The following is a guest column.
Save Me from Operation Save America
By Kirk Wentzel
I had heard of Operation Save America when they went by their former name Operation Rescue. I’d heard of them as an anti-abortion group and while I support choice I also support people peacefully protesting. I think that’s part of America’s core value.
So I was a little shocked the other day when I read a piece online from a Jackson Mississippi newspaper that said Operation Save America (OSA) was in Jackson burning the Qur’an and the Gay Pride (rainbow) flag.
A quick review of OSA’s website site told me they referred to this as “the burning of the abominations” and usually it also included a copy of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
Since I have no problem with burning the American flag as a way of expression I certainly wouldn’t have a leg to stand on by opposing the burning of the gay flag and I don’t. Oh, and just for the record I am gay and I don’t make a secret of it so nobody needs to ‘out’ me.
I often email organizations and churches when I read something that they’ve done that moves me strongly. I’ve written groups to praise them for their action and to express my opinion when I think they are wrong about something.
I must admit that I RARELY get a response regardless of whether my email was praise or scolding. So when I read the OSA burned a copy of the Holy book of Islam I was shocked. I was shocked that people who claimed to be following the teachings of Jesus would desecrate that which was held dear by millions of members of a sister belief.
So, as is my custom, I wrote to OSA. Here is what I said:
Ladies & Gentlemen:
To hear that members of your organization burned a copy of the Qur'an, a book held in deep reverence by millions of the worlds Muslims, is unbelievable.
It's no wonder that supportive churches in Jackson began "bailing out" as you put it. The leaders of these churches obviously understand that different people believe differently and that your actions had nothing to do with stopping abortion and were simply mean-spirited.
I wonder what kind of reaction you would have if people came to one of your rallies and burned a Bible, a book sacred to Christians?
You should be ashamed of yourselves. What's next the Tor'ah and Talmut? Or shall it be the Sutras of Buddhism? Or the Shastra of Hinduism?
You should re-read your Bible, you've obviously missed Jesus' real message.
Thank you for your time.
By reading this email you might guess that I know a little about world religions. I do. It’s one of my hobbies. I believe that religion is the single worst idea mankind ever invented and it is singularly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people throughout history. I dare say that history continues to back up that statement.
Nevertheless, I support the idea of freedom and I believe all people should be free to believe and worship as they each see fit.
I received a response from someone named Brenda at OSA this morning. Ms. Brenda did not have the courtesy to sign her last name. (What is it with people and manners these days?)
Brenda’s response begins as follows:
I appreciate your polite statement of disagreement with Operation Save America.
Operation Save America has taken a strong stand against Islam for the following reasons:
Islam is a liar and the spirit of the Antichrist. Adherents of that religion suggest Allah and Jehovah are the same God, yet deny that Jesus is Lord.
“Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:22-23)
Islam has said that Jesus was a prophet, not the Son of God, and certainly not God! Muslims become extremely angry when Christians suggest that there is a triune God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). However, the Bible tells us that when Philip asked Jesus to show the disciples the heavenly Father, Jesus responded, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”(John 14:8-9)
Of Islam it can truly be said: “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
The fruit of Islam is death and destruction. From its beginnings when Muhammad was having people assassinated, forcing them to pay tributes and initiating countless battles, to this present day, Islam has always been a violent religion.
Islam is beginning to exact its toll on Europe. See See photos of Muslims marching in the streets of London (sent in a separate email). Our government officials seem unwilling to shut the doors to Muslim immigrants and our country is practicing the religion of Tolerance. 9-11 was the fruit of Islam. We can expect more of the same.
In more than two dozen countries where Islam is the majority religion, Muslims are persecuting, imprisoning, torturing, raping, bombing, and beheading Christians and members of non-Islamic religions in the name of Allah. See list below.
