Monday, September 6, 2010
Burn, baby, burn?
Back in July, I wrote a piece about a Florida church's plan to burn Korans on September 11th, and it seems that Terry Jones plans to go ahead with his protest against what he deems as the "Devil".
The preacher claims that he is exercising his right to hate whom he chooses despite the fact that the event will likely bring danger to troops and outrage freedom-loving people worldwide.
Right-wing Muslims use whatever they can to damage the reputations of non-believers and create radicalism. Much like September 11 became an excuse for western extremists to hate Muslims and anyone who might be, the Muslim right uses rare hateful events to justify their loathing of others. The reason that folks like Terry Jones and extremist Imams sound the same is because they are. They both believe that their interpretation of the same God is the correct one and that those who do not share their radicalism should be doomed to a fiery everlasting Hell.
And they do believe in the same Creator, make no mistake. How do I know this? Well, because I've read the Koran. I've also read the Torah, most of the Talmud, the Midrash, and several versions of the Christian Bible. The Koran is essentially an extension of the Christian Bible until you get to Mohammed's life story, and even Mo isn't that different from other prophets of the day.
There is rape and holy murder in the Koran, but it's also all over the Bible as well. Exodus 21 even details the rules surrounding sex slaves; Deuteronomy 22 states that women who are not found to be virgins on their wedding nights must be stoned (except if she's the daughter of a priest. Then she's to be burned to death.); in Numbers 31, everyone but the virgins is butchered, even babies. The virgins are not allowed to marry any man except Moses, but they're free to be raped repeatedly and given no support for the children that result. In numerous passages in Deuteronomy,as well as Judges, Zechariah, and others the rape of foreign women is encouraged. And we aren't even going into the murder, because I think you get the point.
There are brutal things in all Abrahamic religious texts, but we don't actually kill people who swear at their parents (like Jesus commanded) , butcher those who work on the Sabbath (Moses) ; summon beasts to kill children who ridicule people (Elijah) ; or kill those who you think lied to you (Peter). The World would be an awful lonely place if we killed everyone who ate shellfish, wore poly-cotton blends, or was victimized by another's crime.
We don't commit all of the horrible crimes against humanity that the great God of all these faiths commands us to because we know it is wrong, because we know that a book is simply paper and we cannot begin to understand the will of the supernatural.
There are good and bad people. Some of the sinister do use ancient texts as justification because they are afraid of being accountable for their actions. The actions of a few cowards do not negate the good done by billions of decent people who use their faith to get through hard times and enjoy the good ones. Human beings do a far better job of policing their own when they realize their community, their sameness. To engage in religious persecution of others simply continues thousands of years of stupidity that we should be intelligent enough to stop.
Throughout history Jews, Christians, and Muslims have lived together and loved each other, but also enslaved, raped, and massacred each other. We cannot erase the past or deny any of the horrible things done in the name of something that is supposed to be holy, but we can avoid future hatred through the things we do today.
Islam is no more evil than Judaism or Christianity, and while it might make us feel better than them to desecrate their holy book it makes us worse as a species. Extreme actions cause extreme reactions, and there is absolutely zero good that can come from one man deciding he is the future of Christianity by burning the text of your neighbour. If you think that those who believe in false prophets like Terry Jones are not dangerous, think of the 19 kids who believed in Usama bin Laden's bizarre interpretation of religion. Those who blindly follow the teachings of the extreme are subject to become the monsters of the future that echo the past.
Hate by any other name is still the same.
Posted by Michel-Exildas Galipeau at 19:53