Say, did you hear the one about the priest, the rabbi, and the imam who walked into a bar? Well, never mind, because that one does not contain the funniest line of 2006. Nope, I delivered the funniest line of 2006 in the documentary Islam: What the West Needs to Know, which opened Friday in theatres in Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, DC.
For those of you who were not aware of my scintillating comic talents (despite the oversized white shoes and Groucho glasses I am wearing at this very moment), here is some background from a Chicago Tribune review of the film:
The film comes from Quixotic Media, which “seeks to take on issues of social significance that major media will not.” None of that treasonous New York Times bunk here. No, this is a different sort of bunk entirely. “What the West Needs to Know” relies on the same five talking heads parroting each other for 95 tedious minutes. One is Robert Spencer, who runs the Web site jihadwatch.org. Islam, Spencer asserts at one point, stands as the only big-league religion that “mandates violence against non-believers.” Considering what has been done to whom in the name of other religions, that may well end up being the funniest line of 2006.
When I read that, I don’t mind telling you, I took the water-squirting flower out of my lapel, took off my red nose, and sat right down and wrote a letter to the reviewer, one Michael Phillips, “Tribune reviewer.” Here it is:
“One is Robert Spencer, who runs the Web site jihadwatch.org. Islam, Spencer asserts at one point, stands as the only big-league religion that “mandates violence against non-believers.” Considering what has been done to whom in the name of other religions, that may well end up being the funniest line of 2006.”
Can you please point me to core Christian, Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist Scriptural texts and doctrines mandating violence against non-believers?
Before you go searching your Old Testament, please note: passages seeming to call for violence against localized groups in particular circumstances, and which have been understood in a spiritualized way for over two or three thousand years, are not exact analogies to the open-ended calls for literal warfare against unbelievers found in the Qur’an (cf. 9:29, 8:39, 3:121-126, 9:5, etc. etc. etc.).
Note also that to say that only Islam mandates violence against non-believers is not to say that people of other religions have never been violent, which is apparently what you took it to mean.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Distinctions, people. Distinctions need to be made. Is it too much to ask that even a “Tribune reviewer” make them?
Enough. I am off to cut off some ties with scissors.