Sunday, January 11, 2015

TERRORIST THEOLOGY



Christians, and particularly those of the Roman Catholic tradition, are frequently the object of ridicule. The hatred with which followers of Jesus Christ are regarded by some non believers fuels taunting, insults, confrontation and sometimes even sacrilege.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights publishes annual reports describing the many, many malicious attacks made upon Christianity in the United States. Books, plays, television shows, art exhibits and public demonstrations mocking Christian churches, beliefs and tradition are commonplace.

Unhappily, these insults are frequently applauded by icons in entertainment and the mainstream media.

Here’s an example from 2013:

New York, NY – At the New York Film Critics Circle Award, Michael Moore presented the Best First Film to David France for his documentary celebrating gay activism, “How to Survive a Plague.” In particular, the documentary honored the day when homosexual terrorists from ACT-UP invaded St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City on December 10, 1989. They interrupted the Mass by shouting and waving their fists; they tossed condoms in the air; they spat the Eucharist on the floor; they chained themselves to pews; they stopped Catholics from going to Holy Communion. In an editorial at the time, the New York Times called what happened, “an act of desecration.” Moore said, “I personally like that one.”

The days of the Spanish Inquisition are long gone in Christianity, and the activist militarism of John Brown is no longer celebrated in Western civilization.

By and large, we have learned to respond by communicating verbal protests and then praying for our detractors.

I have no doubt that Pope Francis and the College of Cardinals would sternly condemn the Knights of Columbus if they were to form a posse comitatus  and hang Michael Moore from a tree.

That said, I can’t help but wonder how many of the faithful who were at Mass in Saint Pat’s on December 10, 1989 would hasten to join the mourning if some fundamentalist whacko were to dispatch producer David France.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, we are urged to recognize and be mindful of the distinction between faithful, law abiding Muslims and radical Muslim terrorists.

There’s a difference between theology and feelings. It is difficult to get terribly worked up when the bad guys have bad luck.

My old colleague on the Michigan Supreme Court, John Dethmers, used to say, “the first issue for the jury in a murder trial is, ‘ Should the deceased have went?’”

Muslims who would have seen the hand of a vengeful Allah if the editorial board at Charlie Hebdo had been obliterated in a tornado, may have some difficulty mourning the demise of their tormenters, even if they concede that murder by Jihad is sinful.

The millions of marchers in Paris want to declare war on terrorism. Good luck to them. George Bush did that in 2002. It doesn’t work. Fighting terrorism is like fighting sin. You just can’t kill all the sinners.

President Obama wants to ‘degrade and destroy’ ISIL. ISIL is not a country, it’s a movement. Destroying ISIL is like destroying Communism, or Christianity, Socialism or Capitalism. As long as there are believers, a movement abides.   

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. In a civilized society, murderers should be brought to justice. You can no more prevent murder as a expression of religious fervor than you can prevent murder for greed. Or lust.

In a free country there can be no thought control. The idea of preventative incarceration is a preposterous surrender to dictatorship. Even the Gestapo couldn’t make it work.


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