Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

What on earth do we do?


Madam Speaker, the Koran on the table before you is a handbook for terrorists. Blood drips from its pages. It calls for perpetual war against non-believers. That Koran before you is the hunting permit for millions of Muslims. A license to kill. That book is the Constitution of the Islamic State. What ISIS does is what Allah commands.
It's not all that difficult to determine how a politician like Geert Wilders attracts fervent disciples because it's not all that difficult to appreciate his rhetoric. Rid the world of Islam, after all, and the rest of us have a shot at real world peace. It's impossible to imagine what life would be like without jihadists.
 
Wilders is a Dutch politician who quite regularly lights hot fires. His office is in a far corner of the Dutch parliament, where it's easiest to protect him from death threats. He wears a bullet-proof vest his every waking hour, and is accompanied, wherever he goes, by a posse of body-guards. Muslim extremists would see him dead, many would like to kill him themselves. 

Just a week ago or so, he laid out some steps he thought the Dutch government should take to rid itself of its growing community of Muslims.  "Recognize that Islam is the problem," he told the Parliament. "Start the de-Islamization of the Netherlands. Less Islam."

Famously, Wilders claims he doesn't hate Muslims, just Islam. "Close our borders to immigrants from Islamic countries," he told Parliament. "Do not prevent jihadists from leaving our country. Let them leave, with as many friends as possible. If it helps, I am even prepared to go to Schiphol [airport] to wave them goodbye. But let them never come back. Good riddance."

When hooded madmen take a knife to the throats of two American journalists and send the bloody video around the world, it's tempting to listen to Jeremiads by powerhouse extremists like Wilders. The body's natural reaction to poison, after all, is to all it can to get rid of it.

But barely a month ago I stood on the site of an internment camp outside of a Grenada, CO, a sprawling cemetery of perfectly aligned cement foundations that mark row after row of living quarters where once upon a time 10,000 Japanese, rounded up from throughout the American west, were forced to live--because they were Japanese.  That America could do such a thing seems preposturous--today. But back then, after the shock of Pearl Harbor, it's not difficult to understand how a nation could turn on those it determined closest to the evil that had murdered 2300 totally unsuspecting Americans on a sunny Sunday morning in December.

But mob violence isn't any less horrendous when it's practiced nation-wide.

Iowa was the only state in the nation to pass a language law in 1918, when war sentiment rose to fever pitch. For a time, it was illegal to use any language other than English in any public place throughout the state. Only in Iowa. 

In some places throughout the state, the police were sent to monitor worship services to be sure that they were being conducted in the English language and not the language of what would have been the immigrant people the church served. Use of any other language was considered seditious and specifically forbidden. 

The pastor of the Peoria Christian Reformed Church, Rev. J. J. Weersing, was arrested and left town at that time, because anti-German sentiment burned so hot in the hearts of non-Dutch locals. He feared for his life. He actually feared for his life. To some at least, the language those Hollanders used sounded just like the language of the rotten Huns.  

On June 13, 1918, the Christian school in Peoria went up in flames lit by those who'd determined its constituents were traitors. Peoria wasn't the only place in the neighborhood torched by hate. In nearby New Sharon, the Reformed church went up in flames as well, and the pastor found unexploded dynamite beneath the parsonage. 

Geert Wilders has gathered many a disciple with his rhetoric and his bold ideas, among them, in fact, a 32-year-old Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik, who, on July 22, 2011, disguised as a policeman, gained entry to a youth camp on a Norwegian island and started shooting. When it was over 69 kids were dead, another 110 injured, 55 of those seriously.

Such things also should not be forgotten.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Comparing a violent religion to the German language in 1918 is apples and oranges. Geert is a very brave man who speaks the truth! Protect Holland!

Anonymous said...

Only his hair dresser knows for sure, I love his Sunday School wave.... he must use a metal comb...