On October 11, 2012, the border guards stopped self-styled hillbilly prophet, Terry Jones, at the Detroit-Windsor crossing by clever pretext. Mr. Jones, as missionary in Germany, had some technical legal problems; cases which he won. However, until completing a criminal check with English transcript of the German proceedings, he remains barred from the country. 1 It is dishonest and violates the spirit of the laws. However, one must admire the chutzpah.
However, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney is advancing amendments (Bill C-43) – Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, which would give legal sanction to such state discretion. And it is to that which this blog entry focuses.
Terry Jones, pastor of a 50-odd member Dove World Outreach Center Charismatic Church in Gainesville, Florida is a publicity-seeking, pompous ass who thought promulgation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is best promoted by burning the paper, upon which contains the ideas of another ‘faith tradition’. It naturally instigated the convenient wrath of rabble, half way round the world, who couldn’t even locate Florida on a map. It led to the unnecessary deaths of U.N. personnel.
Anyone who has visited the church and associated sites will soon notice that Herr Doctor Jones really has a bad case of politicized ‘Christianity’. Indeed, there is significantly more mention of Islam, even if in a negative manner, than on Jesus Christ or Christianity.
The best response to nobodies who seek public stage through outlandish assertions and outrage is to ignore them. In this, Doctor Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Baptist Church concurs. His point is that negative criticism, even by the Christian community, simply reinforces the importance and self-importance of these charlatans. 2 Those who receive such reproof will simply categorize their Christian counterparts as being in cahoots with the Devil and the World. (Sometimes this might be true. The question is when such characterizations are valid.) It is the frustrating Parable of the Tares.3
The problem of Terry Jones is irresponsible journalism. Some post-menopausal crank, worried about not leaving a legacy, who stages outrageous symbolic acts, is not newsworthy, even on a slow news day in the dog days of summer. He plays into the prejudices of elements of the secularist liberal media, who will traverse West Virginian back country and Louisiana swamps to pull out simple-minded bumpkins, snake charmers, unscrupulous snake-oil, ‘anointed’ Apostolic leaders and their gullible congregants, in their campaign to discredit Christianity and religion in general.
Arguments that media ought not to be selective upon what is covered are full of hypocritical flatulence. What constitutes the ‘news’ is largely governed by the agendas of these priestly media gatekeepers. My first realization occurred when reading a British tabloid in a Barcelona sidewalk café on the outbreak of Chinese-Vietnamese hostilities, which had the potential of superpower struggle (Viet Nam was client to the U.S.S.R.) The war was placed on the very back pages of the paper, while some minor bomb scare in a 2nd tier British city monopolized the front page. Don’t tell us that selectivity doesn’t figure in the contents of our media output. If Terry Jones has responsibility in the deaths of U.N. and other Western nationals, so does his media accomplices.
The best way to put this man out of our misery is not to give him a camera or microphone. Suicides are not reported on Toronto subway stations for similar reasons; to discourage the self-abuser from obtaining ‘importance’ in leaving a mark in this world while he/she leaves it.
“Islam is not compatible with Western society.” One need not be prejudicial to see that a faith tradition, which in its purest form, subscribes to a theocratic state; where religious principles and regulations are sacrosanct above the whims of popular sovereignty and individual autonomy; is diametrically opposed to Western pluralism. Those who sweep the clear logic of the contradiction under politically correct rugs discredit their credibility.
The question is, so what of it? Muslims constitute less than 3% of the Canadian population, less than 1% in the United States. So long as they constitute a small minority of the population, the prospect of Sharia Law, beyond their own community, is an Atwood-type dystopian fantasy. Islam is not a particularly attractive and appealing religion. Its spread has consistently required conquest and soft and hard coercive sociopolitical measures. In consideration of the relative intellectual, cultural and social backwardness and political and military powerlessness of Muslim nations, Islam does not pose real threat to Western independence and survival. Amongst their numbers, there is a small Fifth Column; which might periodically take occasional lives. However, as has been generally the case beyond the 8th Century; except for when reversals of fortune occur, the zeal of the typical Muslim is moderated by objective reality and the desire for everyday enjoyment of life. Islam, in itself, does not threaten Western civilization. Western civilization is more threatened by the moral decrepitude of its people; such that threats like Islam could actually become real.
This brings me back to the main theme the day; forbidding rabble-rousers like Terry Jones or Louis Farrakhan (Nation of Islam) from entering the country on pre-emptive speculation of potential and real civil disturbance, especially in light of its absence in times past. It sets precedent that invariable proliferates into the abusive exclusion of mere sociopolitical adversaries of the current powers-that-be. It is curious that under an administration that had just eliminated an HRC power that progressed from prosecuting the extremes to selectively persecuting the more mainstream (i.e. Ezra Levant (Western Standard), Mark Steyn (Macleans)); this government would erect another regimen that will, no doubt, follow along the same path.
In March 2010, a conservative firebrand (Ann Coulter) was politely threatened by a University of Ottawa provost, Francois Houle; no doubt with consent and even urging of a former Liberal Cabinet Minister, Alan Rock, who is President of that University.
I would, however, like to inform you, or perhaps remind you, that our domestic laws, both provincial and federal, delineate freedom of expression (or “free speech”) in a manner that is somewhat different than the approach taken in the United States. I therefore encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here. You will realize that Canadian law puts reasonable limits on the freedom of expression. For example, promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges. Outside of the criminal realm, Canadian defamation laws also limit freedom of expression and may differ somewhat from those to which you are accustomed. I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind.
Another leaked private communiqué from Alan Rock about her was not so polite. In a politically charged environment, more like the U.S. milieu then Canada currently, is there any doubt that Coulter might have been the recipient of cross border shenanigans, if Alan Rock and his Liberals were still in power? When one institutes laws, it would be a little politically astute to consider their potential for blowback in the hands of one’s political adversaries!
It is bad law unless circumscribed with extremely explicit particulars as to what constitutes a threat to civil disturbance.
For reasons beyond common sense, many in the Christian community are taken with this threat of Islam. Some still seem to believe that we remain a member of Christendom, which Islam apparently threatens. The far greater sociopolitical threat to Christianity and Christians in the West is a creeping secularism that is turning totalitarian and tyrannical. But as Christ said, “the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”4
In dealing with Muslims, (or persons practicing homosexuality etc), the Scriptures give better counsel in the name of the Gospel of Christ. Instead of moralist opprobrium and alienation of such persons; it is written “Show proper respect to everyone”5 and “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”6 Yes; we believe them to be wrong in their beliefs and praxis. And in that error, they are hurting themselves foremost and others and God’s creation as well. But Muslims, homosexuals, secularists, etc. are just people like us; from whom we were called “out of darkness into His wonderful light”.7
- Stewart Bell, “Koran Burning Site’: Signs seized from anti-Islam pastor Terry Jones during failed Windsor border crossing”, National Post, October 11, 2012
- Albert Mohler, “What He Wanted All Along: The Real Scandal of Pastor Terry Jones”, April 8, 2011, http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/04/08/what-he-wanted-all-along-the-real-scandal-of-pastor-terry-jones/
- Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
- Luke 16:8
- 1 Peter 2:17
- Colossians 4:5-6
- 1 Peter 2:9