President Obama, in his apology, said that the burning of the Qurans, which were taken from possessions of a detainee center’s library and were burned because in the opinion of the Americans, they contained “extremist inscriptions,” was an “unintentional error.”
But some Christians are attacking the president for that, including Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. Gingrich said that the president “surrendered” to the Afghans by apologizing for the burnings. His anger is tinged by resentment that the president has not asked for the Afghan government to apologize for the killing of two Americans, reportedly in retaliation for the burnings.
Palin, as well, says that “now the Afghans should apologize for killing two Americans.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has extended condolences to the parents of the murdered Americans, but has not issued an official apology. His energy at this point is being put into trying to quell the rising anger of Afghans who were insulted by the burning of the Qurans.
Gingrich and Palin cannot be faulted for wanting an apology for the Americans who were killed. These were two innocent people who, as far as we know, had nothing to do with the horrific act of burning the Qurans.
But as Christians, i.e., people who say they believe in Jesus the Christ, ought these two prominent political people admit that we as Americans need to apologize when anyone in the name of our government offends another country by an act such as this?
I keep thinking of how we would react, as Americans, if a foreign army official burned some of our Bibles because they thought they were being used for purposes other than spreading the Good News. I shudder to think of it; there would be outrage the likes of which we cannot imagine.
President Obama’s apology (and that from other U.S. officials) has not stopped the umbrage felt by the Afghan people, but that does not mean that as a person of faith and of decency he should not have offered that apology. Right is right. The Jesus I read about in the Bible demands love of our neighbor, and love includes treating them as human beings, rather than as an “object.”
It feels like Gingrich and so many others are attempting to feed into the fear so many Americans have of Muslims, repeating over and over the threat of “radical Islamists.” Yes, there are some radical Muslims, who would tear the world apart if they could, but so are there radical Christians who would be willing to do the same, if given the chance.
Like it or not, we are not living in a vacuum. Because of globalization, we are more and more in contact with people we as Americans never had to think about before. They are our neighbors; they are children of God, like it nor not, deserving of respect. I, for one, hope that President Karzai can calm his people down, and get them to know that there is not a need to hate all Americans because of what a couple of insensitive Americans did.
The president was right to apologize. It was the Christian thing to do.
A candid observation …
Merriam-Webster: qur’ans definition: the book composed of sacred writings accepted by Muslims as revelations made to Muhammad by Allah through the angel Gabriel. →