Juxtaposed views.

I’ve already discussed the proposed Quran burning for this weekend by Dove Outreach in Florida.

To make matters more interesting, or worse – depending upon how you look at it – apparently the church has worked together at least once before with Fred Phelp’s Westboro Baptists (according to a radio interview given by a local talk show with Mr. Jones). On top of that, material about their own in-house ministerial training has been made known. And lastly, Pastor Jones’ prior church in Germany has come out condemning his intentions. He says that he won’t do it if Obama tells him, yet on the other hand he feels he has to do it.

I reiterate, the whole thing is unnecessary, poor taste and I believe, rather un-Christian.

On the flip side, we have Imam Rauf, of the “Victory Mosque” (or GZ Mosque) who says on one hand that had he known the kerfuffle this would cause, he’d not have gone forth; yet, on the other hand, if it isn’t done, we could well provoke another or more attacks and violence from the Islamic world.

Do you see the common thread? Damned if you do or you don’t. And that is the issue here, specifically with Islamists, those who hold to the literal application of Islam, a fairly aggressive and violent view. No matter what you say or do, whether to placate or to spite, you offend. Frankly, Islam carries a huge chip on its shoulder, and it rests on the very foundations it wishes to destroy (Christianity and Judaism). It is easily offended and slighted; diplomacy is thru strength, not mere words.

Pastor Jones has a legal right to burn the Qurans, just as Imam Rauf has a legal right to build his mosque. Both men are aiming to send a message about Islam and Christianity, about the US and Islamic nations. And both are wrong.

Concerning Mr. Jones, it’s apparent that he – and maybe the church he’s pastoring as well – is on the Christian fringe, possibly even cultic (if the ministerial booklet is true), but the effect on the Church as a whole remains, a tarnish to our witness by one who considers himself a Christian and doing things for Christ. It is looking like he’s more interested in tearing down another religion instead of building up Christ, standing on First Amendment rights first, instead of standing on Christ’s love first.

As for Imam Rauf, there’s enough known about him to see that he is a “mainstream” Muslim. Put that together with the vitriol in the Islamic world surrounding this Quran burning issue, never mind the fact that the Westboro cult has already burned Qurans (and say they’ll do it again if Dove doesn’t)… but then, we already figured it was par for their course, so it didn’t get the media coverage.

Feel free – I urge you to – do your own research on Imam Rauf.

I think the real thing we need to come away with from here is not that Islam, Muslims, the Islamists have won; rather, that we need to focus our attention and hearts differently. Up. We’ve got politicians, generals and liberals on one hand preaching weak-handed, “friendly” diplomacy, ignorant or unwilling to face reality. We’ve got Christians putting man’s laws and our nation before God and the Gospel; and we’ve got Muslims around the world who’ll claim victory no matter what, unless they’re obliterated (and still even then… 72 virgins) or converted.

I agree with one article I came across. 9-11 should be pray for Muslims day, not burn the quran day. If the politicians, leftists and generals would stop thinking they can appease Islamists by sucking up, and if Christians would stop making Americana their idol maybe we’d actually begin to see some real changes in how the Islamic world reacts to us.

They respect a strong horse. They demand a strong horse. And that goes for Christians too. We must be firm in our faith, but we are not called to offend. The Gospel is offensive. Let it alone be a stumbling block, not burning revered books as a test or a point. That isn’t being a strong horse, that’s being a weak horse, just as sure as a bully is weak. Islamists are bullies, but to beat them at their own game, you have to take the high ground, always, and with that, control the field. Our politicians, generals, liberals and many Christians as well as many Americans have failed in this aspect for decades.

Islam and the Islamists have not won, and the juxtaposed points of Rauf and Jones don’t prove it either. Christ has already won. Remember that first, and always, and everything else falls into line.

– Update, Thursday evening, well, at least someone is reasonable. Mr. Jones has backed down, er, maybe not. He’s shelving it, not canceling it. The imam, not so much.

— This diary has been previously posted on my own personal blog.