Update on this story. I never liked this guy’s sign: it just feeds the perception that resistance to jihad terrorism is all motivated by bigotry and Christian triumphalism. It helps the appeasers of jihad to think they have the moral high ground. If a mosque had put up a sign saying “The Bible should be flushed,” the same people who were excited about this sign would be outraged.
However, at the same time the sign was a manifestation of the freedom of our society. Christians in America today don’t have to look hard to find numerous examples of their religion being ridiculed and denigrated, and if they complain they are warned against censorship and reminded of the parameters of a free society. And it’s certainly true that if a society is going to stand for non-establishment of a religion and freedom in religious matters, that must include the freedom to reject a religion, and even to criticize and ridicule it publicly. If Muslims in the West cannot allow for this without resorting to threats and violence, then the very foundations of Western societies will be shaken.
Of course, in this case there were no threats and violence. Just pressure from CAIR. I am not sure whether that is a distinction with a difference, since CAIR still has the power to tar as bigoted and hateful anyone it opposes. This will have to be addressed sooner or later, if our freedoms are to be preserved.
It is also noteworthy that this press release from CAIR is headed: “N.C. Pastor Apologizes For Anti-Muslim Sign,” although the sign was actually anti-Qur’an, not anti-Muslim — a distinction CAIR insists on blurring. A CAIR press release:
CAIR applauds removal of message as boost for Christian-Muslim relations
WASHINGTON, May 26 /PRNewswire/ — The Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR) today applauded the decision of a North Carolina Baptist pastor to apologize for an anti-Muslim sign displayed outside his Forest City church.
Danieltown Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Creighton Lovelace had previously refused calls to take down the sign, reading “The Koran needs to be flushed,” posted in front of his church.
CAIR reacted to the controversy by calling on mainstream religious and
political leaders to repudiate the sign’s bigoted message. The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group also urged Americans of all faiths to obtain and read a free Quran available through CAIR’s new “Explore the Quran” campaign. Several thousand people have already taken advantage of CAIR’s offer.
I hope people will read the Qur’an, although I haven’t seen which translation CAIR is offering and don’t know if it’s jimmied. I hope people will read Sura 9 with particular attention, and then get back to me.
In today’s apology, Lovelace said in part:
“When I posted the sign in front of the church, it was my intent only to affirm and exalt the Bible and its teachings. It was certainly not my intent to insult any people of faith, but instead to remind the people in this community of the preeminence of God’s Word.
“When I posted the message on the sign, I did not realize how people of the Muslim faith view the Koran-that devoted Muslims view it more highly than many in the U.S. view the Bible.
“Now I realize how offensive this is to them, and after praying about it, I have chosen to remove the sign. I apologize for posting that message and deeply regret that it has offended so many in the Muslim community.”…
“We thank Pastor Lovelace for his apology and hope this incident will
serve to improve relations between Christians and Muslims in North Carolina and throughout America,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. Awad suggested that American churches and mosques host Muslim-Christian dialogues on Jesus, who is revered by both faiths.
I hope they do that too: as long as it is done honestly, with reference, for example, to some of the points I raised here.