Wednesday, August 18, 2010


For the record...I'm opposed to Muslims [?] who hate Christians AND Christians [?] who hate Muslims. For that matter I'm also opposed to Atheists who hate Christians AND Christians [?] who hate Atheists. You can add to that the fact that I'm opposed to homosexuals who hate Christians AND Christians [?] who hate homosexuals. I'm even opposed to citizens who hate President Obama AND citizens who hate George Bush. You get the point I'm sure!!

Really the point to me is that too many people are known today as much for their hatred as they are a personally held belief system and it is the hatred that seems to be driving so many rather than any sane, sensible, good arguments for what they believe. So our society ends up being far more characterized by hatred rather than the differing beliefs held by its people.

Take as an example the proposed Mosque being built near the site of the 9-11 Terrorists tragedy. [Ground Zero no one need define.] I've read a few good and bad arguments for the construction of the Mosque. But I've read many arguments on both sides that are tainted with a degree of hatred that is, to me at least, unacceptable. I don't think I need to identify the hate filled ones. Why give them another opportunity to reveal their disgusting and non-useful negative emotion of hatred!!

I would rather give you an example of some fair and insightful arguments from BOTH sides. But I'm thinking you will find, as I did, that these are from totally unexpected sources. Both writers surprised me with their arguments but neither dishonored the whole event of 9-11 with venomous words or ideas or any vicious attitudes toward those who might disagree.

One is opposed to the Mosque being built. He is Abdul Rahman al-Rashid, the
left-leaning director of al-Arabiya TV and former editor of London's Arab daily,
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. Abdul Raham al-Rashid said this...

"I cannot imagine that Muslims want a mosque on this particular site, because it will be turned into an arena for promoters of hatred, and a symbol of those who committed the crime. At the same time, there are no practicing Muslims in the district who need a place of worship, because it is indeed a commercial district. . . . The last thing Muslims want today is to build just a religious center out of defiance to others, or a symbolic mosque that people visit as a museum next to the site".

"The battle against the 11 September terrorists is a Muslim battle and this battle still is ablaze in more than 20 Muslim countries. Some Muslims will consider that building a mosque on this site immortalizes and commemorates what was done by the terrorists who committed their crime in the name of Islam. I do not think that the majority of Muslims want to build a symbol or a worship place that tomorrow might become a place about which the terrorists and their Muslim followers boast or which
will become a shrine for Islam haters whose aim is to turn the public opinion against Islam."

The other side is represented by Columnist Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post Writers group who is is often featured on the Oklahomans Editorial page where I read her speaking in favor of the building of the Mosque. Here is only a portion of what she said.

[Parker wrote about the killings of the writers of cartoons and film makers ridiculing Mohammad by Islamic extremists because their sensitivities were offended and their using anger and violence to stop it. She was pointing out the obvious wrongness of such action by anyone because "feelings were hurt." She then continued with this.]

"The idea that one should never have one's feelings hurt__and has a right to resort to violent means in the protecting of their self-regard__ has done harm rivaling evil."

"This is why plans for the Mosque at ground zero should be allowed to proceed if this is what Muslims want...We teach tolerance by being tolerant. We can't insist that our freedom of speech allows us to draw cartoons of Mohammad or make films that Muslims find offensive, and then demand that they be more sensitive to our feelings."

"More to the point, the tolerance we urge the Muslim world to embrace as we exercise our right to free expression is the very same we must embrace when Muslims seek to express themselves peacefully."

Now whether you agree or disagree with either argument, you have to admit it is the arguments they present that you wind up dealing with and not the emotions or antics of silly people who can't express their ideas without revealing their anger and hatred for those who might disagree. It is the silly people I'm learning to avoid on blogs, Internet social sites, editorial pages or wherever they might attempt to persuade others with their ideas, whose value is lost,I think, by their creating an atmosphere of anger.

[Please don't try to quote the incident of Jesus getting angered by the money-changers in the Temple to show that some anger is right. When I see someone giving themselves to the betterment of all kinds of people as did Jesus who was ultimately willing to die on their behalf, I'll not be opposed to whatever anger they show. I promise. It will be the righteous kind.]

Paul B.


Ramesh said...

NYT > Op-ED > The Muslims in the Middle

Todd said...

Good piece Paul.

I find Southern Baptists who place such an emphasis on the meaning of words have made two mistakes before even considering religious freedom and the issue that is whipping up anger on both sides. First. it is not a mosque that is proposed but a community center; an important distinction. Second, it is not "on" ground zero.

