Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Of Doves and God - Enabling the Fringes

It is 5:10 AM and someone has already managed to wind me up for the day.  My internet friend Utah Savage posted some U-Tube video about "Burn the Quran" day that will be held on the upcoming ninth anniversary of 9/11.  I don't blame her for me being wound up.  Hell, I bet she's wound up also. 

Seems Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida is inviting everyone to come by for a good ole book burning in a few days.  While this public display of religious stupidity is one thing, I wanted to know what rationale this man of the cloth was using to justify burning another religion's book of holy words.  Was it just to piss a billion Muslims off?  Or did he have a logical and convincing argument that might make me want to buy a plane ticket to Florida?

So I visited his web site.  Very slick, hip, it has all the spiffy gadgets.   The site does a wonderful job of focusing on all the current hotbed issues every Christian should be worrying about.  Homosexuality, Abortion,  and of course the Muslims.  According to what I left with, we take care of these three things and God will love us again.  I will have to say, unlike his cohort in arms, the gay bashing Rev. Phelps, at least the Rev Jones is not a one trick pony.  He is able to juggle three evils at one time.  Right on Rev!

I noticed in a sidebar some links to pages that offered up the logic for hating and defeating Islam.  Obviously, the Rev and his flock have not yet made it past the Old Testament.   The ten reasons lose their logic before the first one runs out.  And by reason # 9, I was laughing so hard I almost........well I found his reasoning a tad humorous.

Reason Number Nine (to burn the Quran)

"Deep in the Islamic teaching and culture is the irrational fear and loathing of the West."

Okay Rev. if any Muslim is hitting your website or listening to your radio show, maybe their fear is not so irrational.  Certainly no less irrational than your fear of them. 

And as if Ten reasons to burn the Quran was not enough, he has supplied us with an addendum of five more reasons to burn the Quran.  That makes 15 reasons to burn the Quran.  I tell you what, if he comes up with another 5 or 6, he might just convince me.

A deeply or at least honestly faithful internet buddy from Canada often reminds me that the lunatic fringe of the Christian side of things does not speak for all Christians.  Christ, I know that.  He knows I know that.  Yet, it seems the good Christians need to remind me they are made of more reasonable and tolerant stuff.   And I also know that the extremists of Islam do not speak for all Muslims.  Most are peace loving just want to get on with their lives in their own way type average joes. 

Yet all of them in both religions  put up with having their image sullied and smeared by losers from within their own folds.   They offer up weak and timid protests when one of their own steps across obvious sanity lines.  They look embarrassed, but do nothing to try to squelch or out shout their in house lunatics.  In current hip addiction circles, this would be considered a type of enabling. 

If either religion wants heathens like me to take them seriously or show them more respect, they need to step up and clean up their own mess.  Religion is the worst thing to fight over.  Yet it seems to be one of the most used and abused excuses we humans come up with time and time again.  Don't talk to me about how much Jesus loves us all.  Don't try to convince me Allah is great.  Not as long as you allow the violently prone fringes of your own religions to control your message.

And to Rev Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida - burning the Quran is about as stupid and useless a gesture as came down the pike.  That is of course unless your plan was to damage our efforts overseas.  Sir, you are a moron.  A dangerous moron.


jadedj said...

Hey, morans gotta live too you know. Is 15 minutes of fame too much to ask for pissing off 300 million people or so?

Personally I am a 20 reasons kind of guy, so whatshis case fell a little short for me.

On the serious side, I grew up in Jacksonville (a tad north of Gainesville), and I can tell you I am not at all surprised at this fool. They breed like flies there in North and West Florida.

muddleglum said...

Nut cases contain different kernels. Brazil or filbert, one gets rotten ones and good ones. I have reasons for thinking brazils are better than filberts, but that isn't based on disliking rotten kernels.

You got me curious. I think I'll mosey on over and see the sites.

Beach Bum said...

The best I can figure is what a former preacher told me once. I'll have to paraphrase but this is close. "Knowing in your mind that God loves you and those totally like you is enough justification to do anything. Even defy the basic tenets you say you believe in because people can always find exceptions to any rules."

This preacher quit after one of his followers killed a black man. He was one of my grandmother's favorites but after that he was not about to saying that might again get someone killed.

In the end I still believe he was one of the truest Christians I ever met.

muddleglum said...

Saw the sites, including your intelligent comment on the Utah Savage.

The guy is over my head. I keep saying I wish I wasn't practically a hermit, but, sometimes I dunno.

