Thursday, October 11, 2012

Count me out!

I'm writing this post on Wedesday, though it won't post until Thursday.

My local paper reports that Terry Jones is back in Dearborn, Michigan today. Jones is the Gainesville, Florida, Quran-burning pastor who last year tried to demonstrate outside the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn and was forbidden to do so because of public safety concerns. Of course he sued the city, and today he’s back protesting outside a local high school. (Coincidentally, the high school in question happens to share a property line with the LDS chapel in Dearborn.)

To their credit, Dearborn officials are doing all they can to allow Jones to speak and to protect the peace while he does so. They cite his constitutional right to free speech. And they’re right.

And he’s wrong. Everything I've read about him (and by him) fans the flames of anger and hostility against Muslims.

According to the linked article, Dearborn, Michigan, has the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States. As a result, there have been multiple incidents like Jones’ flame-fanning.

Christian missionaries tried to convert Muslims at the annual Arab International Festival last June.

The Christian group Bible Believers brought a pig’s head and anti-Islam signs to the same festival.

Local reaction has included rallies against the notorious film “Innocence of Muslims,” where some have called for limits to free speech, suggesting that hate speech should not be protected.

For its part the ACLU has weighed in: Arab-American Muslim Rana Elmir is the spokeswoman for the ACLU’s Michigan branch. She understands the concerns Muslims feel about attacks on their faith, but, she says, “As reprehensible as Rev. Jones and the Christian activists’ speech may be, the government cannot silence them…even if there have been violent reactions in the past or in other places. We cannot uphold the rights of one group and ignore the rights of others.”

Right she is.

But I think about the actions of these so-called Christian activists against the Christlike qualities Elder Hales discussed last weekend in his conference talk:

Christian love -- “kind and compassionate to all…”

Christian faith – “faithful and obedient to commandments…”

Christian sacrifice – “time, energy, and…Himself…”

Christian caring – “rescue, love, nurture…regardless of their culture, creed, or circumstances”

Christian service – “serving others – lifting up the weary and strengthening the weak”

Christian patience – “…waited upon His Father…waits upon us…”

Christian peace – “urged understanding and promoted peace”

Christian forgiveness – “bless those that curse us”

Christian conversion – “Jesus Christ is the ‘the light and the Redeemer of the world’”

Christian endurance to the end – “continued in righteousness, goodness, mercy, and truth”

Against that standard, please count me among the Christians Elder Hales describes, not the ones Pastor Jones and Bible Believers represent.

A note on comments -- normally I don't monitor comments, but I will for this post, just because I don't know who might chime in and how. I hope your comments will lean toward the attributes Elder Hales describes. If they don't (and I get to be judge; it's my blog, after all) I reserve the right not to post them.
Also this: Check out my latest post at Real Intent, "Celebrating Repentance," here.


2 comments:

  1. I agree. There is a big difference between what you have a legal right to do and what is moral. Though Jones has a legal right to speak, he is dead wrong to say what he says. Yes, Islam does have a small immoral and hateful fringe, but so does Christianity, and Jones is one of its premier representatives.

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