This is a controversial topic, and many of you will not like my point of view. However, I have tried to give this subject a lot of thought. It relates to what I consider the irresponsible actions of Terry Jones, the “pastor” from Florida. I am not talking about either the Lindsay Graham or the General Petreus solution here, I am talking about the responsibility that comes with our right to free speech.
Terry Jones knew that his actions would create a situation when Middle Eastern countries learned of his actions. Terry Jones knew the consequences of his actions – that there would be a riot because the more radical imams would stir up the hatred against the USA as well as against Christians.
In the past innocent words have been twisted and distorted by those radicals, and it had also led to riots and deaths. A good example were the words uttered by Pope Benedict not long after he was elected to become Pope during the Regensburg address. Now I happened to agree with the comments that were uttered at the time. I feel sure that Josef Ratzinger did not intend to cause a riot.
However, when you compare that situation with the deliberate actions of Terry Jones, one has to question the lack of responsibility shown by Jones. I happen to think that his actions were totally irresponsible. Whether one can say that he is responsible for the deaths at the UN compound is another story. Also, I am not going as far as calling his actions bigotry, even though it might be appropriate.
Our freedom of speech, such as what I am exercising here, comes with the responsibility of not inflaming people to the point of causing riots. It also comes with the responsibility of not spreading fear amongst people. It really is very much a two way street.
Now, it happens that I disagree very much with the tactics used by Muslims when they start these riots. I happen to disagree with the manner in which they try to twist the freedom of speech so that it is used against us. The riots and the deaths caused by the riots are a form of intimidation. Muslims are very goood at that form of intimidation. Their imams are very good at whipping up the anger that leads to the riots, church burning, and the deaths of westerners in Muslim countries. It is nothing new in those countries.
In the past I have mentioned the Africans known as the Circumcellions. I mention them here because I think that it will throw some light on the excitability of these people. If you want to find a link, try looking up the Donatist controversy, because the story of the Circumcellions is tied up with the Christian heresy known as Donatism. Basically, the Circumcellions were probably a bit thick when it came to the idea of martyrdom. They seemed to think that they had to find a way of dying as martyrs, but without committing suicide. These people existed well before Mohammed, but they are African tribesmen. My mention of them is based upon how I see that it was in the nature of these people to be extreme in one way or the other. The Circumcellions, who lived around the time of St. Augustine, can certainly be described as extreme. This is my point we are dealing with people who have a tendency to do extreme things out of a wrong belief that they are somehow doing God’s will.
It is for this reason that I personally disagree with the manner in which Terry Jones has exercised his basic right to free speech. It would be far better if he took responsibility for his actions, rather than putting on a front of further belligerance.
Surely we can disagree with the Muslims, even disregard the Koran as being holy, but without doing something that was bound to cause a riot?
I do not defend the Westboro Baptist church when they protest at funerals, and likewise I will not defend the actions of Terry Jones. Was he really doing God’s work by taking that action?