Interesting piece: Flippant Thoughts On Sir Salman. It is written by a Muslim who contends it is much ado about nothing. He is serious about his faith, yet believes Muslims are not only wasting their time focusing on this issue when compared to greater matters at hand, and:
For some Muslims, burning flags and effigies (and, in come cases, even embassies) seems to be the preferred method to respond to an offence of religious sensibilities. It’s as if we think the best way to protest the honour of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) is to disobey him!It seems to me, a Christian, that the violent protests against Rushdie are something some Muslims feel they can engage in, especially if they are otherwise powerless economically or politically. Like England's soccer hooligans, or those people who begged for Bill Clinton's impeachment -- it is ultimately inconsequential (except perhaps to Sir Rushdie), making an impact forgotten in the midst of the smoke from burnt flags and books.
Christians in America had a similar crisis a few years ago, when the movie "Last Temptation of Christ" came out. Somewhat popular in its own right, the protests vaulted into a symbol for both sides. Christians protested it because of a larger issue - they felt Hollywood was bastardizing all they felt to be holy. The message in the movie was considered blasphemous, but eventually, they realized what they believed would not change because of a movie. They believed that Jesus Christ's life - his values, message, etc., could not be threatened by one movie (or a thousand).
It is easy to lose focus, to sublimate a symbol into reality. Isn't that a temptation of post modernism?
As elections approach, and we look at candidates, I hope we get past personas, biases prejudices and other kinds of hogwash. Otherwise, Bill Clinton would have only been a dumb Southern hick, and not an Oxford scholar. Hillary Clinton would be elected (or not) just because she is female, and, likewise, Barack Obama elected (or not) just because he is black, and Fred Thompson elected just because he looks like a president.
Bigger issues are at hand.