Saturday, December 19, 2009

Knife weilding fanatical Muslims attack church property or not?

Exactly how would the Religious Right respond to the following story? A church puts up a billboard which questions some aspect of Islam. Within days the billboard is attacked three times. The church is inundated with unpleasant and threatening phone calls and emails from Muslims around the world. One fanatic shows up with a knife in hand and the church caves in and removes the billboard. What do you think conservatives would have to say about that?

Plenty I suspect. They would be outraged by the use of force to silence a religious institution. And they would be right to be outraged. All the above is true with the exception that the attacks were not carried out by Muslims but Christians. That may explain the relative silence from conservatives about this outrage.

St. Matthew-in-the-City is small Anglican church in Auckland, New Zealand. And it posted the following billboard on church property. Their purpose was the challenge the concept of a male God sending sperm to earth to impregnate a virgin. They don't buy that line at all and argue that the true meaning of Christmas is lost in all this mythology. It really doesn't matter whether or not what they say is right. The issue is their right to say it. I don't buy the mythology either but I suspect that their idea of the "true meaning of Christmas" is probably wrong as well. They said all they wanted was people to think about the story and it's meaning. Fair enough.
In less than a day the sign was attacked by a Christian who drove up to, then stood on the roof of the car and covered the sign with paint. A spokesman for the church commented after the first attack: "They are driven to give threats and abuse — and they say 'we love Jesus and he loves us'. I'm sorry, but they don't get the irony of their beahviour." Once news of the billboard got out "the church had spent yester answering hundreds of abusive emails and phone calls from around New Zealand and overseas." The billboard was replaced. Someone stole that billboard and it was then replaced.

Then yesterday the Vicar of the church, Glynn Cardy, said the billboard was "attacked by a knife-wielding Christian fanatic who was then apprehended by a group of homeless people who care about our church. Later in the evening another group of fanatics ripped it down.

I can't imagine the outcry if Muslims had done a similar thing to church property. I am sure it would be very loud, very vocal, very hysterical. Glen Beck would have fits for days about the actions of the fanatics. But it wasn't Muslims, it was Christians who acted this way. That explains the silence. And only that explains the silence. The outcry from the Right over the Islamic response to the cartoon controversy was phony from the get-go. The Right doesn't believe in free speech at all. What it came down to was that the Right hates Muslims more than it hates free speech. There are no principles involved just competing hates. And sinces they dislike Muslims more than free speech they used the free speech issue to beat up on Muslims (not that the Muslims didn't deserve it).

But now the controversy was over Christians attacking a cartoon image they found offensive. So all the moral posturing from the Right about freedom of thought and the sanctity of open debate has disappeared and they react to this attack with silence. You figure out why that is.

Labels: ,