As this is written, there is a small church is Florida which is threatening to burn some copies of the Quran in a few days. Muslims around the world are indignant, have been holding public protests, and threatening to kill American soldiers in some countries. Today’s news reported a news conference from a group of leaders from several religions asking for the church to stop, on the grounds that it is an insult to Islam. The American general in Afghanistan says that burning Qurans in Florida will endanger the lives of American soldiers there, since Muslims are threatening to kill Americans due to the act. There have been news reports of Muslims offering a monetary reward to people who kill Americans.
I am reminded of a few years ago when an “artist” published a photo of a cross in a pan of his own urine. This was a huge insult to Christians. But I do not recall seeing any reaction at all from the liberal Christians, other religions, or secularists. I saw no ecumenical news conferences demanding the photo be removed, no generals were interviewed for their opinion. At the time, we were told that we should put up with this since it’s the price we all pay for living in a free society. The few Christians who mounted a public protest were held as right wing fanatics, out of touch and not worthy of any public discussion. The event was quickly forgotten, as just one more insult to Christians.
I wonder if it would have been different if the Christians had reacted by threatening to kill people as the Muslims are now doing? Author Salmon Rushdie had to live in hiding for years after publishing a novel that hinted of criticism of Muslim beliefs; an international firestorm was created when one European news paper published some political cartoons depicting the prophet of Islam. The press has since backed down, for we’ve seen no images of Muhammad since.
It appears that the way to get oneself respected is to threaten violence, as Islam has repeatedly done. What will happen when the violence is aimed at the liberal free press?