Acts 17 Apologetics has posted a provocative U-Tube video in which David Wood welcomes listeners to what he dubs “SHARIAmerica.” In it, Wood offers compelling reason why our government’s official position regarding the “Holy” Qur’an exemplifies religious duplicity. The postmodern term for “double standard” is “political correctness.” It entails unfair application of a principle, rule, or expectation to different groups—only one of which is condemned for the slightest offense. The other is treated far more leniently.
One would expect that, if a double standard were applied in “the land of the free,” it would favor Bible principles. Indeed, in 1892 the U.S. Supreme Court established that “our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon the teachings of the Redeemer of Mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent, our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”
Even so, freedom of religion allows free exercise of the Christian faith while, at the same time, it gives place to those of differing persuasions. In his 1791 autobiography, Benjamin Franklin "did not disapprove" of a Pennsylvania meeting place designed to accommodate preachers of all religions. "Even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us,” Franklin added, “he would find a pulpit at his service."
Put another way: “Tolerant ‘R US,” and stats prove it. While the population of the United States exceeds 300 million, only three percent are Muslim; all the same, in addition to Islamic day- and weekend- schools, there are some two thousand mosques scattered across our nation.
At taxpayer expense, the University of Michigan, Dearborn and the Indianapolis International Airport even provide footbaths for ritualistic Muslim washing! While Christian students are denied a moment of silent prayer in state schools and athletic fields, Muslim counterparts at Carver Elementary School, San Diego are granted fifteen-minute prayer breaks each afternoon. Double standard? You bet.
Will the Real Voice of Tolerance Please Stand Up?
“No compulsion in religion” is a Quranic principle; nonetheless, a co-founder and Board Chair of the Council on American Islamic Relations, Omar Ahma, believes that the Qur’an—not the U.S. Constitution—should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth.
Of the seventy percent of the world’s population who live in countries that restrict religious liberty, most are Muslim-majority countries (plus China and North Korea). In publicly praising Islam for its “proud tradition of tolerance,” President Obama seemingly ignores the plight of Christians who pay a tragically high price for professing their Christian faith in those nations.
Just ask former Muslim terrorist-turned-Christian, Walid Shoebat. He and his ilk are by no means alone in risking life and limb to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Focused on reaching Muslims for Christ, a notable Arab-American evangelist, Father Zakaria Botros, daily faces threat of assassination. The same holds true for the Son of Hamas author Mosab Yousef. In chronicling his conversion to Christ, Yousef has, in effect, “declared war on Islam”; and some Muslim fundamentalists, also in the U.S., believe that he must be killed for it.
According to the Center for International Policy (CIP), Brigette Gabriel "has made a post-9/11 career out of roundly denouncing Islam, decrying 'political correctness,' and promoting the concept of an existential clash of cultures.” The CIP also states that, "Her pro-Israel, anti-Islam spiel, coupled with her compelling personal history, has made her a popular speaker, writer, and general 'expert.' She appears sometimes as a commentator on television news and radio programs, often speaking out for the rights of Muslim women."
For sharing her “compelling personal history,” Gabriel faces threat of reprisal. Hence, when speaking at the Universities of Memphis and North Carolina at Chapel Hill and elsewhere, she requires police protection—and not because of some phantom fear. Iranian Gilda Ghanipour knows all about it. Following her conversion to Christianity, Ghanipour sought asylum and later won amnesty in America; but before she received the good news, she went missing.
While Islamists pronounce death sentences on Muslims who convert to Christianity, American converts to Islam generally face no such threat. In 1968, for example, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joined the Nation of Islam before retaking the Shahada and converting to Sunni Islam that summer. Today, he’s a best-selling author and well-respected spokesperson for cancer cures. Even post-9/11, when he formally joined the Nation of Islam (2003), Michael Jackson maintained his undisputed status as “King of Pop.”
Preferential Freedom from Offense
Based in California, the Council on Islamic Education guides publishers in how to represent Islam favorably in public school textbooks. Tinsel-Town executives follow similar protocol. Over the last thirty years, Hollywood has relentlessly vilified pious Christians. More likely than not, portrayals of preachers and priests are uncomplimentary, if not outright slanderous.
