Anti-Muslim sentiment swelling on American right

In his This Week in God feature, Steve Benen, who blogs for The Washington Monthly notes that the right wing of the Republican party is stepping up its anti-Muslim activities:

First up from the God Machine this week is the deeply offensive, increasingly-ugly conservative crusade against Muslims, which was initially limited to opposing the construction Islamic community centers and mosques, but it's metastasizing quickly.

On September 11, 2010, the extremist evangelical Dove World Church -- whose pastor, Terry Jones, has written a book called "Islam Is Of The Devil" -- plans to host "International Burn A Quran Day," when it will burn Muslims' sacred text and encourage others across the world to do so as well. Churchmember Wayne Sapp has even posted an instructional video that explains how and why to burn the Islamic text.

CNN host Rick Sanchez invited Jones on his show [Thursday] to ask him about the inflammatory action.... Jones later went on to explain, "What we are also doing by the burning of the Quran, we're saying stop, stop to Islam, stop to Islamic law, stop to brutality. We have nothing against Muslims, they are welcome in our country." When Sanchez asked him how he would feel if Muslims burned the Bible, Jones admitted he wouldn't like it but emphasized that it was his "right" to burn the Islamic text because "we live in America."

So, the anti-Muslim, Quran-burning preacher wants us to believe he has "nothing against Muslims." Why would anyone doubt that?

And then there is this:

California Tea Party activist Diane Serafin organized a protest at a Riverside County-area mosque this week, and urged Christians to bring dogs to the demonstration because "they hate dogs." The point of the protest was to denounce the construction of a new mosque, which Serafin perceives as part of an effort to "take over our country." She told Evan McMorris-Santoro, "I want you to stress this -- I'm not prejudiced. I worked retail for nine years and I didn't even know my manager was gay until someone told me. And when I found out, I didn't care." I guess that settles it, then.
Comments (7)

Jones may have a legal "right" to burn the Quran under the constitutional protection of free expression guaranteed in the United States of America, but in doing so he is placing himself in direct opposition to the behavior that Jesus Christ commanded for his followers:
"Treat others the way you want them to treat you" (Matthew 7:12).

There are other ways for Christians to counter Islam -- living out the nonviolent, charitable and self-denying gospel ethic of Jesus Christ to such a degree that it surprises, intrigues and attracts others is at the top of the list. Intelligent, courteous dialogue with those outside the church follows: "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:5-6).

What Jones and his ilk are doing isn't Christianity. It's bullying, incitement and provocation under a thin veneer of religion for the sake of self-justification.

Gregory Orloff

I can't help but wonder if the Christian right, having increasingly lost its "battle against homosexuality" in the public square, is simply seeking another scapegoat.

One hopes that amidst all the rhetoric our fundamental laws are respected. No one can keep fanatics from burning Qur'ans. No one can prevent Muslims from building mosques and worshipping how and where they please.

As "anti-Muslim" actions, these are of course rather massively incompetent. Most Americans are probably a bit queasy about Islam, but more, I suspect, will abhor burning anyone's sacred book. As a rather moderate Democrat, myself, I will take the optimistic view that, first, the silly Republicans will make Muslims unwelcome in their party, and their subsequent allegience to the Democratic Pary, combined with their somewhat traditional social mores, will act as a small spur to keep the Democratic Party more centrist.

I think the demagogues will only hurt themselves.

The trouble with news accounts like this is one is liable to not to recognize that the same thinking goes on in a wide spectrum of the Anglican Communion (e.g. Anglican Mainstream, Stand Firm types still in TEC - just follow their stream of postings on the threat of Islam) and those who claim to be in the communion (e.g. CANA). It continues

One aspect of the problem, is that fundamentalist Christians and the politically strident, tend to project unto Muslims their own inability to relate to average folks.

I am at a loss to see much difference between fundamentalist Muslims and fundamentalist Christians of the ilk that clothe their hatreds and fears with Scripture.

What we here in much of the Tea Party talk about bearing arms, vigilante defense of the borders and secession is just the incubation of extremist justifications for violence that the Al Queda Muslims use to back up their own actions.

"Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen."

"Where they burn books, they will ultimately also burn people."

Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
Poet, essayist, journalist and literary critic

These words are engraved on the ground at the Opernplatz in Berlin, Germany, the site of the Nazis' massive inaugural book-burning in 1933.

"Never forget." Heine's prescience can come true anywhere where people give way to their inner demons, ignore their better angels and reject their common humanity.

Gregory Orloff

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