Saturday, July 22, 2006

Well I sure aint' no Dane...

... 'cept by blood, and that's only 1/64th part.

The organization Pantelope: T-shirts for Modern Mammals is selling a T-shirt with the slogan "We're All Danes Now." Their inside story for the T-shirt says:
"The Inside Story

It's about so much more than free speech. Anyone who tells you different probably needs their meds adjusted.

Sometimes The Pantelope takes on serious issues, such as the recent Danish cartoon controversy. Well folks - we're all Danes now, whether we like it or not. Clashing cultural dynamics affect those with their heads tucked snugly in the sand, the same as those who keep a watchful eye out and stay involved. The former just won't realize the consequences until the ship has sailed...

Seventeen languages in red, white and black express our global solidarity. You gotta hand it to those Danes, they've been at this freedom thing for quite awhile. King Christian X made a stand in 1940's Copenhagen - his shadow stretches across the years. Citizens snubbed the cult of the Fuhrer as they fought to maintain freedom for all. The Pantelope is proud to commend their fine example - you're invited to do likewise. "
This is of course in response to the Muslim outrage at a cartoon published in a Danish newspaper that made fun of Mohammed. If I remember correctly, the publisher at the time said he undertook the effort in order to show how Islam wasn't compatible with modern civilization. I say that it just as easily shows that the jingoistic conservatism of the paper isn't compatible with modern civilization.

First of all, I see this kind of propaganda from atheists all the time: pointing to the brutality and stupidity of fringe movements in Christianity as evidence of what the faith is ultimately about, rather than judging the faith on its constituitive documents. Likewise, after 9/11, William F. Buckley, George W. Bush, and Chuck Colson took pains to point out that the hijackers represented heretical strains of Islam. Were they incorrect?

Do you think it's really all that hard to find a religious or political group in the US for which you could incite them into blood-spilling over cartoons? Political cartoonists in the US have received death threats for principled exposition of their principles. To set out to do so says more about your own bloodlust than it does the nuts and rednecks you do incite. It's like yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater to make a point about inadequate fire exits in the facility.

Have you ever been do a dinner party where there was one guy who you felt was emotionally unstable, someone whose buttons you knew how to push? If you were to antagonize him to the point of there being a fistfight, then surely the guests would hate the unstable man all the more. They'd probably hate you too for making your point, even if they became all the more convinced that the nut was a nut.

Indeed, there is an even more controversial thing that one in the face of those who rioted over the cartoon: "Jesus is Lord." Folks are martyred for this every day. Let this be our witness. That's another thing that bugs me about the cartoons, in that it is tacitly viewed as some kind of advancement of the Christian faith. Can you imagine this being suggested as a form of evangelism:
  1. Set down a bunch of your Muslim friends in the room.
  2. Show the Mohammed cartoons to half of them and make disparaging comments about their faith.
  3. When a fight breaks out, discuss it with the other half: doesn't this show the superiority of the Christian faith?
Such Christians who evangelized one-on-one in this manner would be excommunicated immediately! Isn't it all the more counterproductive to effective evangelism to allow this kind of bombast-from-afar to be tied to the Church?

That's where I specifically differ from the sentiment, "We're all Danes now." Count me out. Oh, and by the way, "Jesus is Lord!"

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