Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Another Candidate for the Hall of Shame

News item: Evangelist Franklin Graham is peeved after being disinvited to the Pentagon Prayer Day observance.

Firstly, a prayer observance at the national warmonger headquarters? WTF? What are they planning to pray for, world peace? Or maybe something a little less noble?

Anyway, Graham vented his spleen to the right wing bunch at Newsmax.com, claiming that Obama's actions and words favor Islam over Christianity, and his own disinvitation was a "slap at all Evangelical Christians".

Graham has worked hard to earn his notoriety, taking a much more blustering tone than his famous father in attacking other religions. Billy Graham's son and successor doesn't get banned from a national prayer observance for trivial reasons.

The irony is, that Graham's ideal world vision of an American Theocracy closely mirrors that of fundamentalist Islam. In a classic case of projection and transferance, whatever evils Graham finds in Islam likely also exist in Christianity. Now consider the fact that both faiths claim to worship the same God (as do the Jews, which are scorned by both). Maybe this is one reason so many enlightened souls are shunning religion in any form and exploring the spiritual path.

Speaking of religious intolerance, Ross Douthat recently wrote in the New York Times that the popular Comedy Central series "South Park" has finally taken on one taboo too many. They added the prophet Mohammed to the league of religious icon superheroes as having "the powers of flame". Oops! The resulting death threats were taken seriously, and the offending episode was removed from distribution and any other reference to the Prophet in other episodes was bleeped out.

Douthat ponders what this suggests about the state of our institutions, since everything sacred but Islam is fair game for ridicule and mockery. He concludes that "if a violent fringe is capable of inspiring so much cowardice and self-censorship, it suggests that there's enough rot in our institutions that a stronger foe might be able to bring them crashing down."

The true irony is that the Western tradition of religious tolerance is challenged by a religion that many find distasteful due to its own intolerance. Reverend Graham and radical Islamic mullahs all concur on one major point: Religious tolerance is a bad thing when practiced on anyone but their own. They should get together and do lunch over an open Qur'an, and see what else they might have in common.

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