A recent report that Guantanamo’s Muslim detainees have convinced the U.S. prison not to fly the American flag where they can see it is consistent with the inexplicable descent into the absurd now commonly practiced by U.S. officials. The rationale for this essentially bizarre action is the fear of offending the sensibilities of Islamic jihadists in U.S. custody.
Recent rhetorical gyrating over what should or should not be exposed about the demise of archterrorist Osama bin Laden is an example of a seeming obsession with not offending Islamists because it may enflame their anger toward America—as though they were not already angry. The intensity of their fanaticism can hardly be cooled by our condescending excursions into self-effacing acts that must appear to them as an apology and manifestation of weakness.
But condescend we do. As long ago as 2003, the Pentagon issued detailed rules on handling the Qur’an at the Guantanamo Bay detainment complex off the Cuban coast. On May 17, 2005, The Washington Post reported the following:
Only Muslim chaplains and Muslim interpreters can handle the holy book, and only after putting on clean gloves in full view of detainees. The detailed rules require U.S. Muslim personnel to use both hands when touching the Koran to signal “respect and reverence,” and specify that the right hand be the primary one used to manipulate any part of the book “due to the cultural associations with the left hand.” The Koran should be treated like a “fragile piece of delicate art.”…The Pentagon memo, among other directives, barred military police from touching the Koran. If a copy of the book was to be moved from a cell, the memo said, it must be placed on a “clean, dry detainee towel” and then wrapped without turning it over at any time. Muslim chaplains must then ensure that it is not placed in any offensive area while transported.
Contrast those regulations with the treatment of Bibles sent to an evangelical Christian soldier in Afghanistan by his church. He received copies of the New Testament in the local Dari and Pashto languages. Understanding that Central Command General Order No. 1 forbids “proselytizing of any faith, religion, or practice,” he intended to distribute them, without comment, as gifts to anyone who wanted one. However, fearing the Bibles would be viewed as encouraging conversions and would anger local Muslims, the U.S. military confiscated and destroyed the lot of them.
How they were destroyed was described by Christian Broadcasting’s David Brody: “The Bibles were burned because the rules on the base say that all garbage is burned at the end of the day.”
Asked why the commanders did not return the Bibles to the sending church, the reply was that they might be sent to some other soldier and distributed. So they burned God’s Word instead.
This is the situation confronting America at this time in our history. Our government treats the Qur’an with kid gloves but burns the Bible. It bows to Islamist terrorists for fear of reprisals but ignores Christians because we obviously do not riot in the streets, burn down buildings, and otherwise create mayhem.
A deplorable condition has crept into our society that tolerates, or openly repudiates, the faith upon which this nation was brought into being. At the center of the core values of the most benevolent, unique, caring and sharing nation in world history is the Word of God. To belittle the Book and, with increasing evidence, the people who have found life and true redemption through its message, is no minor transgression.
Bowing to the bad guys is not the way to go. They are not people who will reach out to us in love and compassion if they win the day. Let’s pray that burning Bibles is not symbolic of the wave of the future.