Letter to the editor
Anyone paying attention to international news knows of the recent controversy created over the publication of some cartoons characterizing the Islamic "prophet" Moham-med and other religious individuals. The cartoons originated in Denmark and were published in a French newspaper, then picked up and published in several other European newspapers.
Of particular interest is the reaction of the Islamic community to the "insult." Moslem Clerics walked on Denmark Flags, goods produced in Denmark were taken off shelves and boycotted. Armed gunmen took over European Union Offices for a time, demanding an apology. A German citizen was briefly taken hostage. Syria has called for apologies from and punishment for those responsible. Saudi Arabia and Libya recalled their diplomatic ambassadors. The Prime minister of Denmark apologized publicly. Now, a few days later Malaysia has passed a law banning cartoons of the prophet.
Here is a quote from an article published by MSNBC Friday, Feb. 3, 2006: "It's an uncivilized act. It's heinous," said Hanifah Maidin, youth wing spokesman of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party. "We want the Denmark government to tender an apology to the Muslim world."
Do you find it strange that some Muslims consider the publishing of a cartoon "heinous" and "uncivilized"? I am guessing suicide bombers don't make it onto their "uncivilized" or "heinous" lists.
My point is this. Christianity is mocked and degraded publicly on the airwaves and in the liberal media here in the United States, every day of the week. The word "fundamental," when used in the same sentence as "Christian," has become something like a curse word. Almost any TV show with a Christian character is bound to make that character ignorant, intolerant, homophobic, whiney, hypocritical or bigoted.
Recently NBC decided to withdraw a show called The Book of Daniel written by a homosexual. The reference to the Biblical book is obvious. The main character is a pastor, has a drug addition, his wife is an alcoholic, his son is gay and the list warped characters goes on from there. Imagine what would happen if the show maligned an Islamic cleric or any other ethnic minority?
Recently Canada and some other European nations have tried to make it illegal for anyone to speak negatively about the gay or lesbian lifestyle.
My question is why is it OK to mock Christianity while being politically correct with everyone else? Isn't it a little hypocritical that it is 'open season' on Christianity? We need to ask why Christianity is under attack, Could it be that it confronts our society's favorite sins?
In spite of all the mockery Christians endure you don't see us making armed threats, demanding apologies from the governments, asking for the editors and program directors to be fired or otherwise creating a global issue out of it. You don't see us demanding legislation to keep TV shows from mocking our beliefs.
What's so abhorrent to today's society that makes them want to mock and destroy the Christian message? Could it be that it is based on love? Probably not. Or perhaps they are upset that genuine Christianity teaches honesty, ethical conduct, respect for life and virtue. I mean nobody likes being lied to, so what's wrong with a religion that teaches people not to lie? Many people complain about the crime rate. It might be a good idea not to mock a theology that preaches, "thou shall not steal, or kill."
I know, I know, some will say Christianity isn't bad, it is only all the hypocritical Christians that are bad. I would agree. I don't condone hypocrisy, but church isn't the only place you find hypocrites. You'll find them at work when co-workers work the system to their advantage; in the police stations and courthouses where officials sworn to uphold the law take bribes; and in the media where the rich and powerful with political agendas slant the news for their own purposes. There are hypocrites in Congress who use their office and power for private gain. You see, hypocrisy isn't just a church issue, it is society issue. But that doesn't make every policeman, judge, congressman, news anchor, et al, a hypocrite. For sure you'll find some hypocrites in church, they're everywhere. That doesn't make everyone in church (or even the majority) hypocrites.
For all the people who like to claim that Christians are so hypocritical and intolerant, I would like to point out real intolerance and real hypocrisy in the society around us. Perhaps, in retrospect, the genuine message of Christianity isn't such a bad thing after all.
-- Steve Highlander, pastor
Rockville Baptist Church