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Lowered Expectations

Higher Aspirations


September 11th, 2010

English! Do you read it?! @ 09:01 pm

Current Mood: aggravated aggravated

Hi all and welcome to my blog.

I had a rather unproductive exchange with a gentleman on facebook about the whole Burn the Koran Day thing on “Getting Civil At Ground Zero.”

We’ll call him “Bob Jones.”His original comment was:

It as been reported, with this man Pastor Jones and his followers, stiring up hatered, three people have lost their lifes already! He should be stripped of his title and the church closed down...How far can use the word freedom?...If he was in the UK in one of the main stream churches, he would had been thrown out of the church already. That is the trouble with the Christian faith in the USA, it is too fragmented.

Now, to me, this seemed like a weird thing to say. “How far can [you?] use the word freedom”? As though the fact that this pastor is free to do these things is the cause of his behavior. Also, this pastor would be stripped of his title if he was leading a UK mainstream church? For burning a book? But not for the other hateful stuff that can come out of Christian mouths? So, I wrote a comment:

I've gone to the website. If he weren't burning books, it'd be perfectly okay for him to say that Muslims are going to Hell because they're following the wrong book, right? It'd be perfectly fine to say that Muslims are bound to an eternity... in never ending Hell fire and torture and screaming and pain, right? That's the mainstream Christian belief, isn't it? That those who aren't Christians are going to Hell? That's fine, right? No one gets stripped of their titles for saying that, do they?

This is not an issue of "freedom" going too far. This man and his followers have as much right to burn a Koran as college students do to burn the American flag. And we have the right to say, "Man, what an asshole." I think that the news media has done us all a disservice by giving these people so much attention.


Now, in hindsight, this response was a little too combative, but I decided not to delete it. After all, I believe what it says, even if the tone is a little abrasive. However, I was not expecting the reaction I received to it.

Bob Jones:
So will it be okay for someone to burn the bible Hollli?...I have been USA 8 times and twice I have been insulted not in believing in God, they did have no respect of my views... How about freedom to respect others beliefs or non beliefs, ...clearly Holli you have no respect to no one expect yourself...Thank goodness their still many who belief in the word respect! You are the bad side of society Holli...We here in the Uk {thats in Europe Holli} have more freedom and more of a liberal society! and more importantly respect to others too! You are more welcome to visit England! If you get this far...Muslims and Christians have the same God, just each approach it in a different way...so by condeming Muslims you are condemiing God too. Finally burning any national Flag is wrong too, But two wrongs do not make a right...

Well, this pissed me right off. I was literally shaking with rage. Firstly, I think it was the repetition of my name by someone who doesn’t know me from Adam. Then there was the fact that he obviously didn’t read what I wrote if he thought I was coming down on the Christian side of things. Of course, the fact that someone who didn’t bother to really read what I wrote was condescendingly telling me where the UK was didn’t make me much happier. Then, finally, being told that I was the “bad side of society” and the insinuation that I didn’t have respect for others was really irksome.

Naturally, I couldn’t take that lying down!

Thank you for assuming that, as an American, I don't know where the UK is.

What part of what I said made you think I condemn *Muslims*? I don't condemn Muslims. And I never said that I was *for* burning books--only for the freedom to do so.... I'm not for burning flags either, thank you very much.

I'm the bad side of society because I believe in freedom? Fine. You're entitled to your opinion. But maybe you should actually make sure you *read* what I wrote. Since you missed the point, I'll spell it out for you.

*clears throat* According to this pastor's website, part of the reason for burning the Koran is to warn Muslims away from a false book and to save them from Hell. So, really, the only part of this you have a problem with is that they want to burn a book--not that they think Muslims are going to Hell. Muslims (and all other non-Christians) going to Hell is fine, but don't burn paper and ink!

Also, I don't believe in God. I'm surprised you thought I was a Christian based on what I said.


Now, there was a Muslim who came on and made a few comments to Bob and me. I’d originally thought that they’d been deleted but, returning to the thread unlogged in, it appears that they were merely hidden from me. Of course, when I checked the thread unlogged in, then Bob’s comments were missing. So weird. Anyway, we’ll call her “Norma Jean.” She said:

@ Bob I think you raise a interesting point about the mutual respect of a person's beliefs or non beliefs. Muslims find this happening even within their own religion. I myself am a Muslim and I am constantly condemned and insulted by oth...er Muslims who believe differently than I do. I have yet to have any Christian to say to me directly that I am doomed to eternal life in Hell for being a Muslim. From what I know about Islam and most religions is that this type of behavior falls outside the realm of spiritual progression. Aggressive actions that foster dislike or hatred for a specific group of people and then are defended by ones civil rights seems to fall out of the characteristics of the religious character. The grandson of Billy Graham was quoted as saying:

"... As Americans, we have freedom to perform acts with which others disagree or deem despicable, but our citizenship as Christians calls us to a higher standard -- one of love and respect for all humanity -- which supersedes our "rights."

They as well as other Christians who do not support the act of burning the Quran make a great point, in which they believe that The Bible supersedes their civil rights when it comes to how they behave as they represent all of Christianity.

As a Muslim I also agree with that statement. I hold God's definition of the humble spirit to determine my actions towards others no matter how contradictory they are to mine irregardless of the fact that I have the right to say or do certain things. These negative actions do not only affect one's spiritual growth and progression, but also interfere with contributing to a just society.


and

@ Holli, I understand your point about ones freedom. I enjoy my freedom, but I do think individuals should put their own limits of how to use these freedoms.

