Love Thy Neighbor? How, Without Tolerance?

There was a small discussion over on Facebook tonight, and I wanted to expand upon some of my thoughts here.

Someone posted about the hypocrisy being shown by the Muslim world about the church in Florida which plans to burn a copy of the Quran. They stated that the burning of the Quran shouldn’t anger the Muslim world any more than Bible or flag burning angers others.

That statement sparked a conversation between two people that quickly denigrated into name calling and finger pointing. One person said that everyone should act like adults and stop bashing others beliefs, while the other said that “everyone should grow up” had the stench of surrender to it.

One person invoked the name of Jesus, telling the second person that Jesus made the ultimate surrender and that he degraded it with revenge and wasn’t very “Christian”. From there it went downhill quickly as the first person also invoked the names of Timothy McVeigh, the Columbine teens, David Koresh, and Jim Jones. She insinuated that those who didn’t see things her way were violent and ignorant.

After an historical reference to 1938, a couple veiled comments about the incinerators at the concentration camps, and a couple more insults, the first person ended their side of the conversation with the over-used statement that “not every Muslim is a terrorist”.

After reading the entire conversation I could not contain myself. I felt I needed to write something about it, so this is what I wrote.

When an event occurs in the present (like the burning of the Quran), I think it does more damage invoking the name of radicals of the past. We all know we cannot move forward if we don’t learn from the mistakes in our past, but that doesn’t mean we need to dwell on that past either.

Burning the Quran may offend some, but they have the right to burn it, just as you or anyone else has the right to perform many similar acts, as protected by our freedom of speech as defined in the U.S. Constitution.

When you invoke the name of radicals to support your theory, your theory carries little to no weight of its own. Just like those who invoke the name of Hitler or the Nazis, you are no better for invoking the name of Timothy McVeigh, David Koresh, or any other half dozen radicals of our time.

While I support the statement that not all Muslims are terrorists, the Quran clearly promotes violence, and claiming otherwise is extremely ignorant.

I am not arguing, I am not preaching, I am simply telling it like it is. Throughout many parts of the world books and effigies are burnt in protest, religious leaders call for the destruction of America, women are stoned to death for the most insane reasons, and all the while we, here in America, are told to remain tolerant.

I see no tolerance in many of the statements above, in fact I see a lot of intolerance to our fellow citizens while espousing a reality that simply does not exist.

What is the difference between a Christian and a “Christian” anyway? As a Christian, I don’t feel it is my place to single out specific individuals as being more or less Christian than me, for I am no better than anyone else, for we are all sinners, aren’t we?

Although I don’t agree with the burning of the Quran (or any other book), it’s a far cry short of the “violence and ignorance” that you have claimed it is. I don’t need a teacher, religious zealots, two angst ridden teenagers hellbent on destruction, or anyone else to see that.

What do you think? Personally, I think a person does a disservice to themselves, and the debate they are trying to win, when they invoke the name of radicals (from either side) to attack the other side of the argument. Wouldn’t it be more prudent to make statements which actually support your side? Wouldn’t it be prudent to converse with your opponent rather than attack them by comparing them to some of the most dangerous radicals of our time?

Has anyone ever won a debate with you by calling you names? Has anyone ever convinced you that your beliefs were wrong by comparing you to religious zealots and radicals? I didn’t think so.

Thursday’s Thoughts, On Wednesday

Thought #1

There’s something wrong with an employer which takes applications, but disqualifies anyone currently unemployed. I wonder who the moron is that came up with this idea.

If you’re unemployed, don’t even bother applying. That’s a message some job seekers are seeing as they look for their next paycheck.

It’s not the kind of message Peter May expected to see on a job listing. But when he visited the Web site for “The People Place”, an Orlando-based recruiter, there it was, in all caps, bold type: “No unemployed candidates will be considered at all.”

I definitely won’t be purchasing any Sony Ericsson products in the future. If they aren’t going to consider candidates who actually need jobs, I am not going to spend my money on any of their consumer electronics when I actually need something.

