Evangelicals Speak of Pluralism - Not Sympathy - in Response to Cartoons

February 12, 2006

Source: The Kansas City Star


On February 12, 2006 The Kansas City Star reported, "But concerns about the goals of radical Islamic leaders, a sense that a double standard pervades the Muslim media and a general distaste for organized violence have overridden any empathy most Christian conservatives might feel for angry Muslims. 'Unfortunately, the protesters are hinting that the cartoonist might have been right,' said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. 'They’re killing fellow Muslims and destroying property. Maybe the radical protests are validating the cartoon instead of proving that cartoon wrong.' No Christian leader ever espoused violence to retaliate against a controversial 1989 artwork � a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine � by Andres Serrano, even though that riled many Christians, said Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a longtime leader among religious conservatives. 'I understand why any religious person would get upset if they think their faith is disparaged in a drawing or a cartoon,' Bauer said. 'But ... how can (the cartoons) engender a greater emotional reaction than the daily bombings and attacks by groups claiming to do them in the name of Allah? It doesn’t look like a call for respect,' Bauer concluded of the Muslims’ protests. 'It looks like a call for submission.' Indeed, many evangelical Christians see militant Islam replacing communism as the greatest global threat, said Allen Hertzke, professor of political science and director of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma... Then there’s the apparent double standard for acceptable religious satire in Muslim media, especially regarding Jews... 'Many evangelicals have very positive views toward Jews, and evangelicals support Israel,' said John Green, a professor at the University of Akron who specializes in religion and politics. 'And it’s interesting that in the protests of these cartoons, the language quickly turned anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. That sends up a red flag for evangelical Christians.'"