I'm backing a candidate named Anne Schaible for alderman in our ward. Today, Anne inadvertantly ruffled a lot of feathers by posting a link to the news coverage of Yemen-originated explosives destined for the U.S. Anne's point was nothing more sinister than alerting the public, as she always tries to do, to credible threats to our safety.
But suddenly everyone started weighing in on the Muslim angle. It is true that al-Qaida is most likely behind this latest episode, and it is also true that al Qaida is an Islamist organization. But when one of Anne's followers pointed this out, he was attacked by Muslim apologists who went to great pains to equate all other faith expressions with Muslim extremism.
The discussion grew more and more contentious, and Anne finally had to shut down this thread. Toward the end, the people who continued to participate were shrilly hurling insults at one another, while paying absolutely NO attention to the rules of intellectual discourse. Socrates is rolling in his grave!!
One person, some sort of "reverend," or so he said, implied that the Pope is a mass murderer. That's weird, although the thought of the Pope as one of the guys who attends Osama bin Ladin's poker night is an interesting image.
But WORSE than that were the Rev's supposedly well-informed opponents.
I wish I had all the contributions to this increasingly bizarre talk, but Facebook emailed me this last comment by one of the loonier among Anne's Facebook Friends (and--I honestly believe this--this person in no way represents Anne):
Pamela J-H* also commented on Anne Schaible's link. Pamela wrote:
"And by the way, I don't know what bible you read, but there is plenty of christian violence and terrorism in the bible I read."
Reply to this email to comment on this link.
To see the comment thread, follow the link below:
The Facebook Team
All I can say is: Wow.
Christian violence and terrorism in her edition of the Bible....
I tried to reply to this, to ask her for specific scriptural citations, but as I said--Anne has wisely cut that thread. That's probably a good thing, for me, because Pamela J-H is one of those people who doesn't let the facts get in the way of a good rant. Trying to explain your position, to people like Ms. Pam, is a little like trying to explain the law of conservation of matter to a goldfish. You can present the most cogent explanation in the world, but it will have ZERO impact on the goldfish.
So Ms. Pam--if by any crazy stretch of possibility you are reading this blog--please give me SPECIFIC EXAMPLES of CHRISTIANS in the NEW TESTAMENT forming terrorist cells and perpetrating violence on others.
She probably has some dim Sunday school memory of, I don't know, David smiting Goliath or Herod's slaughter of the innocents...neither of which involved Christians. Or maybe she is reading the really scary passages in Revelations, although, strictly speaking, that's not a matter of historic record. (Yet.)
But as dumb as she sounds, it is important to remember one thing: a huge number of people believe that ALL ideologies must be identical to one another...to think otherwise is to be a bigot.
Pamela J-H and her brethren should disabuse herself of this notion--otherwise, she is a huge liability to those of us who would like to support Muslim reformers and eradicate Muslim extemism. She should get hold of a copy of the Qur'an and read it for herself.
And while she's out shopping, she should probably get herself a copy of the Bible, too.
* This post has been edited, and Pamela's initials have been substituted for her full name. I think people who post comments on a public forum, like Facebook, should be adult enough to own those statements, but I don't want to make her look dumb in front of her family. While we are exhorted to perform acts of mercy which include instructing the ignorant, that doesn't necessarilly mean we should humiliate them, however satisfying that may be.