Regardless of one's opinion, to continue to talk about it as if it were a mosque on ground zero is to undermine the position that words means something. Our failure here loses credibility when we want to make assertions from our Sacred Text.

Peace to you friend.

Aussie John said...


I, for one, am grateful for your words.

Ignorant Christians can be as reprehensible, as ignorant Muslims.

I have had far more dealings with ignorant Christians than I care to remember, as, no doubt, many other Christians have.

Sadly, by far the majority of Christians, have, like myself had very little, if any, experience with ignorant Muslims.

I suspect that many ignorant Christians, like many ignorant Muslims, have no idea what they are talking about, because their ignorance has been fueled by fundamentalist leadership and writing which has never born the scrutiny of Scripture, nor a genuine Berean attitude.

How swiftly ignorance fires its darts, even worse, it fires at imaginary targets!

Paul Burleson said...


I apologize but your comment was accidently deleted while I was trying to figure out my new google blog comment section. If you would repost it I will not make that same mistake again. Thanks for stopping by.

Paul Burleson said...


You are correct and thanks for pointing out the misstated phrase "on ground zero" It will be corrected in the post. It is "near" ground zero.

The articles I have do say a mosque is included in the building to be built but I'll check the accuracy of that. Again, thanks and stop by often.

Rex Ray said...

If we didn’t like what was being said when we were kids we asked, “Are you bragging or complaining?”

In a sense, that question could be asked on a lot of issues – like Obama telling how many mosques and Muslims are in America.

There’s already an existing mosque near Ground Zero; why do they want another one a few hundred feet closer? Why won’t they reveal the source of money to build?

I believe people have a right to smoke, but that right ends were my nose begins, and two blocks from Ground Zero smells to me.

If that’s hate, then so be it.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

Now this is one of those quotes worth keeping..."How swiftly ignorance fires its darts, even worse, it fires at imaginary targets!"

Paul Burleson said...


I think you know there can be difference of opinions as my post shows. There can also be a "where my nose begins" line drawn when one desires people not do certain actions.

But I also think you know hatred when you see it. I hope you do anyway. I do.

Christiane said...


Sometimes people think that it is 'okay' to hate those that are different from them, especially if they see their 'leaders' doing the same.

So often, I wonder that if these people could get to know those who are 'different', it would not be so.

The 'leaders' do something evil: they spread 'lies' about the objects of their own intolerance. When we see the 'lies' being told, we know that the leader is not serving Christ as Master and Lord.

Rex Ray said...

Yes, I know hate when I see it, but I also know when we should be scared.

We can see the growth of Islam in the world. They do not come to America to be Americans but to be Muslims.

A CNN poll showed 68% of Americans opposed the mosque.

Sarah Palin said the mosque is unnecessary provocation; it stabs hearts.

Newt Gingrich said there should be no mosque near Ground Zero so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.

He also said America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the mosque would degrade or disrespect the site.

Mike Huckabee asked whether supporters of the project believed “we can offend Americans and Christians, but not foreigners and Muslims.”

Mike Romney said the mosque was against the wishes of the families of the deceased and had potential for extremists to use the mosque for global recruiting and propaganda.

On the other hand, President Obama said, “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in the country and that includes the right to build a place of worship on private property in Lower Manhattan.”

His remarks came last Friday at a White House dinner marking Ramadan, the Islamic holy month.

Of this group, wonder who would win a contest of: ‘Will the real Muslim stand up?’

Paul Burleson said...


Your point about leaders lying is well taken.

For me it is that I've gotten to know the One who is Himself Truth and it has changed my approach to people who are different than myself... radically. He is the one who said something about loving even enemies.

I realize this is not the standard for any culture including the American one, but it is a Kingdom standard isn't it!!


The people you've named present their argument that the Mosque should NOT be built and why.

Kathleen Parker and several other writers and some politicians I've read present their arguments that it SHOULD be built and why.

That's the way it should be in our nation. Laws and right of ways must be observed for it to be done legally. Sensitivity and ideas about propriety should be debated.

My point is that anger and fear have no proper place in a civilized debate amoung people. But I think we've lost that civility.

I'm not speaking as a preacher here but as a citizen. It takes a radical change of heart for the agape kind of love to be present in people but ANY citizen can choose to be civil.

