October 15, 2002

I Want to Stuff a

I Want to Stuff a Boot Up Jerry Falwell's Ass

For those not familiar with Jerry Falwell, let me quickly highlight some of his latest gems. Ol' Jerry had the audacity to ascend the pulpit after 9/11 and insist that the attacks, although clearly carried out by terrorists, which he denounced, God may have allowed the tragedy to happen because America had lapsed into moral decay. For Ol' Jerry, moral decay was a direct result of the actions carried out by the ACLU, abortionists, feminists, homosexuals, and the People For the American way. So, there you have it, God was so mad at America's civil liberties, the nation's tolerance of alternative lifestyles, and women who have the gall to actually want equality with men, he allowed the terrorists to strike on 9/11. Excuse me while I roll my eyes and yell "Up yours, Jerry Falwell!" at the top of my lungs.

Not surprisingly, Falwell's remarks were not well-received by the vast majority of Americans, and he quickly backed down, offering an apology and slinking away in true whipped-dog fashion, in order to buy time and come up with a different enemy at which to point fingers. The ever-resourceful Jerry found Islam, and the Islamic world has been railing against Falwell ever since, adding fodder to an already unpopular Islamic view of America as a nation intent on the annihilation of the Muslim faith.

Yes, Jerry found Islam, and he has been sharpening his attacks against the 1.3 billion adherent religion in the hopes of, well, I don't know what his hopes are (*cough, cough* *MONEY!* *cough, cough*). Jerry provides a wealth of ammunition to support his position that Islam is evil, and then he offers up a little piece of commentary of his own. I don't know about you, but I wanted to rake my eyes out as I read what he had to say. But, since I need my eyes, I decided instead to rake over Jerry's words.

Behind The Scenes at The Southern Baptist Convention,
St. Louis, Missouri

By Jerry Falwell

This week's annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention was met with some unexpected fireworks after my friend Dr. Jerry Vines, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., declared that Muhammad was a "demon-possessed pedophile" and that Islam teaches the destruction of all non-Muslims.

Let's see, you attack a world religion, calling it a faith conjured by a "demon-possessed pedophile" and you don't expect fireworks? That's like having unprotected sex with 800 Thai prostitutes and not expecting HIV. Give me a break. He knew exactly what he was saying and he knew exactly what the media fallout would be. It was a test balloon to see how well-received the Falwell anti-Islam stance would be.

If you want to raise the ire of the mainstream press and the swarm of politically-correct organizations in this nation, just criticize Islam (as Dr. Vines learned).

Didn't I just say that?

Dr. Vines' statements were made in reference to the new book, "Unveiling Islam: An Insider's Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs" (Kregel Publications). It is written by scholars Ergun and Emir Caner, brothers raised as Muslims who are today dynamic and outspoken Christians. Ergun is assistant professor of theology and church history at Criswell College in Dallas, while Emir is assistant professor of church history and Anabaptist studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.

Always preface an unpopular and narrow-minded view by trotting out so-called experts with glowing credentials. Everyone knows that professors are authoritative sources for everything, particularly when they hail from such honored and well-known universities as Criswell College (it's homeschooler friendly!) and the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. By the way, Criswell College had a Web hit counter that had 681 visitors, including me. What does that say about their enrollment? Anyone can have glowing credentials if they have a little imagination and a gift for bullshitting. For example, I could be "Ryan Rhodes, a journalist of four years and an award winning columnist, honored by the Minnesota Better newspaper Contest for two years." All of that is true, but all of that doesn't mean a lick of shit.

Dr. Vines also quoted from the Hadith, a respected source for Islamic teaching among Muslim clerics and followers worldwide. Upon examination, the Hadith verifies that Muhammad did marry the nine-year-old daughter of a friend. The girl, named Aisha, became known as the "mother of believers."

"It's simply a matter of quoting [Islamic] sources," said Emir Caner. "If we are wrong in our understanding of the Islamic scriptures, we would be happy to be corrected."
The specific Hadith citation concerning Muhammad's relationship with the young girl is in volume 7, book 6, number 64 and 65, said Ergun Caner. (Both Emir and Ergun Caner were Sunni Muslims who became Christians in 1982.)

Oh, well, as long as we're quoting sources, let's consult our own Bible, you know, the one where Abraham had sex with Hagar, his wife's slave, the one with Solomon and his many wives and his fling with the Queen of Sheba, and the one that hints that masturbation may make you blind (then how come I can still see? Huh? Huh?).

"The comments in question cannot be considered bigotry when they come from Islamic writings," Ergun said during a press conference hosted by Baptist Press in St. Louis.

Yes, yes, I get it. You're quoting Islamic writings. Lousy Hadith-thumpers.