Whereas libel against Christians stands virtually unchallenged, Iran demanded apology from Hollywood last year for its unflattering portrayal of “The Ayatollah” in the award-winning film, The Wrestler. In fact, every year, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) introduces a resolution to condemn “gratuitously offensive attacks” on Islam.
Anti-defamation policies ignore non-Muslims whom the Qur’an fingers as “the worst of creatures” all the while they indulge Muslims, whom the Qur’an exalts as “the best of people ever raised up.” Though not legally binding, these resolutions nonetheless set precedence for global treaties with teeth.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” [link to regarding sticks and stones]
Most agree that civility is a good thing, but then Islamic law actually forbids an infidel to offend a Muslim. In the eyes of Allah—whether an American, or not—one is denied liberty to disagree with the Prophet. Doing so is “a blasphemous affront” (shirk).
Even if slander against a Muslim represents the truth, an infidel may not point it out. To Islamists, lying is preferred. One of Islam’s most distinguished theologians Al-Ghazzali (1058-1111) wrote: “Know that a lie is not wrong in itself. If a lie is the only way of obtaining a good result, it is permissible. We must lie when truth leads to unpleasant results.”
In contrast, grown-ups in free society understand that being offended in the public arena is an inevitable price of free choice in matters of faith and morality. Fact is, Christians are well acquainted with the plethora of plaques, bumper stickers, slogans, and lyrics that daily offend.
Under a specious “wall of separation” principle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State repeatedly denigrate doctrines and symbols held sacred to countless Christian Americans expected to “eat it.” Yet, while sidestepping reference to Christians (or any other religionists, for that matter), our President commits to “fighting negative stereotypes against Islam wherever they appear.”
Governmental Policy in “SHARIAmerica”
Clearly, President Obama is a friend of Islam. He’s gone so far as to host a summit in Washington for entrepreneur Muslims, but no comparable summit features Christian or Hindu entrepreneurs. In further deference to Islam, the President even appointed a new diplomatic position. While the U.S. never before has had an official representative to one religion, both Presidents Bush and Obama sent envoys to the OIC; and both celebrated Ramadan at the White House.
In response to the question, “Can’t we all just get along?” administration officials have erased from the national security policy lexicon phrases like “Islamic extremism” and “jihad.” One former FBI agent claims that to speak up about the Islamist threat is to be pushed out of the agency. Not only the bad guys, but also the whistle blowers are likely to be targeted for internal investigation.
To Islamists, one who turns pages of the Qur’an with licked fingers is an apostate—guilty of renouncing Islam, an offense punishable by Islamic law. Accordingly, a Department of Defense memo issued at Gitmo purportedly requires non-Muslim troops to hold the “Holy” Qur’an with two hands in a “manner signaling respect and reverence.” In full view of detainees, the handler must first don clean gloves. When manipulating any part of the Qur’an, he must favor the right hand (not the left hand used for toileting). In fact, a handler (Muslim or not) is commanded to treat the “Holy” Qur’an as “a fragile piece of delicate art.”
The story’s different with respect to law abiding, non-Muslim Americans. At last summer’s 15th annual Arab International Festival, Detroit police arrested three men and one woman representing the group, Acts 17 Apologetics, and charged them with “breach of peace” for what amounted to “holding a camera.” Mind you, none handed out divisive literature, nor did they argue with festival attendees; yet all were manhandled and handcuffed—apparently for their mere presence, which in itself was viewed as “offensive.”
Although Supreme Court decisions have prompted numerous attempts to pass a constitutional amendment to the contrary, many Americans accept that burning the American flag is a rightful expression of free speech. So far, the proposed amendment has fallen short of the necessary two-thirds support in the Senate.
But the verdict’s in respecting book burning—holy books, to be specific. In the wake of the Gainsville Qur’an-burning incident, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton characterized the Reverend Terry Jones’ actions as “disrespectful” and “disgraceful.” General David Petraeus found them “hateful” and “intolerant,” and many more concur that Jones’ actions were shortsighted and unnecessary. President Obama agrees.