In my opinion their could have been other ways for this pastor to express his pro...tests to the Mosque being built in NY than what he chose. So the answer to all your questions above is that all those acts are equally as negative to me, irregardless of the pastor burning the Quran or condemning all Muslims to Hell. I guess it comes back to Bob's point in the beginning about the mutual respect for people's beliefs.


Nothing I didn’t agree with there. But I felt that the original point I’d been making had been lost. So, I made another comment:

Naturally. I'd never say he is *right* to do these things, only that he *has* the right. The point I was referring to was Bobs original complaint that this man had not been stripped of his title. I'd say that saying folks are going to Hell is about as hateful as burning something that someone considers precious. His statement of "how far does freedom go" didn't work for me in light of that.

I thought that it wrapped up things rather nicely. Of course, nothing ever works that cleanly on the internet—as I’m sure you’re aware.

Bob Jones then made a series of comments while I was sleeping which prove to me that this guy fails utterly at reading comprehension. But don’t take my word for it:

RESPECT is the bedrock of our society, if respect becomes to crumble, society and human dignaty breaksdown too...If we had no respect at all on our world, chaos will regin...Respecting others is important...I don't believe in God{s}...but ...I will respect their belief, they should respect mine and others who don't. I will argue my case why I think there no such thing as gods, but I will not insight religous hatered by burning the Koran or the Bible or doing acts of terrorism, and I certainly will not tarnish everyone with the same brush.

and

Remember one thing RESPECT others!

and

How far do you take the word freedom? Did Hitler and his folowers had the freedom to stir up hatered {it took a decade of hate before conceration camps appeared}, which resulted in mass murder, not only to jews, but blacks, homosexuals, gyp...sies and the mentally and physically disabled... etc. That is an extreme case, but genocide still happens today...when others attack a group of people, like in this case all muslims, you are on the slippery road in using terrorism, it was reported in tenesnne that mosque had an arson attack....so I say again freedom can go too far! and can been used any context when it suits individuals or organsitions. You need certain controls or the bull dog will ripe through society and freedom becomes a meanglness word. Whilst we are on the subject, there too many homophobics in the world in religion too, do they have the freedom to hate them too?

What a charming character! I was also glad that he thought I was too dim to know what happened in the Holocaust.

There was also a comment from Norma Jean:

It isn't about right and wrong in a general sense. It is about that this man is in a position where he represents a group and a faith. He is representing this group and faith falsely and has fostered hate towards other Christians. He should...n't necessarily be stripped of his title, but if he is a true Christian he would either apologize or step down himself.

And again as Bob said, "where is the mutual respect"? Shouldn't we encourage behaviors that foster peace, respect, and social justice whether we relate these behaviors to a religion or not.? And condemn behaviors that foster hatred, racism, and discrimination?


Again, nothing I don’t agree with. But, again, it failed to address my point. I don’t think I said anywhere that speaking out is wrong. All I was talking about was the fact that this pastor has the right to do what he’s doing regardless of how much other people don’t like it.

So, when I made my response, I touched on both of their comments. However, I was a little miffed by Mr. Jones, so that colors it. I said:

Anyone has the right to hate anyone they please for what ever reason they please. And I have the right to find the behavior and beliefs of people disgusting and hateful. I also have the right to say that I think that this guy is wrong to do... what he plans to do. So do you.

Yes, the religious have the right to hate homosexuals. They have the right to say that gay people are going to hell for their sinful ways and so on. However, they don't have the right to deny gay people *their* rights. They only have the right to talk.

The only speech that is prohibited is speech that calls for death and murder. The reason for this is that we have freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a double edged sword: for the freedom to say what you want, others have the freedom to say what *they* want. However, you also have the freedom not to listen to what they say, which is why I think the news media made a mistake by giving these people so much attention.

Someone breaking windows in a Mosque is not "freedom" anymore than breaking into someone's house is.

I do know what happened in the Holocaust. The Holocaust was not about freedom: it was about taking freedom away. It was taking away the right of jews, gypsys, homosexuals, political critics, the mentally ill, the physically disabled, and anyone else that the Nazis didn't like. To call that a result of freedom is to say that anytime someone murders someone else, that's a result of freedom.

As a Christian, yeah, this guy should be ashamed of himself. But the point isn't that he shouldn't be *allowed* to say what he wants or to burn a book. The point is that he shouldn't *want* to do these things. That's his choice.

Finally, YES, by all means, say what you think of this guy. Say that you don't like bigots. Exclaim it to the world! Champion the idea that everyone should be treated well, no matter what they believe. But don't tell me that *freedom* is responsible for this man's *bigotry*. You have the same right to speak as he does--the only difference is that you have something worth saying.


I haven’t gotten a response to this yet, and I don’t think I will be getting one since I typed it eight hours ago. And, considering the way that facebook is hiding comments, I might not be able to even see a response if I get one.

I don’t think I’ve said anything too strange in this exchange, and I thought I’d been fairly reasonable and clear about the point I was making. It’s been quite frustrating to me—I mean, I’m not even playing Devil’s Advocate about this. I’ve straight out said that I think this pastor is an asshole for doing what he’s doing. But I’m the bad part of society? I’m part of the slippery slope to Hitler? I have no respect for others?

And I’m being told this by a man who thinks I don’t know where the UK is for whatever reason he had for thinking so?

Fuck him. Fuck him in the ear.

 
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