Letter to the Editor of the Daily Advance, Elizabeth City, NC printed July 11, 2013

July 11, 2013

Bud Wright’s latest rant glosses over the offenses of radical Islam by comparing them to the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC).  (Is this the best the Daily Advance can do in op-ed’s—rehash Facebook memes?) The WBC spreads hate and shows egregious disrespect for fallen soldiers and families.  The rest of Christendom disdains the actions of the WBC.

On the other hand, this week in Nigeria Islamic radicals killed 42 children and teachers in a school.  The children were burned alive.  Last week, Fr. Francois Murad, Roman Catholic priest in Syria, was shot inside his church for his faith by Islamic zealots.  A Coptic priest was shot dead in Egypt. In Iran, American Pastor Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned for his faith.  Murders of Christians by Muslims occur in churches, villages, marketplaces and in homes throughout the Middle East and Africa. Any reasonable person can easily see Islamic zealotry is more than a verbal annoyance or a single unit of the religion like the WBC. 

Similarly, Wright’s assertion that American Christians and Muslims value American freedom equally is an unfounded and unquantifiable statement.  The burden of the proof lies with Wright.  We have freedom in this country, because America’s founders were informed by Judeo-Christian values that established freedom to worship.  The same cannot be said of countries with governments informed by Islam where Christians and Jews are often persecuted if tolerated at all.

Wright also rejects any proposed restraints against abortion providers.  Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist recently convicted of murder and manslaughter, operated without meaningful oversight in the name of “Women’s Health.”  Wright essentially argues for this libertine prerogative for abortionists.  Wright eschews the types of prudent medical standards that prevent deaths of mothers like Maria Santiago who died following a botched abortion this year in Maryland. 

The closing argument of a recent Wright column attempts to show the irrelevance of Biblical sexual ethics pertaining to marriage.  He compares Biblical sexual morality to the Old Testament law prohibiting work on the Sabbath.  A writer should have at least a pedestrian knowledge of the Bible before attempting to turn it against itself.  Wright only proves his own Biblical ignorance and general foolishness. 

The above examples, I think, are a few of the plethora of Wright’s asinine assertions that consistently insult readers by their incoherent content, unreasonableness and unoriginality.   Wright is like a schoolyard bully who verbally insults people because he has an older and bigger brother to stand behind him.  I honestly don’t understand how or why Wright is afforded half a page of Saturday’s paper each week. 

Link to Daily Advance site


2 Responses to “Letter to the Editor of the Daily Advance, Elizabeth City, NC printed July 11, 2013”

  1. Tim Konhaus Says:

    Reverend surely you do not mean to suggest that Christians, American or otherwise, hold some moral high ground over Islam? Such a contention is rather reductionist in that it defines both religions as monoliths, and religious binaries as well. Your vision/version of Christianity differs from mine, and I would suggest that both of our visions/versions differ further from the WBC. To that end, I think Mr. Wright’s point has merit even if he does not understand the theology at play.

    The suggestion that a monolithic Islam supports and even advocates systematic violence against all non-Muslims paints a rather broad stroke. But then to suggest that Christians would never act in such manner not only ignores history, it denies history as well. As a professor of history, I assure you, there are a wealth of nefarious examples to cite. If there were not perhaps Gandhi would not have quipped, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” In each of the examples you mentioned, you have failed to account for cultural differences beyond that of religion. Specifically, I point to Nigeria and its long simmering conflicts between the Hausa-Fulani, the Ibo, and Yoruba peoples; all of which call Nigeria home. May I suggest that you read up on the Biafran War/Genocide and thereby not fall into the trap of the Boko Haram (which roughly translated means, books are taboo).

    Lastly, the paternalistic notion that men must protect women because they cannot protect themselves is rather antiquated. Telling women what they can and cannot do with their bodies in the name of religion is a bit like, “a schoolyard bully who verbally insults people because he has an older and bigger brother to stand behind him,” don’t you think? For if we as men, are to insist on the Bible’s inherent patriarchy as a rationale for our paternalism, then we must be prepared to exempt women from adhering to very core of Christianity, the Decalogue. Deuteronomy 5:21 asks for you and me not to covet our neighbors’ wives but, asks nothing of their wives from coveting us. We all fall short of the mark but, if you believe the founding fathers to have been informed by a Judeo-Christian ethic then you must concede that as humans and children of God we have all been given the gift of free will.