Rex Ray said...

I agree with the object of your post about people debating with love and being civil. The main issue of Ground Zero is not about what is legal, but sensitivity.

A man was so drunk he ran a stop sign and into a yard. Then at high speed, he lost control and hit my mother’s car that was half in the ditch trying to avoid him. Local paper’s headlines: “Woman kills man”.

She was in a wheelchair her last eighteen years. I believe I would feel like Ground Zero’s victim’s families if a liquor advertisement was placed next to my mother’s grave.

Paul Burleson said...


That is basically the argument that those opposed to the Mosque are making.

Proponents make a different argument...even about sensitivities.

I haven't stated which side I agree with yet and the reason is because, as correctly pointed out in your first sentence, the point of my post is the attitude displayed by many on both sides.

I DO have my personal view of the correctness or non-correctness of it being built, but my position on that wasn't at all relevant to the subject of this post.

Rex Ray said...

You’re right that talking about Ground Zero is NOT the subject, but in a way I believe you ‘hijacked’ your own post by the example of Ground Zero and the friction with Muslims. Your post of 751 words had 623 words of quotes or communication about the ‘off topic issue’.

That was like putting desert on the table with the main course in front of kids. And when I got Obama into the ‘battle’, that was ice cream. :)

BTW, this week our local paper had: “White House says Obama is Christian, prays daily”. (I wonder in what direction.)

News said today (Sunday) there will be a protest gathering at Ground Zero. Critics might say they should be in church, but some may be there to stand for Jesus – “where two or three are gathered…”.

Anonymous said...

I don't really want this posted. Just want to say I appreciate your words about ubiquitous hatred in today's world--the "if you're not like me, if you don't agree with me, you're wrong" ways of many are most distressing.

Secondly--because I am a former teacher--I have to say it's means it is and its is a possessive pronoun. One never says, "they are to tell us of it's truth." but says its truth. It may be that your editor has one of those "auto correct" features that is chnging your writing. I know that happens to me sometimes and when I read it after I hit post, I think, "Oh no!" Just thought you'd want to know because you are a very good writer to whom I think "correct" matters. Keep blogging--you have a great message.

Paul Burleson said...


Hmmmmmmm. You said this ..."You’re right that talking about Ground Zero is NOT the subject, but in a way I believe you ‘hijacked’ your own post by the example of Ground Zero and the friction with Muslims." Your words indication to me that you and I, Rex, may be two ships passing in the night without any knowledge where the other one is in the conversation.

"Talking about ground zero and friction with Muslims" IS, IN FACT, the subject of my post. That's the entire context of it. But..NOT whether a Mosque SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be built. The subject of the post is.. AS WE TALK..about whether it SHOULD.. or SHOULD built, we seem to be unable to show respect for the opposing side. So both sides wind up showing anger and hatred in the discussion.

My point doesn't have to be this way as my two examples from opposing sides show and Hmmmmm....oh forget it. I think I'll just put up another post we can disagree about without ever getting the point of the post. Who knows..maybe you and I are predestined to the two ships thing. :)

Aussie John said...


Dove World Outreach Center plans to hold a “Burn Quaran Day” on September the 11th.

Their Senior Pastor says,"We believe that God is calling a new generation in this end time – a generation of believers that is yielded to his Word and his will."


His sermons must be interesting, because I can confidently say that none of the several versions of the Bible in my library, would condone such immature behavior.

How about an "Invite a Muslim for a Barbecue Day", or, "Show the Love of Christ to a Muslim Day?

Just as well Hudson Taylor didn't act so stupidly, or, William Carey!

Rex Ray said...

“Ships that pass in the night” huh? Hey! That’s better than having a collision!

I found the Baptist Standard
interesting on the subject of Ground Zero. A person that gave his name or reference as “Muslim” gave a link:

I believe the very informed individual (Keith Olbermann) is a good example of the subject of your post on “hate”. He had so much information and pictures that it could have taken days to put it together. I learned a lot. He talked so long I started to stop because his attitude made my skin crawl. At the end there were pictures of an existing Muslim church in a small basement near Ground Zero. Olbermann wanted people to feel sorry for this church, but the question arises: Why would such a church need a hundred million dollar building and the alarming question; WHO will pay for the Mosque?

Paul, if any money came from ‘overseas’, would that tell WHO is building Mosques all over America?

Rex Ray said...

Back to my “ice cream”: How does this sound to you?