A lengthy passage from the Hadith, volume 1, book 1, chapter 1, shows that Muhammad himself believed he was under demonic influence, but it notes that Muhammad's wife is the one who deemed his experience as "divine," said Ergun.

Concerning terrorism and Islamic jihad, Emir noted differential interpretations by Muslims themselves. Some, he said, see jihad as a "spiritual war," while others see it as meaning "physical," he said.

Well, it took awhile, but we're finally here. We've finally bit into the meat of the issue: jihad. Just saying it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, like licking the back of your hand after working in a garden. Therefore, it's the perfect word from which to sew the seeds of hate for an entire religion. So, let's get to it. Jerry, back to you.

"Some Muslims want to allegorize their own scriptures because they don't want to defend jihad," Emir said. "But if you take the Koran at its word, or Muhammad at his word, then you'll find physical jihad." In fact, he noted, the highest level of Muslim heaven — which has 70 perpetual virgins on couches — is reserved for Muslims who "shed their blood" (Hadith 135). Islam's inclination toward violence, he added, also is reflected in the Koran: "Slay the enemy where you find him (Surah 9.92).

Christianity has a similar word. It's called crusade, although we haven't invoked the term for quite awhile. And again with the virgins. Gotta mention the virgins. All 70 of them. The Christian crusaders were also promised a life in Heaven (absent the virgins) should they fall on the battlefield, so we're not all that different after all. And do I have to mention the now-defunct selling of indulgences?

Dr. Vines was simply pointing out these distinctions. Since the media so often treats the Muslim religion with utter reverence — something we Baptists are unfamiliar with — he felt it was important that SBC members understand these distinctions. If those in the media were doing their jobs, Dr. Vines would have never felt it necessary to point out these disquieting elements of an enigmatic religion.

Just for the record, the media does not treat the Muslim religion with utter reverence. The media, as far as I can tell, has been trying to draw distinctions between Islam and militant Islamic fundamentalists, not unlike the distinction between Christians and the Ku Klux Klan. They're not one and the same, no matter how much Jerry wants America to believe all Muslims are bloodthirsty Christian-haters willing to blow themselves up in front of nightclubs at a moment's notice.

Ergun Caner observed an element of hypocrisy in the quest to portray Islam as a peaceful religion: "A so-called Christian who bombs an abortion clinic or shoots an abortionist and says God told him to do it does that act against the Bible," he said. "But the Muslim who commits acts of violence in jihad does so with the approval of Muhammad. … When September 11 happened, we were all shocked. But where was the international outrage when jihad killed three million people (Christian people, I might add) in Sudan?"

No level-headed dissertation via Falwell would be complete without an abortion reference, so there you go. As for the Sudanese mention, I have to agree that the situation there is grim, but that's a civil war, not terrorism.

A major element in the SBC — under the leadership of newly-elected president, Dr. Jack Graham — will be that of "Empowering Kingdom Growth." This major ministry initiative encourages SBC members to humbly seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. This means we will accelerate our efforts to take the Gospel to all people — including Muslims. We do not do this as a form of "hate," as some charge. We do this because we want others to know the peace that comes solely through a relationship with Jesus Christ — "For He Himself is our peace…" (Ephesians 2:14).

What the hell is this all about? Weren't we discussing how evil Islam is? Talk about changing the subject. If this were a movie, this would be where the actor haphazardly interjects a product placement.

Among other actions, SBC messengers also called for churches and civil authorities to hold accountable clergy members guilty of sexual abuse. Another resolution calls for President Bush to place a "high priority" on enacting a ban on partial-birth abortion. And the SBC's North American Mission Board challenged members to consider their personal role in the "Go" part of the Great Commission by personally participating in mission trips during 2003.

Cruising right along, we're treated to a passing reference to holding clergy members accountable for sexual abuse. You'd think he would have made a bit of a bigger deal out of this, what with all the ink he dedicated to "Muhammed marrying Aisha, the nine-year-old daughter of a friend." Apparently, the irony is lost on Jerry.

The Southern Baptist Convention is a denomination of 16 million people who are serious about their calling to be representatives of Jesus Christ. While we do not receive the kind and gentle treatment that most other socially-acceptable denominations enjoy, we are committed to boldly speaking Truth in love to the peoples of this world.

Awwwww, you don't receive the kind and gentle treatment of other denominations. Awwwww. That's just too fucking bad. Do you want some cheese and crackers with your whine? Welcome to the church of Tiffani Amber-Thiessen.

And I am gratified to have a part in this great effort.

*Whoosh! Whump! Squish!* I have virtually, through the magic of the Internet, inserted a dirty old boot in the cyber-ass of Jerry Falwell. And I feel much, much better.

Posted by Ryan at October 15, 2002 01:35 PM
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