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The Right Rev’d Mouneer Anis and his fellow bishops from the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East do not speak on behalf of other Anglicans or the rest of the world’s population with regard to the liberty of free speech.

Stand Firm, an Episcopal/Anglican site published the whole of their letter addressed to the head of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, asking for restricted free speech to notionally protect all faiths.

This letter, incidentally, is in response to the September 11, 2012, terror attacks, not the violence which occurred after the Charlie Hebdo cartoons from France.

Part of the bishops’ letter sadly affirms Mohammed as ‘the’ Prophet. Various commenters say that this is customary in the Middle East. I do not know, however, as the post author, the Revd Matt Kennedy from Binghamton, New York, says (emphases mine):

First, the bishops describe Muslims as “brothers and sisters”. If this were a clear reference to shared national, ethnic, or regional identity it would be one thing. I can, in that sense, refer to my “brother and sister” Americans or Irishmen or Moose Lodge members. But the context of this letter is explicitly religious. In a spiritual sense, Muslims are not brothers and sisters with Christian bishops. Christians share brotherhood and sisterhood with one another because we have one God and Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But, “no one who denies the Son has the Father.” (1 John 2:23)

He elaborates, so it’s worth reading his full post, and adds:

The bishops refer to Mohammed as “the Prophet”. Mohammed was many things but prophet is not one of them. To suggest otherwise legitimizes Islamic truth claims which stand in direct opposition to those made by Jesus Christ in the New Testament. You can profess Jesus as the Lord God, Maker of Heaven and Earth or Mohammed as “the Prophet”. You cannot profess both.

Indeed.

Please take time to read the rest of Mr Kennedy’s post which affirms Christianity.

The book of Genesis — written long before the Koran — tells us that we were created in the image of God (imago Dei) and, as such, accord each other a wide variety of God-given freedoms. It is up to us to use them responsibly.

In the United States, these liberties are enshrined in the now-disregarded Constitution. More is the pity, especially as Benjamin Franklin told a fellow Philadelphian in 1776, ‘We have given you a republic, madam — if you can keep it.’

He did not mean her personally but the whole of America and, all being well, not to mention by extension and example, the whole of the Western world.

These were values of the Bible as well as the Enlightenment, which many Americans — especially some groups of Christians — denounce to their peril.

And that is exactly where Islam wants Christians to be. In darkness and under submission.

Do the rest of us need to make this any clearer?

I was very disappointed in Mr David Ould, who, I believe, is an Anglican priest from Australia. Incredibly, he actually questioned Mr Kennedy on the provenance of freedom of speech, as if to ask, ‘Aren’t we being a bit extreme here?’ Those are my words there in order to summarise the situation.

Kennedy responded:

David, 

Inherent in the commission and call to spread the gospel is the pre-supposition that in where God’s word is opposed, there is rebellion against him.

And yet that rebellion is not to be put down by force. It is to be met with, what? Words. Words verses words. God’s word v. words that find their origin in hell. Satan will certainly try to silence the gospel by force and we must endure it. But we do not silence Satan by force, we do what is far more dangerous…sow the word.

So the entire venue presupposed by the NT is one which words are free flowing.

Br Michael was more forthright:

… Amendment 1:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Why are we Christians so insistent on it?  Because we realize that we are the most likely targets to be silenced.  We are mandated to preach the Gospel and to bring the world to Jesus.  Acts is full of accounts of attempts to silence Paul including efforts by Rome.  Liberty and freedom of speech is crucial to this.  If you don’t want to spread the Gospel then you are right, no reason for Christians to be insistent on this and you can take down your blog.

Strangely, after that, Ould — an Australian, living in one of the most totalitarian states in the Western world — piped down.

The comments are lively, and those who value free speech and personal freedoms will find them worthwhile.

Whatever Bishop Anis and his peers are enduring it is a local issue and they should respond to it …  locally.

Bishops, please do not petition the UN on your behalf and the entire body of non-Muslims.

Stop being appeasers.

Do not drag the whole of the West into your drama, however awful it is. September 11 is apparently a Coptic Christian feast day, universally commemorated in that church community. The film allegedly ‘protested’ that day, as you’ll read below, now appears to have been an excuse for anti-American attacks.

The atheist commentator Pat Condell makes more sense than you:

Especially as it turns out that the attack has now been deemed ‘premeditated’ and might not have had nothing to do with the anti-Islam video at all, despite the ‘front’ of the arrest of the filmmaker. This two-and-a-half minute long video from America’s ABC News explains the planned attack:

This is why it is essential to wait until the facts are in.

————————

UPDATE – October 6, 2012:

From The Ulsterman Report (emphases in the original):

… the Obama administration sought to keep the information from becoming public to avoid exposing what the officials say is a Middle East policy failure by Obama.

The first part of the apparent campaign, officials said, was the false information provided to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, who appeared on Sunday television shows after the attack to say the event was a “spontaneous” response to an anti-Muslim video trailer posted online.

Officials said Rice was given the false information to use in media appearances in order to promote the excuse that the obscure video was the cause of the attack, and not the Islamic concept of jihad.

“The Obama Administration is afraid to admit al Qaeda is running rampant throughout the region because it would expose the truth instead of what President Obama so pompously spouted during the Democratic Convention” said the official.

Appeasement isn’t going to fix this one. Please do watch the short video response from Pat Condell. I notice that no one clicked on it. More’s the pity for Westerners and others who promote freedom of speech.

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