Her email goes on to list various countries and what Islam is alleged to have done:
1) Afghanistan 99% Islam. Before the U.S. stepped in, Muslim Taliban government had declared it the responsibility of eldest son to kill family member who converts to Christianity. Many restrictions were placed on Afghan men and especially on women who were not allowed to leave their homes for work or education.
2) Algeria 99.5% Islam. Members of Islamic Salvation Front have been known to march through town and slit the throats of anyone who has not lived up to their call to Islamic extremism.
3) Bangladesh 88.3% Islam. Christian believers are often denied access to public water wells by Muslims, and many have been forced from their homes and beaten by Muslim mobs.
4) Brunei 67.2% Islam. Christian leaders expelled 1991, Christian literature banned 1992. It is illegal to evangelize Muslims.
5) Comoro Islands 99% Muslim. All religious expression, other than Islam, is forbidden.
She lists a total of 27 countries and examples. I found #5 interesting since the burning of the Qu’ran essentially sends the same message. In fact, Brenda’s entire email leads me to believe that if OSA had its way, these examples would be turned around completely. Perhaps it would be the Muslims denied access to water in Bangladesh by Christians.
Unfortunately I have seen the kind of vitriolic hatred before as I see in the first part of Brenda’s reply. I see it today in Christians hatred and fear of gays. We’ve seen it in the early Roman’s hatred and fear of early Christians. We’ve seen it in the crusades of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries when Christian soldiers hunted and murdered Muslims in the Holy Land. History is replete with example of one religious group hating and murdering a different group.
We see religious intolerance toward other religions and toward anyone who does not believe the way this group or that group believes every day and I submit to you that NONE of these “believers”, be they Christian, Jew, Muslim or whatever, have absorbed the true message of their religions. If they had they would not embarrass and denigrate themselves with this ugly display of intolerance.
To quote a popular bumper sticker “HATE IS NOT A FAMILY VALUE”. It’s also not a value that either Jesus or Mohammed endorsed. I did not check all 27 of Brenda’s round the world assertions but I’ve no doubt that she may well be correct. Islam is not exempt from being intolerant to people who believe differently any more than OSA and its members are. The worldwide epidemic of hatred blinds many people to the fact that we have to find a way to live with one another on this tiny oasis in space.
Gandhi is credited with having said “an eye for an eye making the whole world blind”. Gandhi was a wise man…a great proponent of peace. He was murdered for that belief.
I wrote a reply to Brenda this morning:
Thank you for your reply. Would it were more fact and less preaching. I appreciate your beliefs as you stated them but please realize that not everyone in the world believes as you do. And that doesn't make them bad people. It makes them people that believe differently and that's all.
You list all of the Islamic countries and what they have done and yet you seem to wish to become just like them by burning their books and denying their right to believe as they choose. How quickly we seem to have forgotten the days of the crusades when Christian warriors murdered thousands of Muslims in the Holy Land, all in the name of God. I grant you that happened hundreds of years ago, but you sound as though you wish those days to return. One could argue, considering current events, that the world is seeing the resurgence of the crusades. Would that not make us as bad as them?
I would submit to you that according to the Bible, your place is not to judge, that right is reserved to Jesus and God. I understand the feeling the events that you've described must imbue. I understand the anger and hurt caused but God has his own way and his own warriors.
As for 9/11, those Muslins lost the true lesson of Islam just as you have lost the true message of the Bible. I'm sure you disagree with me. In this country you are free do to so. However, I do not see you as a bad or evil person because you believe differently than I. I speak to all organizations (and I've written hundred of emails like this) when they show intolerance and hatred toward their brothers and sisters. Judge me if you must but in the end you should know that your judgment does not matter.
I bid you peace.
I doubt my words will get through to Brenda. I don’t expect them to. But if I had one wish, it would be that we stop seeing the differences and start seeing the similarities. I know that sounds utopian and naïve. I’m not stupid, mankind is built on mistrust, hatred, war but if there is a message in the religions of the world I seriously doubt those vices were meant to be their key tenets.
I bid you peace.