SOUDER: Sept. 17, 2010: It’s Still a Mad, Mad, Mad World

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By Chuck Souder

A preacher came across a small group of boys who had circled around a small dog and were talking among themselves. “What are you boys…”

We interrupt this regularly-scheduled column to bring you an update from the mad, mad, mad world of political correctness.

Though I generally enjoy being proven accurate in my opinions, I must admit that even I was surprised at the speed that one of my observations from my last column was proven correct.

Astute readers will remember that in my previous column I had remarked about how strange it was that those who were crying “freedom of religion” as a defense in the case of the so-called Ground Zero mosque were the very ones that generally opposed religious freedom in other matters. I stated (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) that I would be looking forward to their support when the next religious freedom issue came up.

No sooner had that issue of the newspaper hit the presses when news broke of the minister in Florida who was threatening to burn a copy of the Koran to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks.

Of course, I assumed that all of the newly minted defenders of religious liberty would rush to this misguided minister’s defense, proclaiming (as they had with the mosque) that he had the same rights of freedom of speech and religion as anyone else in the country.

Instead, everyone from the President on down publicly condemned the minister and demanded that he cease and desist immediately so as not offend anyone or cause peace-loving Muslims to riot in the streets and kill any American they encountered.

Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I did not support the minister’s plan. Even though he had the Constitutional “right” to do so, I do not think he should have burned the Koran.

But, like the Ground Zero mosque controversy, this was not an issue of could he do it, but should he do it.

Prudence, not to mention the Biblical teaching to “speak the truth in love” and to respond to unbelievers with “gentleness and respect”, dictated that publicly burning a Koran was not the greatest idea.  

Now 9/11 has come and gone and the minister has recanted his plans, but I am struck by the irony that was so obvious to me but seemed to be lost on most of the national media. Why is it that those who rushed to the defense of the people who wish to build the Islamic center near Ground Zero immediately rushed to publicly condemn the pastor in Florida?

You can draw your own conclusions, but the evidence leads me to believe that maybe “freedom of religion” is not the motivating factor in either case.

Maybe, as was stated by some, the reason for decrying the pastor’s proposed bonfire was to protect our troops overseas.

Now, I have the highest respect for those who have fought and are fighting to defend our freedom and would never knowingly do anything that would bring harm to any one of them.

However, I’ve noticed that no matter what we do, the bad guys still want to kill us. And if someone’s goal in life is to murder all of us, I’m not sure they can get any madder at us than they already are.

Certainly, the Islamists would have used the event as a rallying cry, but, as evidenced by the Danish cartoon uproar a few years ago, it doesn’t really take all that much to set these “peace-loving” folks off.

To me it seems that whatever we do (or don’t do), they pretty much use it as a reason to try to kill us.

More evidence of this comes directly from Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Ground Zero Mosque Imam.

In a recent interview on CNN, he stated that if we don’t build the mosque at the proposed site, it will be evidence that the “radicals” in America have taken over and that Islam is under attack, and the ensuing response from our enemies will be much worse than that following the Danish cartoon.

Though the Imam continually states that the purpose of the mosque is to facilitate good-will between Muslims and non-Muslims, in the face of the overwhelming opposition to the location of the mosque, his comments to CNN sounded a lot like, “We will build it here…or else!”

And that may be the answer to the ironic dilemma I posed earlier.

Perhaps fear is a motivating factor in determining which religious freedoms are deemed worthy of protection and which are not.

For example, consider this hypothetical experiment: Take three books – the Bible, the Torah, and the Koran – and burn them all publicly on television.

What would the response be? Adherents of the religion that is full of supposed “right-wing, intolerant haters” – that is, Christianity – will complain but, in all likelihood, will do nothing.

The same is true of the followers of Judaism.

The proponents of the “religion of peace” – that is, Islam ­– will riot and kill.

I do not claim to know the hearts or minds of every Muslim in the world, but until there is a resounding condemnation of terrorist acts from among them I am forced to assume they are willing accomplices.

Is that unfair? Perhaps. Is it politically incorrect? Absolutely.

But does it make sense when trying to sort out this mad, mad, mad world? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

I stated earlier that I enjoy being proved right. However, for the sake of our nation (and the whole world), I hope this is one observation that is proven incorrect.


Chuck Souder is on staff at Shelby Christian Church. He can be reached at csouder@shelbychristian.org.