As I write this, there has been almost a week of violent protests across the Muslim world. The ambassador to Libya has been killed, the US embassy in Cairo was invaded, the US flag removed and destroyed, replaced by a Muslim flag. One news article (which you can find here), says the following:
Anti-U.S. protests spread to Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Britain, East Jerusalem, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, the West Bank and Yemen, according to U.S. officials and news reports, with many protesters chanting religious slogans and railing against the denigration of Islam in the obscure low-budget video.
The same article says that in Sydney, Australia, where the cultural self-humor would normally have people partying through any disaster, the riot police had to move in and squash an angry protest. The Lebanese were burning the American-originated fast food places KFC and Hardees, resulting in shootouts with police. In Cairo, riot police finally cleared the square after four straight days of protests. There were more, but you get the point.
Why all the violence? Apparently someone in the US has created a low-budget film that 1) depicts the Mohammed, and 2) does so in a way that the Muslims have become insulted. So far the movie has not been released, but a brief promo on Youtube has been published. So people have died and we have had massive riots and protests over a youtube promo that insults Mohammed.
I am reminded of the newspaper political cartoons that sparked similar widespread rioting and death threats. I am also reminded of author Salmon Rushdie, whose novel Satanic Verses garnered him death threats so severe that he stayed in hiding for over 10 years.
By contrast, what have we seen from Christianity? We have seen a photograph called Piss Christ which has a crucifix, complete with Jesus, in a glass of urine. This, by the way, won an award in a US art competition. We have also seen the film The Life of Brian which is a parody of Jesus, where the Christ character is the comedic baffoon. We have also seen repeated, ongoing, mass-scale ridicule of Jesus, Christian ideas in particular, and Christianity in general, done by the likes of the popular atheists of our day. You want anti-Jesus Youtube videos? You could spend the rest of the month watching them. Even this lowly blog has had a few blasphemous comments, one so vulgar about Jesus mother that I had to delete it. Further, almost every Christian has to endure, on a daily basis, the use of God’s name as a curse word, something most of us find to be very insulting. Compared to what the Muslims have seen, Christians are insulted to a point that is off the scale.
What do we see from the Christians? An occasional boycott, a few letters to the editor, a handful of people on rare occasions carrying signs on the sidewalk. Mostly, from the Christians, we have nothing. As far as I know, all the insults to Jesus have not resulted in any ambassadors killed, no riot police, no torching of fast food restaurants, no shootouts, and no one who has to hide in fear for most of their lives, worried that crazed church goers will suddenly rush out of the church building on Sunday morning, skip the line at the cafeteria, and go kill a bunch of people.
Yet we routinely have this from the Muslim world. With all of the American focus on tolerance and pluralism, it is amazing that there is not more negative reaction to the violence that follows the Muslim religion.
Why is this so? Jesus told His followers to love our enemies, while Mohammed told his to kill them.