Holy Terror

The U.S. military goes to extraordinary lengths to respect the Koran and Muslim practices. Would that such was the case generally with religion and other institutions. We all remember the “piss Christ”, that featured a crucifix submerged in urine, or the portrait of the Virgin Mary covered in manure. These things were funded by public sources or foundations, since like many such works of art no sane individual would spend his own money to support them. Ridicule of Christianity is so common in the media that only someone living under a rock on the moon could fail to detect it. The reason we rarely comment is precisely because of its ubiquity. If Christians were as sensitive to these slights, riots would be continuous.

When the false accusations of the Koran desecration were aired, U.S. officials reacted appropriately. The people who didn't act appropriately were the rioters and their apologists who somehow thought rioting an appropriate response. We need to start treating the adherents of all religions as adults. This means not insulting their beliefs, but it also means holding them to adult standards.

It is usually a good thing when people look for faults in themselves. That is how we improve. I always tell my kids (and myself) that in any situation - no matter how unjust it seems - look for the things you might have done to provoke the trouble and for the things you can do to improve the situation, even if it is not your fault. This is good advice, but it should not blind you to situations where your culpability is small or essentially absent. This is the case in the Koran incident. The reaction of the rioters was way out of proportion to the alleged slight AND there wasn't even a slight. I also tell my kids (and myself) that if you let yourself be pushed around too much you not only get no respect - you get pushed around even more. Moderation in all things. I think the U.S. may have reached this point in our PR game.

I was recently involved in negations about a land purchase. My opponent was pushing me around. When I made a concession, he would just pocket it and ask for more. Finally, rather than conceding again, I just told him that I couldn't even stay with my last offer and withdrew the concessions. His whole attitude changed and I got what I wanted and it was a better deal than I would have accepted. Those who go to a used car lot and expect to concede their way to a good deal better have a lot of "extra" money. They will need it. We are in that sort of situation with these rioters.

The bottom line is that we didn't do what they think we did. It has never been the U.S. policy. If it had happened it would have been illegal and an anomaly. If that is not enough for them, life is tough all over. What are they gonna do - blow something up? Riot? Oh yeah, that's happens when we are contrite.

Posted by Jack at May 20, 2005 9:13 AM