Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Intolerance--A response

An article in the new yesterday about a 12 year old girl in Pakistan with some burned pages in a bag whose neighbors are calling for execution under the local blasphemy laws highlights one outcome of intolerance. The article, Pakistan girl jailed, accused of blasphemy, highlights the intolerance potentially associated with fundamentalist religious beliefs.

I believe this article also points out the widespread anti-Christian situation of many places on the planet. If not open persecution, very nearly so.

And, I also note that the situation in which this girl and her family find themselves is the end result of the intolerance of one belief system towards another. Special interest groups seek to impose their narrowly focused beliefs upon the larger majority, in even our own country. Unchecked, they are a threat not only to our way of life, but to the Constitution as well. They do this by seeking to implement laws and regulations designed to deny other portions of the population rights that seemingly are protected by the Constitution. It can be insidious at first--just a small loss of rights here and there--but where do there infringements end?

The article about the Pakistani girl contains some very concerning allegations:

Under Pakistan's blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad or defiling the holy book, or Quran, can face life in prison or even execution. Critics say the laws are often misused to harass non-Muslims or target individuals.
Police put the girl in jail for 14 days on Thursday after neighbors said they believed a Christian girl had burned pages of a Quran, gathering outside her house in a poor outlying district of Islamabad, said police officer Zabi Ullah. He suggested she was being held for her protection.
"About 500 to 600 people had gathered outside her house in Islamabad and they were very emotional, angry and they might have harmed her if we had not quickly reacted," Ullah said.
Almost everyone in the girl's neighborhood insisted she had burned the Quran's pages, even though police said they had found no evidence of it. One police official, Qasim Niazi, said when the girl was brought to the police station, she had a shopping bag that contained various religious and Arabic-language papers that had been partly burned, but there was no Quran.

I highlighted an important phrase. Potentially false accusations directed at someone to deny them of rights or life.

We must be on guard for similar behavior in our own society and country. I fear that we are becoming increasingly intolerant and allowing extreme special interest groups increasingly more access and power. The situation a few weeks ago revolving around the statements made by the owner of Chick-fil A is a good example of the depth to which some intolerant special interest groups have seized political power in our country. I wrote about this in my blog.

What can we do?

Pray. Really!

Pray for the girl in Pakistan and her family and her Christian community (which is apparently being persecuted) and pray for the persecutors that they would find enlightenment and tolerance, and pray that the local officials would seek truth amid inflammatory accusations.

Pray for our country. Our leaders--even if you don't like them, they are all we have. Pray for the person on the highway who just cut you off. Pray that intolerance can be defeated and that the enlightenment and hope upon which this country was founded can be restored.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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