First, I’d like to point out, that I broke the story of Dove World Outreach Center to you, my faithful readers, on August 2nd, a month before this became a national news story. So I’d like to take this time to admit that I was the leak to the press. I mentioned the story, and the national news outlets picked it up from me. I’m sorry for being such an awesome and reliable news source.
Now that the day is nearly upon us, September 11, and International Burn a Koran Day, I felt the need to share a few thoughts with you that no one else seems to be saying.
Can We Just Get This Over with and Move On?
At this point in time, I am sorry that CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX picked up the news story, apparently from me, because a tiny little church in Florida is probably not worth this amount of attention. I have to think it’s been slow news for the last couple of weeks, since this little event has gotten so much press. Heck, the fact that major news outlets are apparently scouring my little blog for leads proves it’s been slow news lately.
I’m Tired of Being Told I’m Intolerant
Tolerance is a big word now. We throw it around a lot. If you oppose anything at all, you’re intolerant, or a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, whatever. Just being Christian is enough to be “intolerant.” Ever since September 11, Americans have been told that we need to be tolerant, civil, and open-minded. We need to be peaceful and conciliatory. We need to understand our adversaries, and love them, and let them build a mosque near a site where thousands of our countrymen were killed by their countrymen. We get heavy doses of this from our government leaders, our media and our churches.
I’m all for the message of tolerance and peace. It’s the message Jesus would want. Except that it’s usually communicated through a tone of accusation. There’s that hint in so many voices that says I should be tolerant, because I’m not tolerant already. If I oppose your actions, then I should be more tolerant. Guess what. I’m very tolerant. I tolerate everyone. And if you don’t think I’m tolerant of you, I will smack you in the face to knock some sense into you and prove how much I tolerate you.
The combined controversies of the ground zero mosque and the Koran burning highlight something very interesting to me.
Americans Are Some Incredibly Tolerant People
The fact that the vast majority of Americans have reacted negatively toward this little Florida church burning a few Korans just demonstrates how determined we are to be tolerant. We’re concerned above all else that outsiders will look at that little event and believe that all Christians are hateful, intolerant crazies. We’ve put a lot of work into being tolerant, and we don’t want this joker and his mustache messing it up.
Besides that, while the vast majority of Americans are opposed to a mosque being built at ground zero, we are going to let it happen. As much as we hate it, we’re going to let it happen, either because we’re really that tolerant, or we’re too lazy to stop it. Aside from isolated incidents of violence, there hasn’t been a whole lot of reaction, outside of strong verbal disagreement to this thing, despite the fact that most people see it as a huge insult to our nation and way of life.
In fact, for the last nine years, I’d say the way Americans have treated Muslims living here has been pretty remarkable. The very first thing that Rudy Guiliani did on September 11 was encourage New Yorkers to be safe, compassionate toward others in need of help, and to not assign blame to any group of people. And guess what? That speech was unnecessary. New York’s streets didn’t run red with Muslim blood. You can point out any example of discrimination or profiling or even the isolated violence that has happened since then, and I will point you to how far we’ve come since the days of lynch mobs. Americans talk tough sometimes about our dislike for people, but for most of us, that’s all we do.
The worst America can cook up lately is a Koran burning, and the rest of us are wringing our hands, saying, “Oh no, what if the Muslims in the Middle East don’t like us anymore?!” And it proves that either Americans are very tolerance-minded, or we have huge self-esteem issues.
America is Different
Not only do these two events prove what Americans are made of, it provides a massive contrast between Western, largely Christian civilization, and Middle Eastern Muslim civilization.
Every American, including the President, his cabinet, and our four star Generals has said that this Florida church burning Korans could incite violence in the Middle East and put our soldiers in more danger. Wow. In contrast, I’ve seen the American flag burned, I’ve seen stacks of Bibles burned. I’ve seen Jesus treated completely disrespectfully. And I never see Americans react by beheading people, shooting guns in the air, burning Muslims in effigy, flying planes into buildings, or any other ridiculous nonsense, because most of us have important things to do.
Why do TV stations hold back on making fun of Muslims, but they’ll show Jesus doing whatever mocking thing they can think of? Because they know that the Muslim reaction will be far worse than the Christian reaction. South Park didn’t even show Mohammad, just a hilarious bear costume that we were told had Mohammad inside, and the network execs got their underwear all in a bunch over possible death threats, (rightfully so, as it turned out.)
And for all of the disagreement with the Christian church, our outright suspicion about who is “in” and who is “out,” I don’t see a civil war going on because of it. Our history’s not perfect, sure. But we got most of our fighting with each other over with a long time ago. For all that is wrong with America, Americans, the church, and whatever else, the difference in our two cultures is pretty striking.
There you go. What do you think? Do Americans have a lot more work to do when it comes to being tolerant, or the word “tolerant” is overplayed, or are we pretty tolerant already?