You can’t be Bryan Fischer and see President Obama kill Osama bin Laden and not take the opportunity to hate, and Fischer has proven nobody can hate like he can. Earlier this morning we saw how Fischer has already stated that Muslims, whom he sees as parasites infecting a host (the United States) must convert or die. This is Old Testament hatred; no namby-pamby Jesus stuff there. And Fischer stays with the Old Testament as he goes after Obama and bin Laden.
In fact, the Old Testament seems to be more and more the “Bible” of choice for Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, as a CNN report demonstrates:
“There is a sense that justice has been done,” said Joel Hunter, senior pastor of the 12,000-member Northland Church in Orlando, Florida, and a spiritual adviser to President Barack Obama.
“There is a scripture, Genesis 9:6, that says, ‘He who sheds man’s blood, by man his blood be shed.’ There is a certain kind of sense of relief that that has been accomplished,” Hunter said.
“This man was symbolic of much that threatened our country and our way of life,” the pastor said.
Wow. Good to know. I personally don’t see a requirement for biblical justification for an action like this but let’s file that away in case we need it down the road. For the record, Aristotle would say killing is killing, no matter how many people you kill, and that killing is wrong. Let’s file that away too.
On his AFA blog, Fischer tries ineptly to twist President Obama’s words into proving Obama does not consider Islam a religion of peace:
When president Obama announced the assassination of Osama bin Laden last night, he said “his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.” This came in the context of saying that we are not “at war with Islam” and that Osama “was not a Muslim leader.”
Okay, then, the president is saying that followers of Islam will celebrate the death of Osama right along with all Americans if they “believe in peace and human dignity.”
The corollary to this is obvious: if someone does “welcome” his death, that individual does not “believe in peace and human dignity.”
By the president’s own yardstick, then, we can say that Islam is not in fact a religion of peace.
Fischer concludes that “Islam a “religion of peace?” Not hardly, and the president is making our case without even realizing it.” Maybe this only makes sense to Fischer.
Fischer then provides a series of “man in the street” quotes from Muslims who are outraged by bin Laden’s death. That’s nice. Cherry pick a little evidence and have this handful of Muslims speak for the entire Muslim world.
The facts are that most Muslims have and still do reject the terrorist message. The vast majority of American Muslims are better educated than the average American, with one-third of them having graduate degrees as compared to one-in-ten non-Muslim Americans. They’ve bought into the American dream too, and live as happily and peacefully as you or I.
Not that facts mean anything where ideology is concerned. And then Fischer comes up with a real doozy:
“And by the way, if Islam is such a religion of peace, why is our government instructing Americans, no matter where they happen to be in the entire world, to be on ‘high alert?’”
Gosh, Mr. Fischer, maybe because there are terrorists out there who don’t speak for all Muslims, rather like you don’t speak for all Christians with your gospel of Old Testament hate.
But Fischer doesn’t stop here. No, he has to go after President Obama too, saying that he has created a “major PR problem” for himself. Of course, from Fischer’s perspective, Islam is at war with us whether we consider ourselves at war with them or not. It’s not, of course, true despite the Bush administration’s missteps, but in Fischer’s somewhat distorted worldview, this creates a problem for President Obama because all their animosity will now be directed at him:
Yet according to a report on CNN, there isn’t much animosity to be found:
[T]here has been relatively little sympathy expressed for him from those quarters since his killing Sunday – a testament to the dramatic falloff in global Muslim support for the al Qaeda leader in the last decade.
Al Jazeera reports on some Islamic points of view as well. Yes, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip says that he regards the assassination as “a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood” and Ehsanullah Ehsan, the Pakistani Taliban spokesman says what you would expect an al Qaeda ally to say: “If he has been martyred, we will avenge his death and launch attacks against American and Pakistani governments and their security forces.”
But these men don’t speak for the majority of Muslims, only for the minority who thought like bin Laden. Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan said, “The Taliban must learn a lesson from this. The Taliban should refrain from fighting.” And Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister of Pakistan said, “We will not allow our soil to be used against any other country for terrorism and therefore I think it’s a great victory, it’s a success and I congratulate the success of this operation.”
CNN echoes Al Jazeera in observing that there has even been “praise for his death from some Muslim political leaders.” Fischer claims that Saudi Arabia’s silence shows disapproval of President Obama’s action but as CNN more reasonably puts it, “And while many other leaders from the Muslim world have so far been mum on bin Laden’s death, virtually none have voiced overt criticism of the U.S.-led operation.”
Silence does not equate with disapproval, Mr. Fischer. Here are what actual numbers show, as compared with Mr. Fischer’s ideologically motivated and overactive imagination:
A report issued Monday by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project showed support for bin Laden has dropped considerably in six predominantly Muslim countries since 2003.
The report, which drew on surveys conducted last month, found that confidence in bin Laden among Muslims in Jordan had fallen to 13% last month, compared to 56% in 2003.
In Indonesia, 26% of Muslims said they were confident in bin Laden, down from 59% in 2003.
Sounds like bin Laden’s popularity is about on par in Islamic countries with Palin’s in the United States. Unfortunately, the United States is still not terribly popular in Islamic nations and probably will not be while remaining involved in Iraq and Paskistan, and while organized proselytizing efforts continue in that latter country. The United States, from an Islamic point of view, has many fences to mend and the sins of the Bush administration cannot be washed away over night.
The truth is that the truth is far more nuanced than any fundamentalist ideology can recognize or admit to. The world is not black and white, not good versus evil. This makes for good speeches but inaccurate ones. In the end, people like Bryan Fischer have more in common with Osama bin Laden than with the rest of us, adopting a narrow, hate-filled position at odds with the values of their fellow citizens. Most of us, Mr. Fischer, are just folks, and we just want to get along, to do something very un-Old Testament and live and let live.