Oklahoma Rude

A number of Oklahoma legislators are knocking themselves out in rudely and publicly refusing a gift of a Quran from a group of Muslim Oklahomans. Another class act for the citizens of our state to be proud of. Not.

I was glad to see that the Speaker of the House, Lance Cargill, with whom I usually don’t agree, made a relatively measured statement, saying he would accept the book, and give in exchange a copy of the bible. Seeing as how the whole affair was getting a lot of publicity, I thought his approach was about as good as could be expected from an Oklahoma politician.

I sent him a email to say thanks for toning things down and to encourage more of the same:

Thank you for your measured response to the Quran controversy which was stirred up by some Oklahoma legislators. I think what they did was rude and reflected very poorly on Oklahomans, not to mention Christians, now that this story is going all over the media and the internet.

I feel that your statement will help diffuse a needless controversy, or so I hope. I further hope you will not inflame a conflict, or allow the legislature’s resources to be used for that purpose, over this matter, but that your exchange of religious books will be respectful and positive.

Thank you again.

Meanwhile, OKC activist, and my friend, Nathanial “Batch” Batchelder wrote a letter to the editor of the Tulsa World (where I think this story broke and has continued to be reported in a rather inflammatory manner, in my opinion). He addresses the ridiculous contention by the Oklahoma congressmen that the christian faith has never motivated violence. (He doesn’t mention the Crusades, or the Conquistadors, but I guess it isn’t really necessary to go back too far in history to point out the error. Commenters in some other sites have also mentioned Northern Ireland as a recent example of “christian terrorism.”)

Dear Editor,

State legislators declining the gift of a Quaran on the grounds that Islam foments violence must be unaware of Old Testament scriptures describing mass murder for God: Leviticus 24:16, Numbers 31:17-18, Samuel 15:2-3, Josua 6:21 and Luke 19:27. These passages justified the Crusades to kill infidels who would not convert to Christianity.

Don’t these legislators know that Rev. Pat Robertson used his TV ministry to call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez? Or that biblical scriptures were used to justify slavery in America for 250 years? But that’s “old violence.”

Modern violence by our “Christian nation” is worse: Since the US invasion of Iraq, more than a million Iraqis have been killed, some five million have been seriously wounded, two million have left the country, and two million are homeless refugees inside Iraq. That’s 40% of the Iraqi population.

Perhaps the 17 righteous legislators who would not accept a Quaran should consider the admonition: “Look not to the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but rather to the log in your own eye.” Shame on them for another “Oklahoma embarrassment.”

Nathaniel Batchelder
2912 N. Robinson
Oklahoma City, OK 73103