That said, America’s official stance is this: Flag burning, okay; book burning, no way. But here’s the caveat: An U.S. military spokesman told CNN that, in a devoutly Muslim country, distributing donated Bibles translated into two Afghan languages could cause a violent backlash against Americans. In war zones, he added, U.S. troops are ordered to burn their trash. It’s military policy; therefore, the U.S. government burned the Bibles as—get this—trash. Yes, trash.
With tongue-in-cheek, David Wood reasons: We don’t burn the Holy Qur’an because offended Muslims might go on a killing spree, but then we do burn Holy Bibles. Why? Because offended Muslims might go on a killing spree.
So much for “Islam’s proud tradition of tolerance”—and its claiming to be a religion of peace. For the U.S. government to favor the “Holy” Qur’an with a privileged status over all other books—most specifically, the Holy Bible—signals, yet again, that the Doctrine of Political Correctness trumps the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Better to Make Love, Not War
Unfortunately, the administration’s conciliatory approach to Islam is met consistently with actual or thwarted terrorist attacks tied to Islamic elements—e.g., attempts to detonate car- and underwear- bombs, as the case may be, in Times Square, Dallas, and Detroit. Add to these the Fort Hood massacre, and it’s anybody’s guess how radicals will retaliate in the wake of Osama Bin Laden’s recent demise.
It may well be better to “make love, not war.” But, as the saying goes, “true love is like a pair of socks; ya’ gotta’ have two, and they gotta’ match.” That is to say, alliances are destined to fail when one side is treated with duplicity while the other is condemned for the slightest offense. Disingenuous appeasement to placate the ire of another can’t be a good thing, nor are compulsion, privileges, and freedom from offense and negative stereotypes, when applied one-sidedly. These do not a love match make.
The Emperor’s Naked!
I’m reminded of a story by Hans Christian Andersen in which an Emperor commissions two tailors to make him new clothes meant to be invisible to incompetent or stupid folk. In response, the wily swindlers present their Emperor with imaginary clothes. Fearful of being judged incompetent or stupid, the Emperor feigns delight and, then, “wears” his new garments in a grand parade. Similarly fearful, the cheering throng follow suit until, that is, a wide-eyed child proclaims with candor that the Emperor, in fact, is naked!
Too many well-intentioned Americans, even Christians, join the PC throng openly celebrating the Emperor’s “new clothes.” For fear of appearing Islamophobic, intolerant, even hateful, none dare expose pretense. Those who discern, and then expose, blatant religious duplicity face certain judgment. Beyond incompetent, or stupid, whistle blowers are tagged hateful, narrow-minded bigots who, for the sake of “getting along,” must be mocked, then silenced.
Bottom line: Postmodern civility can’t cut the mustard. It takes a guileless child to speak truth in love.
1. Shariamerica: Islam, Obama, and the Establishment Clause.2. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.3. Omar Khalidi. "Mosque." Contemporary American Religion (New York: Macmillan, 2000).4. Public College to install special sinks to Muslim students5. Mindy Belz. “A ‘Global Crisis’: Religious Liberty is What’s at Stake in the Muslim World, and Beyond.” World (26 March 2011): 40.6. Priya Abraham. “Brothers to the End.” World (15 July 2006): 17-187. Bridgette Gabriel. “Muslims Muzzling Memphis.” 13 April 2006): 1-3. 8. Asylum seeker realized her dream but now is missing, LA Times.9. Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History (1 ed.). (Facts On File, Inc., June 2010): ISBN 978-1-4381-3040-8.10. Hollywood film The Wrestler 'insults Iran'11. 11. Surah 3:11012. Watch(wo)man13. Barak Obama Quotes14. Emily Belz. “The Special Religion.” World (5 June 2010): 46-48.15. Ibid.: 48.16. How to Handle the Koran; Official D.O.D. Guidelines. (No Similar Rules for Christian Bible)17. Emily Belz. “Smelting Pot.” World (17 July 2010): 44-46.18. The First Amendment prohibits making any law “respecting an establishment of religion” or impeding its free exercise, freedom of speech/press, right to peaceable assembly and to petition for redress of grievances.19. The Emperor's New Clothes.20. Quotes
21. Isaiah 11:6
21. Isaiah 11:6