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wandering argument

Reader comment on item: Christianity Dying in Its Birthplace

Submitted by David Frankfurter (United States), Sep 13, 2005 at 22:17

Mr. Pipes begins by decrying an honor-killing of a woman, a feature of traditional middle eastern society that all enlightened people, Muslims as well as Americans, detest and seek ways of eliminating (as we've seen in news from Pakistan).

Then he characterizes it as an anti-Christian pogrom, ignoring that in today's conflicts religious rhetoric gets invoked habitually for every local conflict (Serbian nationalists invoking Serbian orthodoxy, Pat Robertson and Republicans alike linking our Iraq invasion to evangelical Christianity. Do these uses of religious rhetoric mean that the conflicts are ESSENTIALLY religious? If so, we should ourselves embrace the term Crusader in our latest middle eastern adventures).

And THEN he CONCLUDES by suggesting that Christianity must be retained, courtesy of evangelical churches that have no motivation but to convert everybody to evangelical christianity, BECAUSE Palestine is the land where Christianity began. This assumption that religions or religious people must be retained in the lands they claim as their origin is the oldest form of nationalism: our god, our land, our people. And in various contemporary forms it has led to the most atrocious forms of ethnic cleansing and violent conflicts, Nazism, Polish anti-semitism, and Serbian or Croatian nationalism, as well as countless others. It is a terrible assumption to make, that because there was once a guy named Jesus and a bunch of apostles, and then a quite multi-religious society through the time of the Muslim conquest, that therefore the land should be maintained in some way for Christians. Maybe the Christians will convert to Islam or become secular -- what then? Import more from Kansas?

The land belongs to the people; and they must make and maintain justice. Pogroms against Christians are terrible; so are pogroms by Hebron settlers against Palestinians (with equally disgusting rhetoric) and bus-bombings with Islamist or anti-Jewish slogans. It would be far better if American churches stayed the hell OUT except to the extent that they can TEACH TOLERANCE AND PEACE. And the west bank is full of liberal Christians trying their best to do this (as well as a greater amount trying to bring their Muslim brethren to a personal relationship with Christ, which is culturally destructive, or hunkering down to welcome the Second Coming, which can take on explosive forms).
Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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