Do I miss anything by not being able to hear his preaching?

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Mike, you and I share the same thoughts on Terry Jones. There isn't a thing in your post I would disagree with, except for this, which I found interesting:

Not as long as you allow the violently prone fringes of your own religions to control your message.

C'mon, really. The media looks for kooks, finds them, and focusses on them. You know this, I know this, even the Revs. Phelps and Jones know this. If you truly believe that Christians "allow the violently prone fringes" to control the message, maybe the problem is that you are approaching the issue with emotive logic instead of just plain logic. The media, not Christendom, Mike, are controlling the message, and they're damn good at it - finding the weird, the stupid, the evil, and then taking a good dig at our emotions when they present these fools to the media-consuming masses.

The reason the good Christians need to remind you that they are indeed made of more reasonable and tolerant stuff is that you permit the media to pull your focus on these deranged loons and then use it as justification for your dislike of organized religion. The brush paints a little wide, if you will.

Anyway, hope I haven't pissed you off any with this. Have a great day.

Demeur said...

Gee Crum now what did they do in biblical times to a heretic? Was it stoning to death or burned at the stake, I've forgotten?

The Blog Fodder said...

I'm not going to read the site. If God truly hates the USA, it isn't for any of the reasons it will list.

Randal Graves said...

Good job, now each and every one of his fifty followers are going to be mad at you. Saladin himself couldn't conjure up a more vicious army.

PipeTobacco said...


I too feel similarly to the friend of yours in Canada. As a Roman Catholic (which some of Jones' ilk do not even feel *are* Christian), I also feel it is imperative to keep in mind that it is the extremist fringe (that exists in each and every religion or philosophy) that is pretty much obnoxious and hurtful and rude across the board... think of the following religions and philosophies and I am sure you can think of the lunatic fringe within them:

Jewish People
PETA Members


So, in my book, extremism... which almost inevitably leads to intolerance, hatred, and lack of care for other human beings is the REAL issue. From which religion or philosophy it comes from is only a minor flavor variation.


MRMacrum said...

jadedj - I spent 3 years in Florida as a youth. One of them in Tallahassee. North Florida is not the Florida the rest of the country identifies with, that's for sure.

muddlegum - Well I dunno if hearing him is anything to miss. I can only handle so much righteous indignation and then I have to leave.

Beach Bum - That's always been a problem when folks convince themselves, God is speaking to them in specifics rather than making general comments.

Truest Christian? The problem I see with blind faith is without the tempering that common sense brings, over the top faith can lead to black guys getting killed, books being burned, and boneheads wearing suicide vests blowing people up.

El Cerdo Ignatius - The media? Of course the media feeds the flames, and often starts the flames. But that does not absolve the everyday faithful from taking some of the message back by standing up to counter the extremists within their ranks. To be fair, I find more ambivalemnce among the Islamic culture than the Christian. But until the peaceful adherents of either religion stand up and say, "enough" to the whackos in their own religion, we will not see much improvement.

Demeur - Stoning would be cheap and damn convenient up our way. We grow rocks. I even have a pile next to the garage. And they are sorted for size.

Blog Fodder - You made me chuckle hard. Excellent.

Randal - Well I do try to lead with my chin quite often.

Pipe Tobacco - Certainly any activity has extremists. Any. But unless the organization itself does some policing and weeding or at tleast, exhibit some loud indignation, their image is more likely to be dragged down with the loony tunes who claim similar attitudes.

muddleglum said...

"their image is more likely to be dragged down"

I have to agree that, with some people, that is true, but I think that "fair-minded" people can and should realize that sanitizing the ranks of larger organizations is nearly impossible.

Heh-heh. And I think I see most of the comments here are trying to keep you from becoming an extremist.

BTW, I did post against the guy in my other blog, but I haven't figured out just how to fit him into my "pad" yet.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Mike, that's fair enough if that's your take, but you leave out the fact that the Qu'ran Burn planned for September 11th has been condemned by many, including many Christians and organizations in the public sphere, such as:

- President Obama
- Secretary Hillary Clinton
- The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper
- Many, many churches throughout the United States, even a large number in Florida, including some in the infamous area known as North Florida, which you and several of your commenters seem not to like so much
- The Vatican

General Petraeus framed his objections in national security terms, but you ought to have heard Stephen Harper speak out against it using purely Christian reasoning. Not that I expect Americans to know about anything Stephen Harper says, but you might actually have been impressed.

