May 19, 2005

HOT WAX (via The Mother Judd):

Why Islam is disrespected (Jeff Jacoby, May 19, 2005, Boston Globe)

IT WAS front-page news this week when Newsweek retracted a report claiming that a US interrogator in Guantanamo had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet. Everywhere it was noted that Newsweek's story had sparked widespread Muslim rioting, in which at least 17 people were killed. But there was no mention of deadly protests triggered in recent years by comparable acts of desecration against other religions.

No one recalled, for example, that American Catholics lashed out in violent rampages in 1989, after photographer Andres Serrano's ''Piss Christ" -- a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine -- was included in an exhibition subsidized by the National Endowment for the Arts. Or that they rioted in 1992 when singer Sinead O'Connor, appearing on ''Saturday Night Live," ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II.

There was no reminder that Jewish communities erupted in lethal violence in 2000, after Arabs demolished Joseph's Tomb, torching the ancient shrine and murdering a young rabbi who tried to save a Torah. And nobody noted that Buddhists went on a killing spree in 2001 in response to the destruction of two priceless, 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Of course, there was a good reason all these bloody protests went unremembered in the coverage of the Newsweek affair: They never occurred.

Christians, Jews, and Buddhists don't lash out in homicidal rage when their religion is insulted. They don't call for holy war and riot in the streets. It would be unthinkable for a mainstream priest, rabbi, or lama to demand that a blasphemer be slain.


Which is one reason why there will be imams long after all the rabbis and lamas are gone.

When Judaism was a rising religion it dealt with disrespect for the word of God as follows:

1: And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

2: And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.

3: And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.

4: And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

5: And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.

6: And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

7: And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:

8: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

9: And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:

10: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

11: And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?

12: Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.

13: Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.

14: And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

15: And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.

16: And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.

17: And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.

18: And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

19: And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.

20: And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.

21: And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?

22: And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.

23: For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

24: And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.

25: And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)

26: Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

27: And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.

28: And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 19, 2005 9:46 AM
Comments

Thou shalt not editorialize on this topic without a reference to "Piss Christ."

Posted by: at May 19, 2005 9:52 AM

Of all the truly mind-numbingly stupid things you've said OJ, you really won the brass ring this time.

The US has no history of religious warfare and butchery yet we are by far the most religious nation in the industrialized world. Religion is rooted here in the hearts of believers allowed to express their beliefs without state compulsion and without reward. Islam, because it is little more than a gloss over organized savagery of the most bestial sort, will go the way of the Aztecs in due course.

Posted by: bart at May 19, 2005 10:14 AM

All of our wars have invoked God and have been basically religious in nature. That's just one way in which we differ from those others.

I'll give you Europe and Israel and I'll take Islam and we'll compare in a hundred years.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 10:26 AM

European anti-religious sentiment is directly the result of centuries of religious conflict. They simply decided it wasn't worth fighting over and that its elimination will contribute to world peace. I don't recall mentioning Europe, but instead mentioned America, in which the absence of religious war and the absence of a state church have combined to enhance, rather than frustrate or weaken, religions of all kinds.

Calling any of our wars 'religious' requires a do-it-yourself dictionary. Leaders invoke religion in wartime as they do mom, apple pie, baseball and the girl back home.

Posted by: bart at May 19, 2005 10:31 AM

Europeans don't. That's why they're toast.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 10:34 AM

War of 1812, American Civil War, Spanish-American War, Korean War.

All religious?

As if.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at May 19, 2005 12:06 PM

Jeff:

Ever read any history? The Civil War was nothing but religious. The struggle against godless communism too. And the Spanish-American was about our duty to Christianize the savages. 1812 was just a family quarrel.


Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;
“As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal”;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
[originally …let us die to make men free]
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 12:12 PM

Just because somthing invokes religion doesn't make it religious.

Posted by: Governor Breck at May 19, 2005 12:33 PM

The last thing we need to do is try to talk him down from this. You're right, oj: the defense and revitalization of Christianity demand that you find yourself some heathenous idolaters, or even better some Mahometans, and do a Levi on their @$$. The best places to look for the Turk are, of course, not accessible to you in view of the time zone rule, but if memory serves you may be able to find him in Quincy. Go get 'em, wild man, we're all right behind you.

Posted by: joe shropshire at May 19, 2005 12:51 PM

I forgot to add: Glory Hallelujah!

Posted by: joe shropshire at May 19, 2005 12:56 PM

The Turks are on our side.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 1:06 PM

Gov:

Abolition was an entirely religious movement.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 1:07 PM

You know what I mean.

Posted by: joe shropshire at May 19, 2005 1:07 PM

joe:

No. Monotheists aren't heathens. The rest are fair game.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 1:20 PM

Just take a trip to your local library or even an art museum in your time zone, OJ, and you'll find something insulting to Christianity or Judiaism to start a riot over. You'll be a riot of one and you'll end up in jail, but you'll be true to your word.

Posted by: NKR at May 19, 2005 1:30 PM

NKR:

Yes, that's why they're there.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 1:39 PM

The Battle Hymm of the Republic is pretty much a direct paraphrase of the key parts of the Book of Revelation.

- The last trumpet (11:15) announcing the end of the kingdoms of men on earth.

- The sharp and terrible double-edged sword of Jesus when he returns (2:12, 2:16, 19:15, 19:21). He slays the Anti-christ's army by the sword of his mouth.

