Before He was crucified, Christ was tormented, scourged, and brutalized. He was then made to carry the very cross to which He would be nailed up the hill on which He would die. The pain He suffered before dying was excruciating beyond human description.
So how did Christ respond to this abuse? After all, He is the son of God. He could have struck down His tormentors in the blink of an eye. He could have banished His tormentors from the face of the earth and destroyed the entire Roman nation with just a snap of His fingers, but He didn’t. Instead, as Christ hung dying on the cross He asked God to forgive his tormentors.
As followers of Christ, we too are admonished to forgive our tormentors — something we have to do frequently in an America that is increasingly hostile to Christians. If Christians lashed out in violence every time Christ is attacked, vilified, mocked, or condemned, America’s streets would run with blood every day.
Pastors will preach against the egregious abuse of Christ by secular humanists in Hollywood, the media, public schools, and American society in general, but I cannot imagine a Christian pastor exhorting his flock to go out and kill the perpetrators.
Compare the forgiveness and long suffering of Christians — reluctant though it may be at times — with the response of Muslims when Allah is the subject of condemnation. An insult to Allah is sure to bring threats, violence, or even a fatwa down on the perpetrator. In fact, in the twisted logic of Islamist extremists, 911, Benghazi, and the Boston Marathon bombings are all justified responses to the insult that America’s very existence represents to many of the Muslim faith.
As I write this column, memories of the fatwa placed on Salman Rushdie after his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses, was published appear to be fading from public memory, but threats from Muslims who believe Allah has been insulted have only increased. The latest subject of Muslim threats is comedian Steven Crowder.
Crowder’s latest video, Jesus vs. Muhammed, is generating the expected response. Writing for The Blaze, Billy Hallowell, had this to say about the Crowder controversy: “Comedian Steven Crowder’s … video has already attracted more than 140,000 views. And, as was expected, he’s getting a harsh response from individuals who are offended by the statements and quips it includes. In addition to threats, profanity and insults are being thrown his way. Again, considering the video’s content and the subject matter, this is no surprise.”
The responses to Crowder’s video have been graphic and profane, which is fairly common these days for any conservative who puts his thoughts and beliefs on the net. Attacking me and my columns is one of the favorite past times of liberals worldwide. But the responses to Crowder’s video go well beyond the type of invective conservative authors have come to expect. Two responders threatened — in graphic language — to kill Crowder and another alluded to the London murders where a man was hacked to death on the street.
I am not defending Crowder’s video. Belittling or insulting a being whom another religion holds sacred is in poor taste no matter how much you disagree with that religion. What concerns me in this situation is the violent response of Muslims. In America we have the First Amendment for good reason. Language that does not insult, disturb, or anger someone else needs no protection. Accommodating insulting language is precisely why the First Amendment was incorporated into our Constitution. We benefit as individuals and as a society when we learn to endure that which we find insulting and even repulsive.
Further, if Allah is indeed God, then He does not need the intervention of human beings on His behalf. As Christians, we pray that Christ will forgive those who transgress against Him, but we also know that in the end He will set all things straight.
If those who insult Him are unrepentant and deserve punishment, he will see that they receive it. Christ does not need His followers to administer the justice that is His and His alone. There is a lesson in this for Muslims.