    As always I welcome further dialogue with you on any of the aforementioned points.

    • Hi Tim,

      Thanks for commenting. I will only try to clarify the points I hoped to make in my letter, so that you don’t infer that I claim more than this.

      1. Regarding the WBC comparison to radical Islam, my point is that this is a faulty analogy and does not hold true. If for nothing else because of the fact that WBC is one church that sits on one corner, in one city in one country. Whereas, what we call “radical” Islam is not limited to one mosque in one particular area; otherwise, Wright could have named it. Islam expresses itself violently in various places under various leadership. This is an irresponsible analogy to publish.

      2. Regarding whether the majority of American Mulsims value American freedom as much as Christian Americans, I am trying to point out that firstly this is an unquanitfiable statement that is irresponsible to make. If you are going to make it and publish it, I think some burden lies on the writer to substantiate it. A few points:

      –Islam was not influential in the founding of America; whereas, Christian values were integral in shaping “American values.”
      –Where Islam is influential in forming governments, they do not resemble “American values,” especially freedom of speech and worship.
      –Wright’s statement implies that because America has such exceptional values, Muslims will subject their religion to American value systems, even when they have the capability to dismantle values that contradict or suppress the perceived rightful expression of Islam. This has simply not proven true where our country has tried to spread “American values” among Islamic countries.

      I think both of the statements regarding Islam by Wright minimize the destructive actions of Muslims around the world today against people of differing faiths. We need to replace sentimentalism with realism on all of these fronts, including those areas you mention. Christians, too, need to face the realities of shortcomings and errors of how we live out our faith. Too often, we are in contradiction to what we express as our beliefs.

      I don’t think Wright really knows much about Islam, so he ought not to be making assertions as if by writing them they become true. I am not trying to say anymore than the evidence does not seem to substantiate his assertions. Nor am I trying to paint all Muslims as radical or terrorists. I have listened to Archbishop Mouneer Anis of the Anglican Church of Egypt discuss his positive relations with peaceful Muslims there with whom he can have debates and open forums. I have also talked with my friends from Sudan who are former “lost boys” because their entire villages were destroyed by Muslims from Northern Sudan.

      3. Regarding the abortion issue, I think the reality of the process of abortion and its context needs to be a part of discussions on regulations and medical standards. Too often, advocates of abortion avoid the actual essence of what abortion is and does. I think a medical standard or regulation is either appropriate for medical practices or not regardless of whether a practice cannot meet it or the politics of it. For example, should a doctor performing a particular medical process have attending privileges at the closest hospital? What can happen to the patient when the doctor does not or is not present during the procedure. What leads to the most reliable healthy outcome?

      I’m not sure why you bring up the issue of gender in regard to abortion. It would seem the opposite could be said regarding men in relation to “saving.” The cases I cited in my letter both involve male abortionists. Why not say “Why do men have a need to kill women’s babies?” Our local pregnancy resource center is staffed by four wonderful women who all serve to save babies from abortion and to help them have healthy lives. I don’t think the pro-life contingency is a single-gender movement.

      The quote you cited by Ghandi is often quoted in many venues. It comes from his autobiography if I remember correctly. He read the New Testament once and described liking Jesus as a teacher. I’m sure what he experienced for most of his life from “Christians” did not resemble the Christ portrayed in the gospels. Ghandi developed a good relationship to E. Stanley Jones, a American missionary to India and popular writer and teacher. In Jones’ autobiography, A Song of Ascents, he cites this exchange with Ghandi in which Jones asks him “What Christians could do to make Christianity more naturalized in India. Ghandi answers the following:

      “First, that all you Christians, missionaries and all, must begin to live more like Jesus Christ. Second, that you practice your religion without adulterating it, or toning it down. Third, that you emphasize love and make it your working force, for love is central to Christianity. Fourth, that you study the non-Christian religions more sympathetically to find the good in them, to have a more sympathetic approach to the people.”

      I think that is good advice to follow. I spent time with an Anglican Bishop from Rwanda last week, and he shared with me that prior to the genocide that occured their the population of Rwanda was 85% Christian. This means that the majority of those killing and being killed were Christians or claimed to be Christians. That was a big warning of how far we can fall from what we claim to believe and practice. It certainly calls for me to examine my own faith and not to take others’ faith for granted.

      Shoot, I had hoped to keep it simpler and more brief. It sounds like you have much more you could share on all of the above. Please be welcome to write more. Thanks, Craig

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