As it happens, a unique opportunity has presented itself in the form of simultaneous news stories, to compare side-by-side two clearly offensive actions aimed at two different religious groups and how they’re being dealt with by the “victims.”
On the one hand, we have the burning of Qurans by some American military personnel, and on the other, we have the secret, posthumous baptism of possibly hundreds of thousands of Jews – most recently Anne Frank – by some faction of the Mormon Church.
The justification for the Quran burning appears to be that the prisoners to whom they belonged were using them to pass potentially dangerous messages.
Technically, writing in these books is a desecration, anyway, so their burning, while disrespectful, is bottom line, a completion of a deed already done.
I’m sure the Mormons justify “baptizing” dead Jews and others, particularly Holocaust victims, with their belief that these folks will be denied entry into Heaven without this. I’m sure they think they’re doing a good deed.
Nevertheless, it’s highly disrespectful and offensive to many people, not the least of which are, of course, these folks’ family members and Jews generally, who believe their own religion offers entre into Heaven without anyone’s help, thank you very much.
So far, the Quran burning has triggered the murder of at least two American military officers, the death of several others and an abject apology by the American President, not to mention threats of more violence and the obviously obligatory anti-American riots.
The posthumous baptisms have sparked some harsh words and an apology from officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – both a huge qualitative and quantitative disparity in reaction to two arguably equally offensive behaviors.
Try to imagine, if you will, what the reaction would be if the Mormons, or, better yet, the Jews, were secretly baptizing Muslims. Iran wouldn’t need to develop a nuke – the Muslims would spontaneously combust into a mushroom cloud the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since Hiroshima.
But, what, really, is the harm done in the burning of a couple of books? And what harm is done, really, by the posthumous baptism of Jews into some other religion?
The Quran, is bottom line, a book – its contents may be holy – but the volume itself is a book, printed on Earth by men. And it can and does get reprinted all the time.
To desecrate one is, clearly, extremely disrespectful, but nothing is gained except a very negative reputation as a barbarous mob, by rioting and killing people over it.
More Jewish holy books, not to mention buildings and actual Jews, have been destroyed and desecrated over the centuries than you can shake a burning torch at, but the reaction has rarely been to kill and destroy in response.
This must tell us something about those who would target the Jews and the Jews themselves.
What the response has been, both of many Muslims and President Obama, to the book burning likely tells you everything you need to know about both.
The response by the so-called victims in this case is predictable.
But, so is the response to the posthumous baptisms of Jews.
No one expected the Jews to form violent mobs and attack the Mormons, and they haven’t. And that’s probably because the Jews, generally, are smart enough to recognize the difference between a real threat and an obnoxious stunt.
Do we imagine that some Holocaust victim who is not in Heaven for whatever reason, will be transferred there because of this secret baptism? And if, so, would that be a bad thing?
Assuming there’s a God and It is interested and involved in human affairs, do we imagine It would be fooled by a ritual performed without someone’s knowledge by complete strangers?
I mean it’s rude and disrespectful, but, like the burning of a book, who is it really hurting?
On the other hand, if book burning and forced conversions start becoming a habit, that’s another kettle of fish, entirely. If actual living Jews are threatened or killed, as is the case with Hamas and Hezbollah rockets and terrorism and is the danger with the potential of a nuclear-armed Iran, the Jewish response can be predicted to be a far sight more physical. As it should be.
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