Thursday, March 01, 2007

Christian Groups Threaten Our Democracy

Apologies for the lack of posting the past couple of days. I was intending to blog last night, but we had a power cut which subsequently disabled the main PC. Luckily, my father in law has a lap top that I am able to borrow (on the downside, the keyboard layout is totaally different to what it says on the keys, so the punctuation might be a little odd). Anyway, one of the dubious pleasures when I am away, is the ability to watch Fox News. Now, I do not have SKY at home so, although I am aware of the content, I am not subjected to it every day. What is particularly fascinating at the moment is the focus on James Cameron's new documentary. Particularly in light of the storm caused over the Danish cartoons.

Whilst watching Neil Cavuto the other day, I was interested to see him interview a member of the Christian community about the documentary. During the course of the interview, Cavuto asked why Christians have been so calm in their response. The guy he was interviewing claimed this is because they are taught to 'turn the other cheek', in contrast to the Muslim community. This went unchallenged (this is Fox after all) and there was no attempt to balance this viewpoint. Imagine my surprise when I watch it today, only to see a Christian demanding that the documentary should not be broadcast. According to him, the documentary is offensive towards Christians. Yet, nobody claimed that this was an attack on free speech (as would have been the case if this had been a Muslim protesting). Mmmm, that kinda got me thinking. When the Muslim community protested about the publication of the cartoons, they were smeared as attacking the right to free speech. It was claimed that Christians would never behave in this way, and that their response was disproportionate to the cartoons themselves. Yet, according to Fox, it is perfectly acceptable for Christians to demand that a programme should not be broadcast because it is 'offensive' to them. This is, of course, not without precedent.

Back in January 2005, a cult known as Christian Voice, went beserk when the BBC aired Jerry Springer - The Opera. They even went so far as to claim that the programme breached their human rights. Luckily, the BBC ignored their protests and pushed ahead anyway, refusing to acquiesce to a bunch of religious zealots. Of course, we all know what the response would be if the Muslim community were to protest against a similar show about the Prophet Mohammed. The mainstream media would work itself into a frenzy of attacks upon the Muslim community.

Now, those that seek to protect the extremist Christian lobby would argue that they do not resort to violence to further their cause. They would argue that only the Muslim community would protest through violent means. This is, of course, entirely false. The Christian community is equally guilty of using violence to further it's cause. For example, there are those in America who have been guilty of murdering many abortion providers, including three doctors. All of these murders were committed by those that claimed to be Christian. There has been a campaign of violence and intimidation against abortion providers for many years and these tactics have been slowly making their way over to the UK. James Dowson in particular has been guilty of encouraging attacks on those that practice abortion. He has distributed names and addresses via the internet and encouraged those who share his twisted agenda to send hate mail and death threats in an attempt to intimidate those who do not share his views. Again, imagine how the mainstream media would react if a Muslim will engaging in such activities. No doubt they would be threatened with extradition, they would certainly not be ignored.

The supposed silence on questions of Islam, whilst Christianity is under continual attack, is a total fabrication. There have been continual attacks on the Muslim community in recent years, whilst the Christian community is treated with total veneration. As Media Matters has noted, commentators such as Glenn Beck and Bill Donohue, make constant attacks on Islam and yet will not accept any legitimate criticism of Christianity. Media Matters notes Glenn Beck's comments that:

"There is a double standard in the world today. Treat Christians one way, but heaven help you if you try that with anybody else's religion."

But when you examine his record, there is a wide range of attacks on Islam:

During a November 14, 2006, interview with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who recently became the first Muslim elected to Congress, Beck said: "I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.' "

Beck mocked Islam by "mark[ing] the death" of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with a "Zarqawi bacon cake."

He described as "surprising" a letter criticizing Al Qaeda in Iraq because "the man who wrote it" -- Islamic Society of Nevada director Aslam Abdullah -- "is a Muslim."

Beck aired a segment mocking the names of several missing Egyptian students in which the announcer said that one "may or may not be accompanied by his camel." The segment showed pictures of crowds and pointed to random, unidentifiable people as the missing Egyptians. It ended with a reading of the students' names in quick succession followed by the announcer pretending to gag as he struggled to pronounce them.

As for Donohue, his record is much the same:

On the February 9, 2006, edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, Donohue said: "People don't trust the Muslims when it comes to liberty."

On the December 8, 2004, edition of Scarborough Country, he said: "We've already won. Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. ... Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost."

In 2004, Media Matters first detailed anti-Catholic comments made by Jerome Corsi, who, as co-author of Unfit for Command (Regnery, August 2004), was one of the ringleaders of the smear campaign by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) -- a Catholic presidential candidate. Among Corsi's bigoted comments: "Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn't reported by the liberal press." Despite the uproar surrounding Corsi's comments, Donohue subsequently dismissed the comments as "quips."

The very idea that somehow criticism of Islam is not allowed in the media is a ridiculous notion. The media is dominated with it. When there is an outcry by the Muslim community, there is talk of an over-reaction. When there is an outcry in the Christian community, there is talk of a community being under sustained attack. The fact of the matter is that both communities are guilty of over reacting when their faith is criticised. The difference is that the media always seeks to defend the Christian community, whilst seeking to demonise the Muslim community.