Society

The Christian Right, Muslims and the Burning of a Quran

| by Jerome McCollom

I was listening to conservative talk radio and I was getting really annoyed at the host, Dennis Prager. He's a man who so constantly attacks secularism that I am sure he believes that 16th century Europe, with constant religion fueled warfare, was a better place to live under than modern America.

By the way, I am always intrigued by conservative theists here in the U.S. who want the Middle East to be more secular (as do I) but attack secularism here in the U.S. Secularism basically meaning the government remains neutral on religion and individuals dont' make decisions based on ancient religious doctrine.

Well, he was attacking a left-leaning political columnist named Joe Klein, who said this about Terry Jones: "Jones’s act was murderous as any suicide bomber’s. "If there is a hell, he’s just guaranteed himself an afterlifetime membership." The act, of course, was the burning of an Islamic Quran which inspired murderous rampages in Afghanistan.

Now, those directly responsible for the murders in Afghanistan are the individuals themselves. But Jones was repeatedly warned that his actions will have consequences yet he chose to ignore them.

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To the host though, Klein's column was an indictment against the left, and not against right-wing religious ideology. See, the ideology of Christian fundamentalist type such as Terry Jones and Al Qaeda are actually more a matter of degree than kind. Both hate gays, both oppose women's rights and both despise atheists/freethinkers. Both value tradition and authority over progress.

Now, Christian fundamentalism -- because of 400 or so years of Enlightenment philosphy -- does not have the same degrees of reactionary thinking as seen in much of the Islamic world. So, while gays might be hated in parts of America and were imprisoned recently in this nation for homosexual sexual relations, they are not at risk of being killed as in parts of the Islamic world.

While being an atheist means you have no chance in getting elected to office, you aren't at risk of death as you might be in Afghanistan.

Terry Jones and those rallying around him here in the U.S. and Muslims who believe that violence is allowed because of the burning of a religious text, are two sides of the same coin. A coin that if the Earth is going to progress needs to be discarded by the masses.