By now everyone has heard of the cancelled plans of pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida to burn Korans on September 11th. If you haven't heard about it, then I would have to ask, "what rock have you been hiding under?" The pastor of a tiny church of maybe 50 members sparked a worldwide outcry over his protest of Islam because it was deemed offensive to Muslims. As a Christian I would have to say, as I wrote about previously in my blog, that he was going about things the wrong way and surely was not showing the love of Jesus. All of the uproar over this begs the question, though, "why does there seem to be such a huge double standard when if comes to offending a religion?"
All around the world, mostly in majority Muslim countries, Christians are attacked, beaten, hacked to death, burned alive, and have their homes and churches burned to the ground on a daily basis simply because of their faith. Often times these events don't make the mainstream news, but occasionally they do. But, let anybody even just say something anti-Islam and the news media is all over it.
The same kind of double standard is seen in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel is continually heavily criticized simply for defending themselves. How long are they supposed to let Hamas fire rockets into Israel and kill Israeli citizens without doing anything about it? What if it were a Mexican drug cartel firing rockets into Houston or San Antonio? How long would the American people stand for it if our government did nothing about it? Historically, every time Israel has made concessions to the Palestinians for a peace agreement, usually by giving up land, it doesn't last long. It's never enough for the Palestinians. They always want more. Hamas, the PLO, Hezbollah, Iran, and others will not be satisfied with anything short of the complete and total destruction of Israel, and have stated so on numerous occasions. There will not be peace in Israel until Jesus comes to establish His reign on earth.
It was recently reported on Fox News that a Christian worshipper was stabbed in the stomach as he was going to prayers in the field at his church. His pastor was then beaten in the head with a board as she tried to give him assistance. They are praying in the field because the local "extremist" group, the Islamic Defenders Front, convinced authorities to shut down and board up their church. The group is trying to get Sharia law enforced in their area and other parts of Indonesia. They are also known to attack transvestites, destroy bars, and attack anyone else they deem to be "blasphemous." The group's members that commit these crimes are hardly ever questioned by police, let alone even punished for their crimes.
There have been numerous other reports of Christians being attacked, usually by Muslims, such as in Iraq in July of 2009 when there were 7 Iraqi churches bombed within 48 hours. Or how about Bartilla, Iraq, where Muslims attacked the Christian town on Christmas morning of all times! They even started a shootout at St. Mary Church, wounding 4 Christian worshippers. Then there is the case in Ethiopia recently where a prominent church leader was attacked by two Muslim men with a wood club to the head and was beaten and kicked in the chest and stomach. We hear about roadside bombings and suicided bombers in crowded markets from the mainstream media, but all too often we don't hear about this kind of stuff. If they do report on it, it's certainly not front page news. A very good source for Christian persecution news that you won't usually find in the mainstream media is The Voice of the Martyrs.
How about looking a little closer to home? In Dearborn, Michigan, home of the largest mosque in America, four Christians were arrested outside the Dearborn Arab International Festival simply for handing out copies of the Gospel of John which were printed in Arabic and English. They videotaped their activity prior to the arrest which shows no indication of the "disorderly conduct" with which they were charged. They were simply exercising their Constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom speech and religion. Apparently the Constitution doesn't apply in Dearborn. It makes me wonder though, is Sharia law beginning to be enforced in Dearborn? If so, where does it stop?
Our President and Commander in Chief, Barack Obama, was very much against the plans of pastor Terry Jones to burn the Korans, and I certainly agree with the President in this regard. However, our same Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces, who are sworn to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic," (I took that oath myself) is not allowing our troops to freely exercise their own right of freedom of religion, one of the very rights they are sworn to protect! Christian military chaplains are being told they cannot pray "in Jesus' name," and being disciplined for doing so. Our military has chaplains from all major world faiths, so they are supposed to represent their particular faith, and this is restricting them, even punishing them, for not only following their faith, but simply doing their job!
In yet another example of the political correctness that has crept into our military, to the detriment of combat readiness, I might add, the US Army in Afghanistan confiscated and ordered the burning of bibles sent to a US Soldier that were printed in the local Pashto and Dari languages! YES! The Army ordered the bibles to be burned in the trash because they were afraid they would be given to local residents! I wonder, though, if they were Korans printed in English, would they have still been burned with the trash at the end of the day as base regulations required? Where is the outrage? Why were there no world leaders, movie stars, or major religious leaders speaking out against this? There were certainly no Christians protesting in the streets. Could it be that the sociopolitical establishment is literally afraid to admit the truth that Islam is not the religion of peace they want us to believe, for fear of being marked for death as Salmon Rushdie was when he published Satanic Verses?
There was even a case of bible burning in Canton, North Carolina, but this time by Christians at their church. HUH? You read that right! Pastor Marc Grizzard and his congregation at Amazing Grace Baptist Church decided to celebrate Halloween 2009 by burning bibles that weren't the King James Version! (GASP!) They also burned some books, music, and other things that Mr. Grizzard determined to be of satanic influence. This time, however, Christians did respond. A group of about 20 people, mainly seminary students, showed up to protest. Were they rioting in the streets? Were they setting fires? Were they chanting "death to the bible burners?" No. They were peacefully holding signs with positive, timeless truths from the bible that exposed the error of the ways of Mr. Grizzard and his congregants he was leading astray. After the church had finished their "ceremony," the protesters formed a football team-like huddle and prayed. They petitioned God for forgiveness for the bible burners, just as Jesus said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do" as He was being crucified. They also gave the glory to God and thanked Him for their opportunity to express the truth of God's love in a Christian way in opposition to distorted message being presented that cold, rainy Halloween night.
It's been a full week now since Terry Jones cancelled his plans to burn Korans. Undetered, however, thousands and thousands of Muslims are still holding angry protests in Iran. Why is it that Muslims get so incensed over someone even saying they're going to burn a Koran, or anything else anti-Islam for that matter, but you don't even hear a peep out of Christians when bibles are burned? The media attention is pretty lopsided, too. Well, the thing is, Christians don't worship a book. They worship the Author of the book. Burning a bible does not destroy the truth of God's word. All it does is burn some paper. The Word of God, by the way, is not the bible. Now that you've gone back and read that sentence again to be sure you read it right, here's why I said that. The Word of God is Jesus. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." - John 1:1. Burning a book doesn't change that. Do the Muslims worship a book, the Koran? Do they worship the author of the Koran, Mohammed? Either way it's not God.
Yes, there is a glaring double standard in the world. No, it's not right. Even so, as Christians, we know that we were told these times were coming. The world is turning farther and farther away from God. It certainly seems to be becoming "as in the days of Noah." What is good is being called evil, and what is evil is being called good. Even when the whole world is against us, we still have a calling to be the light of Christ to this dying world. We must continue to pray for those who persecute us and not return an evil for an evil. So yeah, it's OK, bring it on. For those in Christ, to die is gain. Jesus Himself was rejected and killed. Who are we to expect to have it any better than the Master?
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