what do we do about this?

I bet Uncle Screwtape is having a field-day with this one somewhere in one of the circles of Hell. John posted about a feeling that many in this country likely share: we have no idea what the fuss is about. And yet, as he also pointed out, we do. We have our pet issues. Some questions this topic raises for me: (1) is there a solution to the violence whilst the West holds onto a strong notion of freedom of the press and generally "liberal" theology? If we curb our notions of freedom of the press (which we arguably have already done in this Iraq thingy) what does that mean for the global state of relations between countries, between governments and citizens, etc.? (2) Gay marriage amendments. It's no secret that the gay-marriage laws introduced in 2004 helped the republicans retain a majority in congress and secure Bush's second term. The issue is going to be trumpeted again this election year. What, as Christians, are we going to do about it? Do we see this issue in the same light as Muslims see the Muhammed cartoons? Is this our time to prioritize "us-them" cultural divides and quietly set aside all those crazy, liberal, "Jesusy" notions about America that make us feel superior to Islamic countries? What do we do about all this stuff?


Blogger brian carlson said...

there is one huge difference, in this country we generally work these things out without killing each other over them. We have the tendency to prefer the ballot over the bullet. That being said we do have our own home grown brand of Christian extremism, not to mention actual bigots and homophobes, but when these people do commit some sort of hate based crime, there is generally a substantial outcry from the Christian community in general. This type of thing does not appear to exist within Islam, if it does it is being seriously under reported.

2/15/2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Yeah, we mostly kill people outside of our country.

"Well, I'm proud to be an Amurrican, where at least I know I'M free."

2/15/2006 2:15 PM  
Blogger brian carlson said...

last time I checked I hadn't actually killed anyone, in this country or any other. And just for the record you are free. When was the last time you had to duck gunfire on your way to vote? When was the last time someone tried to murder you in your home because of something you said or believed? When was the last time you were dragged into court because of something you believed? When was the last time you seriously considered killing a family member because they converted to another religion, or because THEY were raped? When was the last time the secret police dragged away one of your relatives because of an offhand comment they made to the wrong person? When was the last time you or one of your neigbors or family members sold a child into slavery or prostitution? Yeah we do have it good here, and there are an awful lot of people who have it good here who try to make things good elsewhere. I don't see that happening much in the arab world. There are people here who care, and who cry out about the injustices done by US overseas. I don't see that in the Arab world. Just for the record though I wasn't specifically talking about America, but since you mentioned it...

2/16/2006 9:11 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/16/2006 10:49 AM  
Blogger John McCollum said...

Uh, Irony Check here...

Brian, you've made my point for me.

'We' -- as in a nation -- DON'T condone the type of things you list. We DON'T treat our citizens badly, at least not overtly so.

We DON'T, however afford other nations in the world the same rights to freedom that we cherish for ourselves.

We want democracy and freedom of the press, and freedom from occupation and meaningful limits on state police forces in the U.S., but we don't really want it for people in Iraq or Palestine or Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, as long as it serves our interests.

I'm with you, man. I'd be among the first to admit that we've got it pretty good here. Hence the capitalization of 'I'M' in the song lyric I quoted.

Anyway, I love you, and I know that we agree on a vast majority of meaningful issues, and disagree respectfully on only a few.

(and by the way, I'm pretty sure you WERE specifically talking about America, unless there's another 'this country' to which you were referring)

2/16/2006 10:51 AM  
Blogger e said...

we could even make john's point more forcefully--it's not just that we don't really want liberal notions of democracy for other countries. even the countries that we're "spreading freedom" to at the moment are free to maintain oligarchies and even dictatorships as long as they prop up the interests (read: economic concerns) of the u.s.

we're very interested in the concept of free voting. not so sure about the actuality of having hamas elected by the palestinians, for instance.

2/16/2006 11:36 AM  

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