The continent of Africa has been in the news quite a bit of late and it’s been a mixed bag of reasons why. Economically speaking, there has been astonishing progress and growth in emerging markets like Angola, who has seen its GDP increase over 1000% since 2000. There has also been a major boom in China and African trade agreements, as more and more African nations are brokering deals to send their vast resources into the commodity starved eastern power. George Clooney was arrested protesting at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington for the ongoing civil war that is ravishing the nation. Then we have had the blitz of KONY 12 the last few weeks and the bizarre twist, in which we seen the creator of the viral sensation get arrested for creating a scene in public naked and belligerent.
The most fascinating aspect of KONY 12 wasn’t the astounding swath of attention through social networking then subsequent conventional media. It wasn’t Jason Russell’s public meltdown caught on camera. Nor was it the removal of an African warlord, because even when he was arrested, somebody would fill the vacuum. No, the single most important aspect of this “movement” is something nobody is talking about and that is the American public double standard.
For over a decade now, we have all at one time or another heard the world Islam and it immediately became synonymous with the word terrorism. I have done it. We see it in person, in the media (all facets of the media) and every other aspect of our lives. It’s only human to do so, considering the coverage and the emotional impact a 9-11 will have on a country. When you add the fighting of two wars to defeat terrorism, it only adds to the cognitive dissonance we experience as a whole.
However, an open mind and a clean motive will allow you to understand that Islam, like any other widespread religion, is for the most part, made up of peaceful, good natured people. If we take the 1.5+ billion people whom call themselves Muslims, it is mathematically unavoidable to not have some bad apples. We have seen just 19 Hijackers on 9-11 send the world into a tailspin. We have heard of just 75-100 people alone taking on the US military in Afghanistan. To this day that has us still counting losses in blood and treasure. Economically, the cost being somewhere in the hundreds of billions. In the form of life, priceless.
It is expected and highly probable to have a small percentage of people be violent and/or suicidal by human nature alone. Then suppose you factor in degrading aspects like: lack of education, no commerce to provide steady work or access to true representative government… the numbers of bad apples only swell.
And that is where we find the disconnect in our rational.
Here we have a tyrant, named Joseph Kony, who leads the Lord’s Resistance Army. That “Lord” at the forefront of the acronym isn’t some arbitrary name for a gang. It means what it does in Uganda, as it does here. That “Lord” being the very same as the Jedeo-Christian “Lord”. Joseph Kony is the mastermind of a guerrilla war against the Ugandan government (whom are Muslim’s) as he is hell bent on installing a theocracy ruled by the Ten Commandments; to replace the Islamic theocracy already in place. Where have we seen this movie before? Oh yhea, it’s called the Crusades.
Dont tell that to people like Rush Limbaugh though. He actually went on his radio program trying to politicize the situation last year after Obama sent in 100 troops to “to remove them from the battlefield”. Now I personally don’t agree in any military engagements in Sudan or Uganda, but i also don’t defend a guy like Joseph Kony because it’s politically expedite either. Now Rush Limbaugh later apologized for it days later but the damage was done. Here you have in Rush, a Christian-Conservative defending Joseph Kony based on the fact that he was a Christian, without even so much of a thought who or what he has done.
That is the type of mindset many of us here in the states use when the subject of religion comes up regarding Islam. What Limbaugh did was a microcosm of what most of us have done and many of us still do, we relate Terrorism to Islam and Christianity to righteousness. Even though Kony himself is a terrorist responsible for countless murders, executions and war crimes – it was assumed at face value he being a Christian, he was “fighting the good fight”. Now most people who watched the video seen him for whom he was but the fact that he was calling himself a Christian goes relatively unnoticed, while anytime a brown person commits an act of terrorism, his relgion is bundled alongside his actions.
Just like many self described Christians, such as Jim Jones and David Koresh, their acts don’t jive with the overwhelming majority of Christians. Could those two and Joseph Kony actually find biblical evidence and accounts justifying their actions? Sure. The Old Testament is littered with stories or commands to kill non believers amongst other heinous acts. One of the most telling comes from Deuteronomy (13:7-12 NAB):
If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst.
Now, many of you are probably saying to yourself, well those laws were for Jewish people and those were their laws… and you would be correct. However, the Bible doesn’t come with a disclaimer and if it is truly the word of God, why should it? And if it is simply a case of “lost in translation” like many parts of the Bible when something controversial comes up (funny how that problem never arises with the messages of eternal love and forgiveness) why would God trust man in the first place? Why trust an obvious fallible messenger to be the courier of his word, if he cant even copy the word from one sheet of paper to the next without error? That however is another discussion for another day.
So, because books like the Bible and the Koran are obviously open to interpretation, you will always have people for a myriad of reasons using these books as a tool (consciously or subconsciously) to justify or promote what they read literally. Most Christians do not do this. Just as most Muslims do not. However, many here in the states, seem to lose sight of that.
The Koran has many passages where it talks of peace with “people of the book” meaning Christians and Jews. Yet some Muslims choose to find other passages that contradict those passages in favor of something more hostile, because it suits or justifies their means to an end. Just as what happens with some Christians and their relation with the Bible. There is plenty of uplifting and spiritual enriching lessons to be found in both books, but like the Koran (and YouTube) there is dark places to go and find the justification for almost anything you want.
So, if we are to condemn Joseph Kony as a murder and support (and i do) that he is someone who should be found and put to death based on his actions and nothing else, fine. If we are to ignore his motives and his faith as a Christian, separating them from his cruel and ruthless actions, fine again. Then, it is only logical we treat Muslim extremists the same way.