of old and new teachings. Hmmm...a lot of people say that about the Bible. Some reknowned Bible scholars are probably weeping at this statement.

- The Koran's teaching includes Arabian idolatry, paganism, rites and rituals. I wonder what he thinks about Catholicism and its Mariolitry or Eastern Orthodox and its reverence for icons?
- The earliest writings that are known to exist about the Prophet Mohammad were recorded 120 years after his death. ... Maybe Mohammad never existed. The earliest known writing about Christ (besides Paul's which did not chronicle Christ's life) were written over 50 years after the crucifxion in a language Christ did not speak. Some people doubt he existed.

 - Mohammad's life and message cannot be respected. And, of course, no one has ever attempted to arrange Christ's life and words to suit their own agenda.

- Islamic Law is totalitarian in nature. There is no separation of church and state. It is irrational. It is supposedly immutable and cannot be changed. The outcry of  "No separation of Church and State" by the Christian Right has totally obliterated Jones' reasoning here and he looks the fool for even mentioning it.

 - Islam is not compatible with democracy and human rights. The notion of a moral individual capable of making decisions and taking responsibility for them does not exist in Islam. The attitude towards women in Islam as inferior possessions of men has led to countless cases of mistreatment and abuse... Jones has never been to a battered women's shelter. The abuse continues. The irony that Fundamentalists have a higher divorce rate than the rest of the country is apparently lost on him. The Southern Baptist Convention still struggles with the definition of a wife being subservient to her husband.

 - A Muslim does not have the right to change his religion. Apostasy is punishable by death. It's a good thing Roger Williams didn't die after being ostracized by the Puritans. Anyway,  I supposed Jones' point could be well taken in that today's non-Christian only faces  extreme discrimination. The Christian Right is, however, making headway in Africa/Uganda.

 - Deep in the Islamic teaching and culture is the irrational fear and loathing of the West. Deep in the Christian Right teaching and culture is the irrational fear and loathing of the Middle East.

- Islam is a weapon of Arab imperialism and Islamic colonialism. Wherever Islam has or gains political power, Christians, Jews and all non-Moslems receive persecution, discrimination, are forced to convert. History will always come back to haunt us: Native Americans were forced into slavery (by the good Franciscan priests of the California Missions) and Puritans killed off whole tribes because they wouldn't convert. 

The next days will be frought with tension as to who will side with whom or who will start distancing themselves from Rev. Jones and his little band of bigots.  We've been hearing from organizations like Family Research Council about "protecting" our troops from "homosexuality" but will they be silent about protecting our troops from one of their own? 

At least American Family Association's Bryan Fischer has the courage of his own stupidity: he defends Jones in a way that only a hardline anti-everyone Rightwingnut can.

When atheists and secularists like the minions of the ACLU, get the Bible banned from schools what do Christians do? They make phone calls, send emails, and go to court. What do Muslims do under similar circumstances? They start shooting and throwing bombs.
So now the Christian Right has been caught in flagrante dilecto in its fight for a "Christian Only Nation." 

Too bad that lives will be lost. 

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