But he's only one, and I've listed otehrs. Really, what do you need? It's as if you've not heard about any of this, or you've heard about it and decided it's not enough, or - and sorry if this rankles - you've heard about it but it doesn't fit your long-held narrative about organized religion, so you ignore it.

The rank and file do not have access to the media that the clowns and extremists have, because their message doesn't sell much and doesn't stir much emotion. That's why I'm suggesting some perspective when you call for accountability from "peaceful adherents" to reign in the nutbars.

muddleglum said...

This is something that I will have to think over. That man was kick out of his own church in Germany not too long ago, and ... well, I'll let you read allll about it in Der Spiegel itself (in English),1518,716409,00.html

PipeTobacco said...


You state:

"But unless the organization itself does some policing and weeding or at tleast, exhibit some loud indignation, their image is more likely to be dragged down with the loony tunes who claim similar attitudes."

I agree fully with what you state in PRINCIPLE, but in PRACTICE as an individual it gets awfully damn hard much of the time. In my own instance, there are so many different groups (work, work-related, religious-related, government related, etc) that I ascribe to in one way or another with lunatic extremists... that the idea of trying to take a stand and form rebuttle of a few, let alone all of the extremists in things I care about.... too damn exhausting to contemplate. It would end up being my full-time avocation and then I likely would lack enough time to show the moderate, more gentle approach I feel is appropriate for most things.


Beach Bum said...

I agree, what I meant from my "Truest Christain" comment was that after he realized he had caused someone to be hurt he no longer preached. He was not a racist my any means, even back in the 70's, and it devestated the guy when he found out what happened.

I figure most of the preachers these days would shrug off the event.

MRMacrum said...

muddlegum - I often have to be lead back from the edge. Maybe it is my own tendency to favor black and white solutions that makes me realize that they very seldom resolve issues satisfactorily.

El Cerdo Ignatius - As you say, the response across party and religious lines among the sane have been united in their displeasure over this. That is a good thing.

But then the response has also been grabbed by some boneheads to be used to further their agendas. John Boehner, the idiot son of the 8th District of Ohio has managed to compare this proposed book burning to the cultural center in NYC.

It is heartening to see such across the board condemnation.

An interesting sidebar to all this - The good Rev was ousted last year from the church he founded back in the 1980s in Cologne Germany. Apparently the guy is not even close to the edge anymore, he has gone over it. Check out this story - Some back story on the whacko Rev

Actually it was Petraus's comments that got me started on this. Having one incident create a mostly unified response does not negate the many years of tolerating the garbage that has helped to spread hate and discontent. I would like to see a trend. Maybe this is the beginning of one.

muddlegum - you beat me to the story of the church in Cologne.

Pipe Tobacco - I am referring to organizational responses, not necessarily individual ones. But it takes the individuals of an organization to start it within their ranks and keep pressure on their leadership until their mouthpieces begin to actually take stands that may cause controversey but are the right thing to do.

My view is that we have become sheep who follow instead of sheep who lead. Ambivalence is our worst enemy, not Islamic Terror.

Beach Bum - I would have to agree. His response would be more out of character today than back then.

MRMacrum said...

An Addendum - It seems another Pastor from Tennessee
has been inspired by the Rev Terry Jones to host his own book burning on 9/11. I would jump all over this as a sign of things really getting out of hand but for one thing.

The very responses I have been hoping for are happening. Instead of saying "I told you so" I have to admit that the almost universal condemantion coming from the Christian Community in that part of Tennessee is music to my ears.

Alright folks. Way to go. Excellent. Finally a fire has been kindled. Keep it burning.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Mike, putting aside our differences of perspective on this, I am now ruminating a bit on your final paragraph:

And to Rev Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida - burning the Quran is about as stupid and useless a gesture as came down the pike. That is of course unless your plan was to damage our efforts overseas. Sir, you are a moron. A dangerous moron.

As I think more and more about it, I believe you may be on to something. At this point, one might be within reason to conclude that a confrontation or conflagration between Christians and Muslims is exactly what Terry Jones wants. He seems to have something of an apocolyptic view of the world, viewing things in black and white, good vs. evil terms. And he seems to be thriving on all this publicity. Maybe, therefore, stirring up a lot of shit is right out of his playbook. Jones perhaps sees himself as an spiritually-inspired provocateur.

Either that, or he's vying for his own reality TV show.

I'm pretty sure he didn't count on all this publicity, but nevertheless I've come to believe that a major provocation is exactly what he intended. Arsewipe.