Monday, February 06, 2006

Why I entered the fray.... 

Much has been said about the kerfluffle over some "provocative" cartoons in the Danish press dealing with Islam and the prophet Muhammad. After reading The American Thinker, I was prepared to do my part to break up economic boycotts that had been called against Danish companies and the like. But after reading Hugh Hewitt, I had to stop and give serious pause for my actions.

I truly respect Hugh's opinion because he is so intelligent and because he is also a principled conservative too. His take was that while Danes and stupid cartoonists should be protected from violence, they should not have published their cartoons either. He was especially effective in demonstrating that there are millions of more secularized or moderate Muslims who have been painted with a broad brush unfairly. It is with gritted teeth that I have agree that the cartoons are offensive to Muslim sensibilities and unnecessarily provocative. Nevertheless, I felt I needed to take some action to support freedom of the press. This weekend, my wife and I made a relatively small purchase of some Danish products (a fraction of a pound of Havarti and some Danish fruit preserves). It isn't much, but it is entering into the fray. Here are my reasons for doing so.

1. I dislike economic boycotts and I was going to do my part to break this one. I think the use of a boycott is extreme and at the same time highly overrated. Go ahead and object to the cartoons, I don't blame you for doing so. Don't buy the paper that initially published the works, if you don't want to, but general economic boycotts don't make any sense and given the nature of the global economy we're in, don't make much sense.

2. I wanted to stretch my pallet a little bit and this instance provided me with the motivation to try something new.

3. I am a cheesehead and Havarti is a nice fixture on the menu as far as I'm concerned. Hrrmmm.... Let's see here . . . Dane's make Havarti. I like Havarti. This seems like a good match to me.

4. I needed an excuse to get to Jungle Jim's. If you haven't been to Jungle Jim's, it's a huge grocery store north of Cincinnati that imports many international goods for sale. If you are anywhere near Cincinnati and haven't gone, brave the thousands per year that show up and walk around the "King's Island of grocery stores".

This incident illustrates the necessity for Islam to define, through some creed or council, what the parameters of orthodoxy are. What is the proper way to interpret "jihad" or "dhimi" or "infidel"? Where are the boundaries to Islam? As a Christian, I can point to specific boundaries for most of my basic beliefs (Apostle's Creed, Nicean Creed, Westminster Confession of Faith, Heidelberg catechism, etc.). Perhaps I'm mistaken, but Islam has yet to articulate what it's boundaries are or should be.

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