Wallis: Must Not Hurt Jihadis’ Feelings
You may remember that last week, I wrote about an MSNBC contributor who defaced a political poster in the New York City subway system. The ad in question had been placed there by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a project of blogger Pamela Geller. Here’s the ad:
As you can see, there is no direct mention of Islam, and the indirect reference is specifically to those who use violence to further their goals. In other words, this is a condemnation of violence by Islamic fundamentalists, especially that directed at Israel.
That ought to be uncontroversial except among those who support the jihadis, but apparently Jim Wallis of Sojourners is all up in arms over it. According to TheBlaze:
While The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) initially attempted to ban the ads, a judge ruled in Geller’s favor, leading to a decision to post them at numerous subway stops last month. But as TheBlaze reported on Friday, the transit group later decided to revise its advertising standards as a result of the incident, claiming that it now reserves the right to ban ads that “would incite or provoke violence.”
So it would seem that the MTA has decided to allow a “heckler’s veto” exception to the First Amendment. Very brave of them.
On Sunday, Geller went on WABC-TV’s “Up Close With Diana Williams” to discuss the ongoing furor surrounding the ads….
The segment opened with Geller defending the ads and claiming that, contrary to critique, they are anything but anti-Islam. She took the time to differentiate between radical and mainstream Islam, stating that the ads take aim at the former cohort.
“This is not against Muslims,” she explained of the ad, which reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.“ ”I don’t believe that all Muslims sanction jihad.”
Geller also defended moderate and secular Muslims who she contended have experienced more death and destruction in Islamic nations than anyone else.
No matter how you feel about the use of the word “savage” (which I happen to think is a fair description of those who blow up children), this seems pretty straight-forward. Wallis disagrees:
“This conversation’s very sad,” he opened. “In situations of conflict like we’re in now — words have consequences. So, words of anger and hatred lead to violence.”
This theme of “hatred” was advanced throughout Wallis’ statements on the matter, as he dismissed Geller’s words as incendiary and claimed that her efforts were making the situation surrounding radical Islam much worse. Contrary to Geller’s approach, Wallis encouraged Christians and others to “remind people of their religious obligations to each other.”
“This hate language brings up what is worst in people,” the progressive faith leader continued. ”Fundamentalism is a problem in all of our religious traditions. You don’t defeat fundamentalism with hatred.
“I want to say to Miss Geller that Christians all over the world are going to pay for this kind of hateful language,” Wallis said. “And I speak on their behalf, begging you to stop talking.”
And he wasn’t done there.
“Please stop talking, because so many people are going to suffer from this kind of hate language,” Wallis continued. “If you want to save lives, Miss Geller, please stop talking this way.”
The naivete on display here is staggering. Does Wallis really think that Muslim persecution of Christians is going to stop if people like Pam Geller stop speaking? Does he really think that Muslims in tribal regions of northwest Pakistan or rural northern Nigeria really need an excuse to burn down churches, rape women and kill pastors? Does he really think that they have the vaguest idea who Pam Geller is or what she has to say? Is it really “hateful” to draw distinctions between people who do such things and those who don’t? Is Wallis actually arguing that those who kill civilians indiscriminately are civilized?
Or is he just a coward who has no problem opposing injustice and “speaking truth to power” when there’s no chance that the power will come after him?
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