Image: Chris Tilling
Much as I hate to give this woman this much attention, I find it increasingly necessary to respond to her actions. Regardless of the headline of the day and what it may or may not have to do with her, Sarah Palin has to weigh in with her wealth of experience and wisdom. For once, I appreciate her suggesting that the Florida church halt their proposed burning of the Quran on 9/11, but much as I appreciate it, I find her rationale offensive and don't believe that she really means it. She refused to comment until she saw other Republicans suggest Pastor Jones cancel his plans, then decided to go all elder stateswoman. Pure political posturing. Her lack of understanding of the Middle East, its history, our history relative to it, and even our own Constitutional process is mind-boggling. If she had made her comment and left it at that, we would all be better off, but no, she has to keep talking and add fuel to the fire.
What Sarah and many others on the right do not understand, is that many (most?) in the Middle East do not understand American style democracy and freedom of speech. Most do not have a high level of education and what they do have, is received via clerics and weighted heavily towards a religious point of view (another point in favor of separation of church and state). This being the case, many in the Middle East do not understand that because of our freedom of speech, we are allowed to do all kinds of things that are offensive such as burn flags and burn books. Our leaders do not get to do anything about it. Unfortunately, the Arab world in large part believes that President Obama could do something about this proposed book burning if he wanted to and the fact that he does not means that he does not want to. The fact that they find the burning of the Quran - even the discussion of such - extremely offensive and, they believe, tacitly endorsed by the President, does more to undo the work of our forces than anything else that has happened in the entire duration of the war.
Now that combat operations in Iraq are over, the remaining troops are there to help support the government of Iraq and win the hearts and minds of the people. We are in Afghanistan to do the same. Somehow, Osama bin Laden, the true responsible party for 9/11, is rarely talked about.
Have we all forgotten that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan are Muslim? We love them while they are in their own country and are willing to spend billions of dollars and the lives of our young men and women protecting them, but unwilling to allow them to worship should they move to this one? I would bet that neither Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, or any of the others claiming that Islam is a religion of hate have actually read the Quran (and I wonder if they have actually read the Bible - the Bible itself is hard, they've probably depended on all the devotionals and readings provided by their pastors and churches to tell them what it says - it's the only explanation I can think of to explain the hatred coming out of a religion that says to love thy neighbor as thyself).
You'll note if you read any of the comments made by Palin's followers that they are as ignorant of Christianity as they are of Islam. They all speak with such authority of the Muslim religion not understanding that it is called Islam, and claim to speak for God (did you know so many people knew his thoughts?) yet spew speech that is so filled with hate and vitriol that I feel slimy after reading it. Definitely makes me ashamed to admit to being a Christian, although I doubt I would pass any of their "tests" since I haven't seen the inside of a church in too many years to count.
This latest Facebook post put up on behalf of Sarah Palin is excellent as an example of her inability to comprehend her own ignorance. Typical of her speech patterns, each sentence and paragraph negates the one before and demonstrates an inability to practice simple proof-reading or basic essay-writing skills. As I used to teach my students, writing a paper or an essay begins very simply; you say what you're going to say, say it, then say what you said. Within that frame, you then construct your argument, making sure that everything links to what went before and is summarized at the end. If not, take it out. Loaded speech and emotional terms distract from the message and tell the reader that you probably don't have evidence to support your argument if you have to depend on fallacies to make your point. Back to Sarah's Facebook "Updated" Facebook post asking Pastor Jones to stand down posted today which I refuse to link to. Go find it yourself if you want, I've copied the text below. I've bolded my response:
Update:Book burning is bad. But the Muslim cleric who is running for parliament in Afghanistan is calling for the murder of American children in response to scorched Korans, which is worse. Where is the media's focus?
Book burning is antithetical to American ideals. People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation – much like building a mosque at Ground Zero. [False equivalency. One has nothing to do with the other except for the fact that those wanting to build a community center 4-blocks from Ground Zero are Muslim and the Quran is their holy book. I have not heard them call for the deaths of anyone, children or otherwise.]
