In 2005 a Danish newspaper called the Jyllands-Posten published a piece entitled “The Face of Muhammad”, which included a set of 12 political cartoons regarding the Islamic prophet Muhammad (only some of which actually depicted him), and instantly made headlines around the world do to the violent “outcry” of Muslim protesters, and then again when they were subsequently reprinted by more than 50 international newspapers.
Danish embassies and churches in Syria, Lebanon and Iran were burned to the ground. European and American agencies supported Denmark’s policies of freedom of speech and press, which only further enraged the Muslim world, only four years (almost to the day) post-9/11. Danish flags, along with other European and U.S. flags were burned and trampled in the streets. Police opened fire on mobs of protesters. Over 200 deaths and countless injuries were reported.
Three years later a car bomb outside another embassy killed eight, and was claimed by Al Qaeda as revenge for the “insults”. Last month (Dec 2010) five men were arrested in Denmark for being part of a “Mumbai-style” terror plot against the Jyllands-Posten, in which heavily armed gunmen planned to storm a public area and simply kill as many people as possible before being stopped by force.
Even the Yale University Press was warned by experts in Islam and terrorism to not use the cartoons in a book it plans to publish on the original 2005 incident, called “The Cartoons That Shook The World“, because it was “an unnecessary risk”.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S., the most “christian” nation on earth, our media is daily flooded with depictions of Jesus Christ in everything from “political cartoons”, to episodes of the Comedy Central satirical cartoon South Park, in which “Jesus” appears, or is referenced, in more than 85 episodes. CD covers, t shirts, posters, bumper stickers… Over the last 60 years, Jesus Christ has become the most abused public figure in the American mainstream…
No buildings have been burned. No flags trampled. No mobs of protesters, no car bombs, not a single rock thrown at anyone. Nobody is writing any books about it, and it certainly isn’t making any headlines or showing any sign of stopping.
I’m not criticizing Islam, I get it, Muhammad is a cornerstone of their faith, but not a single Muslim claims him as their savior. …yet 12 political cartoons, in an obscure local newspaper, set the world on fire.
Jesus Christ came to earth and was tortured to death on a Roman cross as the sacrifice for my sins, to save me from Hell, give me the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit and grant me eternal life with Him! …and I sit on my sofa, shrug and change the channel…
The violence of the protests is nothing less than shameful, yet the zeal for their faith is such that I admire, and wish it for The Church. I believe some use such instances as an excuse to justify their desire to cause pain, yet others genuinely love their faith and would die to defend it from attack and insult… when will The Church stand up for what we believe? When will we stand and preach the gospel amid the rain of stones? When will a newspaper in America think twice about running a cartoon of Jesus? Not out of fear of violence, but out of respect for the faith of millions?
When will people around you think twice about using His name as a curse? When will people in your city pop the “darwin fish” off the bumper of their car out of respect for the faith of their friends? When will the artists of South Park air an episode depicting Jesus as the Lamb of God who saves the world from their sins, instead of as a punch line?
Jesus never said to kill, never said to plant a car bomb or burn a flag. He said to love them… love our enemies… when they hate us, when they hurt us.. we should feed them, clothe them, heal them, love them and keep on loving them until the weight of Jesus’ love forces the world to it’s knees.
…when will we give them the reason to respect our Jesus?