Thought #2

Nancy Pelosi says that government policy should be dictated by “The Word”. The same woman who voted to allow partial-birth abortions now says we must all answer to “The Word Made Flesh”. Has Nanny State Nancy been enlightened? Has she seen the light? That, my friends, is the great mystery.

Thought #3

Justice Sotomayor has already proven her appointment to the Supreme Court was a huge mistake.

In a case before the court pertaining to Miranda rights, the Court ruled 5-4 that suspects must implicitly invoke their right to remain silent.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a criminal suspect must explicitly invoke the right to remain silent during a police interrogation, a decision that dissenting liberal justices said turns the protections of a Miranda warning “upside down.”

The court ruled 5 to 4 that a Michigan defendant who incriminated himself in a fatal shooting after nearly three hours of questioning thus gave up his right to silence, and the statement could be used against him at trial.

In the case about Miranda rights, suspect Van Chester Thompkins remained mostly silent for three hours of interrogation after reading and being told of his rights to remain silent and have an attorney. He neither acknowledged that he was willing to talk nor that he wanted questioning to stop.
But detectives persisted in what one called mostly a “monologue” until asking Thompkins whether he believed in God. When asked, “Do you pray to God to forgive you for shooting that boy down?” Thompkins looked away and answered, “Yes.”

The statement was used against him, and Thompkins was convicted of killing Samuel Morris outside a strip mall in Southfield, Mich.

So what did Justice Sotomayor have to say about this?

“Today’s decision turns Miranda upside down,” wrote Sotomayor. “Criminal suspects must now unambiguously invoke their right to remain silent, which, counterintuitively, requires them to speak.” She was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

Suspects must invoke their right to remain silent? Duh! Of course they do. Miranda states, “You have the right to remain silent”. If you don’t, well, anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law.

Hello!?! Dumbass! If you choose to remain silent, you must… How do I write this in a way you’ll understand? I guess I’ll just come out and write it. If you choose to remain silent, then keep your frickin’ mouth shut. Don’t say a word. Don’t mumble, don’t stutter, don’t utter one word. Silence is just that. SILENT.

The scariest part about this decision is that four U.S. Supreme Court Justices (Sotomayor, Stevens, Ginsburg, and Breyer) actually think the right to remain silent is automatically implied by the reading of Miranda. They actually think suspects are being treated unfairly if they don’t remain silent. Does the oath for members of the Supreme Court include the right to remain stupid?

Saying It Doesn’t Make It So

Franklin Graham says he feels like his “religious rights are being denied.”

He may feel that way, but the events that have transpired regarding the Pentagon’s decision to drop him from the line up for the National Day Of Prayer are far from a denial of his religious rights.

The U.S. Constitution grants us religious freedom.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Regardless of the Pentagon’s decision, Franklin Graham is still free to exercise his religious freedom. No matter how we feel about his exclusion during the National Day Of Prayer, Congress has passed no law that prohibits him from exercising his religious freedom. The Constitution guarantees his right to exercise his religion. It also guarantees free speech, but it does not guarantee his right to speak at any particular event.

With that said, I agree with everything else he said.

“It is a comment I made after 9/11 that Islam was wicked and evil,” said Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham.

The only reason his invitation was dropped, Graham said, was that “a couple members of the Pentagon who are Muslim objected about me coming.”

“I feel my religious rights are being denied here because of what I believe,” the evangelist said. “I believe Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life…I believe that because of my beliefs, that’s why I’m not being given the opportunity to speak.”

“I love Muslim people…I love them and care for them,” he insisted, adding that he does not “believe what they believe.”

“I don’t believe that Muhammad can lead anybody to God,” he said. “If you just look at the religion as it treats women, it is horrid. We can’t even talk publicly about what they do to women. You know, I just – for that alone – I cannot accept the religion.”

It’s a shame that the Pentagon chose to make the decision they did. Then again, none of the decisions made in Washington, since January of 2009, have surprised me.

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