I would hope that Pastor Terry Jones and his supporters will consider the ramifications of their planned book-burning event. It will feed the fire of caustic rhetoric and appear as nothing more than mean-spirited religious intolerance. [Pot, kettle?] Don’t feed that fire. If your ultimate point is to prove that the Christian teachings of mercy, justice, freedom, and equality provide the foundation on which our country stands, then your tactic to prove this point is totally counter-productive.
Again, the foundations of our country are very specifically not Christian, in fact, the founders were not Christians and discussed that fact and decided and debated and put in the part about separation of church and state on purpose - look up the definition of deism. There is a strong thread of Christianity throughout American history pre- and post-revolution, but it is because of the religions forced on many of the colonists and the demands made by colonial leaders that their be a state religion that the writers of the Constition decided on such a strong separation between church and state - go read your history]
[freedom and equality? I was raised a Christian and have to tell you, there is no gender equality in early Christianity, and mercy? Not until the New Testament and still, look at Revelations...]
Our nation was founded in part by those fleeing religious persecution. Freedom of religion is integral to our charters of liberty. We don’t need to agree with each other on theological matters, but tolerating each other without unnecessarily provoking strife is how we ensure a civil society. [So why do you do it?] In this as in all things, we should remember the Golden Rule. Isn’t that what the Ground Zero mosque debate has been about?
[Do you know what the Gold Rule actually is? Why would you say that's what the mosque debate is about? Let's see, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Ummm. Let them build their community center so that if I purchase abandoned property 4-blocks away I can build mine without people like you interfering in my business for cheap political gain?]
- Sarah Palin[And the first comments at the time that I was at her page]
Nancy Harp: "Yeah... we just tolerate, right? Use gloves to touch their precious book that tells them to kill, kill; kill ... all that are not Muslim!! [sic]
Ila Waldstein: I like Sharon Tucker's idea..let all send parts or something made of pig's..they will go away then...can we get this thing going ?" [sic] [actually, this is sick]
Tim D. Rabara: "how can it get any worse than 9 11. these animals are trying to kill us everyday! It's okay for them to burn our flag and our bible in their own country but we can't do that here after what they've done to us and are still trying to do it e every day.they'll get over it.they're going to continue doing it no matter what we do.bin laden gets all his dummies to die for his cause and what's he doing? Running and hiding like the little coward that he is. he can't run forever.the muslim cleric needs to be locked up for life .shot by american firing squad would be nice! people or person need to remember where they're at and where they come from, America not afghanistan. thank you . i'm done for now." [sic]
Pamelia Doss: "it will do absolutely no good to be afraid of the muslems. the koran teaches them to wipe out the little satan which is Isreal and the big satan which is America. This is there plan and it does not matter what 1 person in America does. I am indeed a Christian. I have Moslem friends. They burn our flag and it is ok. Our Moslem president will never stand up for America. one time I read a book and in the last chapter it said 'IF they could get a moslem in the white house, America would fall from within'. I NEVER FORGOT THOSE WORDS! Wake up America, look for a crises to happen before the Nov elections. Stop, Look, and Listen. Pray and turn back to God" [sic]
Jan ODell: Good article. I hope the Pastor listens and hears. Praying for a nice rain storm from 7pm-9pm Sept 11 in Gainesville, FL would be a good start. Let God rain the book burning out." [sic]
Michelle Mcdonald: "Musslim Religion Koran/Qoran teaches kill all unbelievers of Islamic Alah. Murder is still illegal. This religion should not have a right to be worshipped ? Freedom of Religion or Freedom to MURDER ???The above posts are indicative of the over 2,000 that were received for this post alone. There were a few that disagreed, but the disagreement was mild - the posters having obviously learned how not to be immediately deleted - and slammed by others such as those above. They say that all Muslims want to do is "kill, kill, kill," yet all they can say about them is to "kill, kill, kill." How Christian of them.
Opposite/AntiChrist of... Jesus harmed no one. He made himself the sacrifice for our sin and now seated at... the right hand of God in glory." [sic]
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