Monday, June 18, 2007

Hate Crimes?

Christians living in Gaza City on Monday appealed to the international community to protect them against increased attacks by Muslim extremists. Many Christians said they were prepared to leave the Gaza Strip as soon as the border crossings are reopened.

The appeal came following a series of attacks on a Christian school and church in Gaza City over the past few days.

There's nothing I need to add to that. Read more about the Religion of Peace here. What, you don't want to?

"The masked gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the main entrances of the school and church," he said. "Then they destroyed almost everything inside, including the Cross, the Holy Book, computers and other equipment." (boldface mine--Darren)

Rocket-propelled grenades. Savor that thought for a moment. Forcing your way into a school using rocket-propelled freaking grenades.

I wonder if there will be any outrage on the left over this:

(Father) Musalam expressed outrage over the burning of copies of the Bible, noting that the gunmen destroyed all the Crosses inside the church and school.

Those of you who squealed like stuck pigs over the false reports of "disrespect" to the Koran at Guantanamo, I expect to see you protesting and howling at the moon over this event. No? I'm not surprised.

It's a school. And a church. And neither belong to the people whom the attackers claim they're fighting.


Tony said...

I guess it bothers me more when faith driven hypocrites in my own country do things I don't like then when similar ones do it abroad. But you are correct, there is nothing inherently surprising about this attack. Anytime you have a group that treats outsiders as either future converts or cannon fodder, humanity has a serious problem. And as far as I can tell, if any religion can lay claim to being the Religion of Peace, it isn't one of the big three Western ones.

Darren said...

Nothing like a little moral equivalence, eh Tony?

If you look at the Big 3 western religions, only one advocates violence and only one today practices it as a norm. I view your statement as nothing more than a cheap shot.

Tony said...

I certainly apologize if my comment was taken as a cheap shot. It's readily apparent that we disagree on a multitude of issues, and I expect and enjoy some friendly ribbing now and then, but this is your forum and I would never deliberately disrespect you.

I was only responding to the exclusion of Judaism and Christianity as guilty parties in the cycle of violence. Both the Torah and it's Christian equivalent the Old Testament are full of smiting, stoning, and myriad other mandates of violence. Yahweh, as the tribal god of the Hebrew people, frequently commands them to bring war to his enemies, who are conveniently their enemies as well. All of the nice-nice rules and commandments are strictly pertaining to in-group dynamics. When it comes to outsiders, it is not a peaceful faith.

Christianity's apple has not fallen far from the tree. Based both on it's texts and it's intra-faith politics, Christian leaders have decreed holy war on countless occasions. I am willing to concede that most, though not all, of the religiously based violence lies in the past of these other two religions. Currently, Islam is far more violent. But that has nothing to do with the inherent violence of the respective faiths, but in how closely their followers adhere to their tenets. Muslims are on average far more devout than followers of the other two, who through the years have allowed moral and ethical concepts creep in from other cultural sources. Muslims are therefore more violent because they more truly believe.

I know you disagree with the conclusion I have drawn, but I hope that at least you feel I presented it in a respectful manner. If any of my facts are in error, I am confident that you will correct me.

Darren said...

This comment seems closer to reality, at least as I interpret it. However, I still see flaws:

In the Old Testament, God told the Israelites what to do. Directly. He doesn't speak through today's Knesset. Israelis today fight to protect themselves and their country, not to defend their religion.

Christians view the Old Testament as history, it's the New Testament that dictates how we're supposed to live. Christianity's adherents have been less than Godly, and used God's name to fight, steal, etc, but those are man's faults, not God's. The Bible doesn't instruct us to act that way.

The Koran does advocate war. Additionally, the sharia is based on living the way Mohammed did, and is considered as canonical as the Koran. Violence is expected and encouraged in Islam, it is not in Judaism or Christianity.

Tony said...

I think we've come as close to agreement as we're going to with this one. What one of us feels to be a purely semantic point, the other thinks integral. However, I think you touched on the essence of both of our arguments when you mentioned the Knesset.

The truth is that most practitioners of both Judaism and Christianity have as strong ties to nationalism as they do to their faith, and much of the violence they perpetuate stems from secular political conflicts rather than purely religious ones.

Muslims on the other hand, typically value family first, Islam second, and country a distant third if at all. It is therefore easier for us as outsiders to blame their violent tendencies on their religion alone, because that is their most unifying factor.

As always, Darren, thanks for maintaining a lively forum for discussion. Keep up the good work.