Symbolism is important in all religions. That’s something I think many secular people fail to understand (certainly all those advocating for a mosque at the site of the 9/11 destruction).
To that crowd we can now add those hand-wringers worried about the Quran burning planned by a Florida church. The “don’t make any trouble for me” ruling elites are well represented: Gen. David Petraeus, Attorney General “We don’t prosecute black-on-white voter intimidation” Eric Holder and New York City’s top cop:
“Police Commissioner Ray Kelly sided with Gen. Petraeus last night, calling a planned burning of Qurans on the anniversary of Sept. 11, ‘unwise’ and ‘un-American’ during the 9/11 Museum and Memorial’s fundraising dinner at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan Tuesday night.”
Did you catch that? Top cop is out raising funds to build a mosque at the 9/11 site. Maybe he will help to implement Shariah law, too? (Oh, and dissent is un-American!)
What ever happened to all the elitist claptrap about “I disagree with you, but will defend to the death your right to say it,” by the free-speech, Christ-submerged-in-urine, political left? It seems to me like they are way too quick to stand up for Islam’s god. Do they honestly think they will hold their positions in an Islamic society? Why, if the left had any integrity, they would be sending feminists to burn burqas at the Quran fire!
If the “elites” think so highly of the Islamic god, perhaps they should let him take care of the Quran burning by himself? In Old Testament history, there are many instances of God showing his power in a manner that was clear and unambiguous to the people of that time. The 9/11 Quran burn reminds me of two instances in particular.
In both cases, the Jews had abandoned their God and were under the thumb of cruel leaders from other lands, who worshiped other gods, governed in accordance with the foreign god’s dic-tates and oppressed the people for everything they could get out of them.
The first instance is in the book of Judges. Gideon was a rebellious nobody, who thought God was talking to him. Being also a prudent nobody, Gideon asked to see God’s bona fides, before he took action.God humored him.
Gideon’s initial act of rebellion against the foreign god was local: He tore down an alter to Baal, the governing elite’s god. Note who Gideon was afraid of: his own townsfolk. So he did the deed at night:
27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the day-time.
28 In the morning when the men of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!
29 They asked each other, “Who did this?” When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”
30 The men of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”
31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.”
32 So that day they called Gideon “Jerub-Baal,” saying, “Let Baal contend with him,” because he broke down Baal’s altar (Judges 6, 27-32 NIV).
The second Old Testament person who comes to mind is Elijah. The context is similar: The Jews had wandered off God’s religious reservation, their leaders had killed or imprisoned most of God’s spokesmen (prophets), and the bulk of the Jews were “going along to get along” (the alternative being death).
God tells Elijah that it’s time to confront Ahab, one of history’s more wicked rulers. Not a pleasant task. But Eli-jah obviously has a following in the nation.
In the end, Ahab and Elijah agree on a public test to determine which god is worthy of the nation’s allegiance: One of God’s prophets against 450 of Baal’s prophets. The test is really quite straightforward. Each camp prepares a sacrificial bull, and asks their god to light the alter and roast it.
The story has elements of considerable humor, as Elijah spurs Baal’s prophets onward to-ward greater efforts, after they’d been working all morning:
27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”
28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed (1 Kings 18, 27-28 NIV).
No luck, however. So finally Elijah takes his turn. He rebuilds God’s disused alter, prepares the sacrifice, and asks God’s assistance:
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.
37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench (1 Kings 18, 36-38 NIV).
So I think the long list of America’s self-imagined elites should chill out about the Quran burning. Take the advice Gideon’s dad rendered, and let the god of Islam contend for himself.
That would be good advice for Islam’s more militant followers, too.