I apologize to our readership for yet another theologically tinted post. However, given the state of the church in the Netherlands these days (Just read on, you'll see what I mean. And yes, it does again relate to Wilders' film), I feel compelled to loudly sing a different tune. That I find myself disagreeing with church leaders as well as my own minister, is disappointing. But I think there are a couple of things with regard to the position of christians relative to islam and Wilders' film that need to be said. I cannot promise that this post will be the end of it, but I promise to keep it down to a minimum in the future.
A couple of days ago I reacted critically to a post of Willem de Zwijger (NL), in which he accused the christian Dutch of using the disproportionate reaction of muslims to Wilders' Fitna to stage a coup to reassert christianity as the leading doctrine. In the post in reacting to De Zwijger I maintained that any christian worth his or her salt would not stoop to reasserting christian doctrine as the leading opinion by openly aligning themselves with islam, which in essence is the very antithesis of what Jesus, and indeed the Bible, teaches.
I still maintain that. However, it seems I am in a minority. Today news reached us that the Protestant Churches Netherlands (PKN) are rallying around Dutch muslims (NL). Christians in Zutphen will organize a prayer service the very Sunday after Fitna is released. Christian, muslim and jewish faithful will come together to "try to turn the hurtful tone of the film into something good".
The Utrecht City Council of Churches sent an open letter to mosques in the city, in which they state that government, and especially individual parliamentarians like Wilders, should not interfere with the faith of its citizens. An unfriendly attitude towards muslims, they feel, contradicts the gospels. "Being critical to one another is fine, but only from a positive involvement". In their open letter, the churches call upon their church members to show solidarity with muslims and to pray in churches and mosques for a safe, respectful and tolerant society.
And thus it seems that De Zwijger was more right then I knew.
Solidarity? Respectful? Tolerant? Is the leadership of the PKN actually, sincerely telling us we should be tolerant of the intolerant? To have respect for those that would slit the throat of Wilders and anyone else they do not agree with? To show solidaity to members of a flock that elsewhere persecutes to death christians, jews, hindus, atheists and other 'infidels' alike? Are they trying to teach us that resisting evil (yes: evil) contradicts the gospel? And delivering your people into the hands of a system of belief that is the literal antithesis of the christian faith (and its declared enemy), that such is in line with the gospels?
I'd rather beg to differ. Jesus was not a hippie. I repeat: Jesus was not a hippie. Although 'love' is of central importance to christianity, and Jesus did teach us to 'love your enemies and pray for them', he also taught us to confront evil. Our Dear Lord was not ashamed to use a make-shift whip to cleanse the Temple Court of all those that sought to make a quick buck from the faithful. His tolerance was not extended to the pharisees, who he condemned in harsh words for the perversion of the original meaning of Mosaic law they tought. He didn't mind his 'tone', rather he told his disciples that anyone who leads the children astray, it were better he'd never been born.
And children are being led astray. As christians we are supposed to be able to recognize evil for what it is. 'By the fruits of their labor shall you recignize them', remember? Limiting myself to just the Netherlands: Pim Fortuyn was murdered by a radical environmentalist who stated he was doing so in defence of Dutch muslims. Theo van Gogh was murdered by a self-declared Jihadi and failed martyr.
In Amsterdam women are told by the mayor to accept the fact that their hands may be refused. In that same city, teachers have stopped education on farming because mentioning pigs caused riots among 9 to 10 year-olds. Where do you think they get their ideas and riotous behavior from? Other schools find it increasingly difficult to teach the Holocaust. Art exhibitions are prematurely closed and stand-up routines are disrupted. Gay couples cannot longer walk hand in hand in the city that once took pride in calling it the gay capital of the world. Those are the all too real fruits of islams labor in the Neherlands. And you are telling your children, your flock they must ignore all that in the name of a safe, respectful and tolerant society? That not ignoring this is somehow an unfriendly attitude towards muslims, that contradicts the gospels? Be ashamed, be very ashamed!
Day by day, week by week, our own God-given freedom and humanity are limited and taken away by men who have done nothing to deserve the power that is granted to them. Who's only leverage is the violence they threaten in a society that has utterly forgotten how to deal with violence and threats of violence. And who's ideology, who's faith is the total denial of Christs sacrifice and Gods love of humanity as we, as christians, know it. And we, as christians, have a duty towards our community, our Father and mankind to stand up against that ideology, that faith. Anything else comes down to serving Allah, while (lip-) serving God. And we know what Our Dear Lord said about serving two masters.
P.S. For any christian reading this and feeling shocked: Will you, for Christs sake, please pick up a copy of the Koran and start reading? Or else, if you want the cliff notes, go read Robert Spencer blogging the Koran. You're in for a nasty surprise.
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