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Islamic orthodoxy is showing its consistency in Afghanistan.

According to reports, the nation’s Taliban rulers “have ordered men to wear beards, restricted pornography, outlawed alcohol, forbidden recorded music, staged public executions, and stoned thieves to death.” The Taliban have gone even further by destroying all the nation’s statues, especially those depicting Buddha. For the outside world, these works of art are seen as national historical treasures that should be preserved.

Mullah Mohammad Omar doesn’t understand what the fuss is all about: “We do not understand why everyone is so worried. All we are breaking are stones.” Of course, one could ask, “Since they’re only stones, then what’s the harm?” Such logic cuts both ways.

Personally, I don’t understand the outrage.

We’ve been purging our land of religious icons for decades now. A federal judge in Grand Rapids, Mich., ordered a public school to remove a portrait of Jesus that had been on display for 30 years.

Court battles are fought every year over whether images of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph should be part of a Christmas display. In fact, the purge is so complete that “Christmas” has been expunged from the lips of every government school official. It’s “Winter Holiday.” Before too long, even “holi (holy) day” will make it to the memory hole.

One wonders how an official from UNESCO can be shocked at “iconoclastic determination” in Afghanistan, but nary an eyebrow is raised when, for example, the town of Oak Park, Ill., blocked a private Catholic hospital from erecting a cross on its own smokestack because some local residents would be offended. Apparently, some local residents in Afghanistan are offended at the domineering presence of the Buddha.

Then there’s the Federal appeals court in Chicago that declared that the city seal of Zion, Ill., had to be changed. It seems that people were upset with the words “God Reigns.” Another idol bites the dust. In Idaho, the ACLU sued to remove religious references from public monuments and memorials.

Nearly every major media outlet has carried the story of how Islamic Afghan rulers are destroying Buddhist treasures. Not one report I read made the connection that such purges are routine in America.

Most Americans have accepted such “iconoclastic determination” as a legitimate function of the law. And yet, the Muslims are portrayed as the extremists. How dare they impose their religious views on society.

But it’s done everyday in America.


American Vision and author of “America’s Christian History.”

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