- The grapes of God's wrath and the trampling of sinners in the winepress of God (14:18-20).

- The judgment seat where the dead are judged for their sins (Rev 20:11).

It is a pre-emptive attack by God himself; the remnant of God's faithful stand goggle-eyed (think LOTR) and watch dumbfoundedly.

"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath." (19:11-15, 16:18, 14:18-19)

Posted by: Gideon at May 19, 2005 1:41 PM

Orrin: WTF? Do you actually think the Muslims view that the Koran is the Supreme Text and the only true repository of wisdom is a sign of health and vitality? Their view of the Koran is te central problem with the region and a bad thing in theory and practice. Not only has it led to the burning of the Alexandrian Library, the impoverishment and slavery of millions, a culture trapped in the 11th Century that has produced no technological advances, literary masterpieces and translated only a handful of texts into Arabic, it has also led to the current riots over the Newsweek story. By respecting that impulse you are respecting that which has refused freedom and life to hundreds of millions. It is that very attitude that has made the War on Terror necessary. Here's a thought, why don't you head over to the Middle East and hang with the healthy Muslims?

Posted by: Pepys at May 19, 2005 1:49 PM

Maybe a mature faith rests on sublime confidence in God regardless of circumstances. That would seem to obviate any need for riots as a response to desecration of sacred texts or images.

JP

Posted by: jefferson park at May 19, 2005 2:05 PM

http://www.jihadwatch.org/

Read and weep

Posted by: BJW at May 19, 2005 2:16 PM

I guess my point was that Orrin missed the point of the Newsweek episode. The Muslims that are rioting in response to the desecration of a Koran are the idolators. They have raised the idea of the Koran as Supreme Text to a level above God himself and made of it a golden calf. How else do you explain their still being trapped in the 11th Century and actually having regressed from the height of their civilization?

Posted by: Pepys at May 19, 2005 2:40 PM

Mercy triumphs over judgment.

That is why Islam will not prevail. Blind conformity does not stand a chance against a new creation. The imams and wailers in the mosques scream not because they are offended, but because they are afraid.

I also note that the point of the story about the golden calf is not so much disrespect towards the Word of God, but the inexorable propensity of mankind to break the 1st and 2nd commandments. Remember, this episode happened only a few weeks after the crossing of the Red Sea.

I don't know enough about the Koran to comment, but if Jews or Christians rioted and killed because their 'scriptures' had been desecrated, then they would be guilty of breaking commandments 2, 3, and 6 (at least).

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 19, 2005 2:57 PM

Pepys, the Alexandrian Library was burned by Christian monks.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 19, 2005 3:00 PM

Which is one reason why there will be imams long after all the rabbis and lamas are gone.

There will still be imams in a hundred years, but far fewer.
As you noted about India and the chicken-gut reader, the future of the world is not Islamic.

I'll give you Europe and Israel and I'll take Islam and we'll compare in a hundred years.

Done !!
Because I'm a nice guy, I'll even let you double whatever you've got in a hundred years, before we compare.

jim hamlen:

That is why Islam will not prevail. Blind conformity does not stand a chance against a new creation. The imams and wailers in the mosques scream not because they are offended, but because they are afraid.

IMO, exactly so.

Pepys:

"WTF" - is that "Want That with Fries" ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at May 19, 2005 3:27 PM

I wrote without thinking. After looking around a little I agree that Caliph Omar did not burn the Alexandrian Library. Apparently, one half was burnt by Caesar to prevent his navy falling into the hands of the Eqyptians. However, I don't know about the Christian burning. Any articles, etc.

Regardless, my point still stands.

Posted by: Pepys at May 19, 2005 3:36 PM

Pepys:

No, I don't share their view of the Quran, but I admire them for defending and note that their view of it has nothing to do with current problems of Islam.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 3:59 PM

jim:

Christians aren't commanded to keep their holy books sacrosanct. We mass murder over other religious issues.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 4:13 PM

Pepys:

Their false belief that the ummah can be perfected by humans.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 4:16 PM

jefferson:

Except that the West has become progressively less decent as it has become less willing to defend its own religious precepts.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 4:21 PM

Pepys, start with 'The Great Library,' but read it with caution. Gibbon is good, too.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 19, 2005 9:28 PM

That book may be 'The Lost Library.' I'm at work and cannot check my copy at home.

Amazon and B&N are no help, either.

Also excellent is 'Hypatia of Alexandria' by Maria Dzielska.

Orrin has funny ideas of decency. Ripping lady mathematicians to pieces in the streets in the name of Christianity is a standard of decency we can very well live without.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 19, 2005 9:41 PM

the mathematicians can have a pass, but you've gotta burn the witches.

Posted by: oj at May 19, 2005 10:39 PM

The Alexandrian Library was burned during Caesars war in Egypt. The accusations against Christians and Muslims are both false I believe. The only hard evidence we have points to Caesar. Although both accusations that Christians or Muslims burned the Library are fairly well known, they may not be true. For a comparison of the three accounts, I recommend:

http://www.bede.org.uk/library.htm

While the site seems to be Christian apologist in general, he supports his arguments by use of primary sources.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at May 20, 2005 4:23 PM

Cannot be, Chris. The Library (and the Serapeum) were still functioning centuries after Caesar was dead.

It was Christian monks that destroyed it. And murdered the librarians.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at May 22, 2005 4:48 PM
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