violence, rioting, and loving your enemy

BBC News photo

 

BBC News – Anti-Islam film protests spread across Middle East.

Sometimes the daily scripture readings literally jump off the page in their timeliness and truth. Today’s gospel was from Luke 6:27-38,

Jesus said to his disciples: “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

The unfolding protests and violence in the Middle East surrounding an insulting movie about the Prophet Mohammed shows how far we have yet to go to reach universal religious understanding and tolerance. News reporters are scrambling to get accurate details about the movie. The authorship is being questioned. Actors are claiming they were unaware of the final product; that lines were dubbed in after production editing.

I checked out clips from the movie on YouTube and it is truly amateurish in its production, making the claims of a five million dollar budget seem dubious indeed. As with many controversial works of art, it would have few viewers if it was not making head-lines around the world.

An article in The Vatican Insider outlines events in recent years that have prompted angry and often violent rioting from Muslims. As Christians, it is tempting to say that the violent responses are proof that love and tolerance are not at the core of Islam. This is not only simplistic, it is wrong. As with most religious violence and hatred, it is promulgated by fundamentalist extremists who skew the teachings of the faith to suit their own agendas. Muslims do it. Christians do it. Jews do it. Wars have been waged in the name of God for centuries. It is to our shame when the banner of faith is raised to rally souls to hatred.

Jesus knew well our human propensity to anger and bigotry. Enemy is a strong word. Yet, how often do we view the other not as a worthy opponent, but as an enemy? We see this in the current political battles in the US. We see it in the polarization within our church. Heck, we allow our own blood to boil at the slightest provocation. The person who cuts us off on the highway becomes the enemy of the moment!

Love your enemies. If these words were a universal philosophy, hate-filled propaganda would not exist. Insults and violence would not be countered with more insults and violence. Difference and disagreement would be an invitation to dialogue, not an endless cycle of anger and revenge.

Moments like this make you realize the futility of arguing over doctrine, theology and liturgical details. At the heart of our Christian faith is a person, the person of Jesus Christ. And his message is simple as can be.

Love.

One thought on “violence, rioting, and loving your enemy

  1. The Muslim extremists and fundamental extremist Islamists are worse than Nazis. At the end of the war, the Nazis tried to cover their tracks, hoping they could hide their crimes. They were afraid of retribution, and they were ashamed. How do we know this? Because, like children who knew they had been discovered, they tried to lie their way out: We didn’t know, I was just following orders, etc. The extreme radical Islamists, on the other hand, have no shame about anything they have done. They do not try to hide anything. To the contrary, they are proud of their actions. This is why, at the end of the day, the German people could come back from the abyss into which they had fallen. Their shame at what they had done allowed them to rejoin civilization. The extreme Islamists have no shame. How can they be part of the civilized world? I call upon moderate Muslim IMAMS AND LEADERS IN THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY. TO SPEAK OUT. Those who are rioting are a small minority. The moderate Muslims are not at fault and have been dragged into this horrible enviroment where many of them and their families are help hostage and murdered. . Rabbi Dr. BERNHARD ROSENBERG Sent: Sun, Aug 19, 2012 7:12 pm Subject: Fwd: egyptian muslim brotherhood Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi told Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Sunday that “Egypt and Palestine are one entity.” Morsi, calling to convey holiday greetings in honor of Eid al-Fitr, also told Haniyeh that Egypt will stand by the Palestinians, and stressed the importance AS PREDICTED rabbi dr. bernhard rosenberg Response to Muslim Brotherhood statement: “One day Kill all Jews … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl9ar-_Xpqg 4 min – Nov 28, 2011 – Uploaded by stevenperkal Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg shares his response to the statement that was made at an … Search for videos of rabbi bernhard rosenberg •

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