The Politics of Desecration: Burning the Flag

Friday, September 17, 2010 3:21 PM Comments (2)

Chicago Cubs veteran Rick Monday makes the most famous play of his career, snatching a flag from a pair of would-be flag burners in 1976.

Continued from “The Politics of Blasphemy: Offending Others as Free Speech.”

Burning the American flag was the favored form of protest last week for many Muslim demonstrators in the Middle East responding to Terry Jones’s Quran-burning scheme—a desecration for a desecration, as it were. While Jones himself eventually canceled his plans, his calls for an “International Burn a Koran Day” did result in a small number of lightly reported copycat incidents. Among these, Fred Phelps’s Westboro Baptist Church—a hate group even smaller and more virulent than Jones’ church—reportedly planned to mark September 11 by burning both a Quran and an American flag.

In current US law and jurisprudence,...READ MORE

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“Dude, you HAVE no Quran!”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:34 PM Comments (41)

This morning I blogged on the overwhelming Christian repudiation of Quran burning involving everyone from the Vatican and the USCCB to the Patriarch of Jerusalem to Evangelical luminaries like Franklin Graham, Rick Warren and Chuck Colson. “Outrageous and grave,” “contrary to the respect due to all religions,” “contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ,” “insensitive,” and “foolish and cowardly” were among the many words that world Christian leaders addressed to would-be Quran burners.

Jacob Isom, a 23-year-old skateboarding enthusiast from Amarillo, Texas, had something more succinct to say: “Dude, you have no Quran!”

The facts seem to be these. Isom, a skateboarding enthusiast, came...READ MORE

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Quran burning: The Christian world says NO

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 8:47 AM Comments (20)

One gratifying thing that came out of Terry Jones’s much-publicized plans to burn Qurans on September 11: The world, including the Muslim world, saw all of Christendom stand up and speak with one voice universally rejecting this provocation against Muslims.

Most significantly, of course, the Vatican condemned Quran burning as “outrageous” and “grave”—language that was repeatedly reported by Qatar-based Al Jazeera. The Arab-language news agency also ran a photo of Pakistan’s National Council of Churches marching with banners condemning Jones’s threat.

The Vatican’s denunciation was echoed by Catholic leaders around the world. In India, the archbishop of Mumbai and president of the...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: NO mosque near Ground Zero? Part 2

Friday, September 10, 2010 7:32 AM Comments (16)

1 | 2

The situation is changing faster than I can blog it! (See my previous series of posts on Cordoba House.)

  • In addition to his recent piece in The New York Times, Imam Rauf has also given an interview on “Larry King Live” that may shed more light on his intentions.
  • Yesterday events took a surreally farcical turn as the two big Islam-related controversies in the news (each of which I’ve been trying to blog separately) converged as Terry Jones, pastor of the tiny Florida church that has threatened to burn Qur’ans on 9/11, implausibly announced that he had spoken to Rauf and had agreed not to burn the Qur’ans—in exchange for Rauf’s promise to relocate Cordoba House. No one with an...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: NO mosque near Ground Zero?

Thursday, September 09, 2010 3:17 PM Comments (29)

1 | 2

The situation around Ground Zero may be changing somewhat since I wrote my mega-post series on Cordoba House a few weeks ago.

There will be, it now seems, no “9/11 mosque,” or even “close to 9/11 mosque.” In fact, it looks like there will be no mosque at all. In spite of what the official websites of the Cordoba Initiative and the Park51 project once said, changes in the websites and a new statement by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf indicate a different trajectory for the project.

Whether this a change in tack or a clarification of intent is not entirely clear. Not long ago, as I documented, the Cordoba Initiative and Park51 websites both indicated that the planned facility would include...READ MORE

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The Politics of Blasphemy: Offending Others as Free Speech

Wednesday, September 08, 2010 3:10 PM Comments (42)

Blasphemy is in the air, it seems. The last day of September will mark the second annual “International Blasphemy Day,” so designated by the Center For Inquiry, a think tank that promotes science and secularism. Meanwhile, you don’t have to wait till then to find numerous YouTube videos featuring desecration of the Blessed Sacrament. In Spain, as Pat Archbold blogged yesterday, a priest struck a young man for desecrating the Eucharist. The fisticuff made headlines; otherwise, it would be just another desecration.

September 30 was chosen for International Blasphemy Day to commemorate the 2005 publication of controversial cartoons of Muhammad in a Danish newspaper in 2005, and the protests...READ MORE

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Douthat on Moderate Islam & Imam Rouf

Monday, August 30, 2010 2:25 PM Comments (17)

Just a quick follow-up to last week’s mega-post series on the “Ground Zero Mosque” and Imam Faisal Rouf:

Catholic NYTimes.com blogger Ross Douthat recently wrote a couple of measured, sensible posts (post 1, post 2) about Imam Rouf and moderate Islam—at least, I find them measured and sensible, since they coverge nicely with my own take on the subject.

On the tricky business of building bridges and the tendency of such pioneers to seem shifty and two-faced, Douthat writes that some Western critics insist that “moderate Muslims” must prove their “bona fides” by “making a frontal assault on Islamic culture as it currently exists.” Would-be “bridge builders” like Rouf are seen as “suspect,...READ MORE

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Cordoba House: A Closer Look at the "Ground Zero Mosque"

Introduction

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 3:17 AM Comments (29)

Ground Zero, July 2010 (RebuildGroundZero.org)

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Although my normal blogging beat is movies, I’ve been writing 9/11-related pieces since September 2001. I live in New Jersey, but New York is practically my second home city; I went to school there, and I’m there all the time for screenings and such. On September 11, 2001 I watched with my own eyes from my balcony at work across the Hudson in New Jersey as the towers burned and fell.

I didn’t know anyone who died at Ground Zero, but my brother-in-law, whom I mentioned in that first story and in other 9/11 related pieces, was in the dust cloud on that day. Almost exactly five years later, right at the time that numerous cases of 9/11-related respiratory...READ MORE

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About Steven D. Greydanus

SDG
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Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register and Decent Films, the online home for his film writing. He writes regularly for Christianity Today, Catholic World Report and other venues, and is a regular guest on several radio shows. Steven has contributed several entries to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, including “The Church and Film” and a number of filmmaker biographies. He has also written about film for the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy. He has a BFA in Media Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA. He is pursuing diaconal studies in the Archdiocese of Newark. Steven and Suzanne have seven children.