The Muslim Video Rage

What can we learn from the anti-American rage in the Muslim world over a video insult of Islam? The protests have ranged from peaceful to violent and deadly. Is violence or war ever justified on religious grounds? Zambian Christians need to answer these questions. For example, will we respond in similar manner when the Bible or the Lord Jesus is insulted?Many non believers are concerned that in our desire to sustain the Christian Nation status we may become militant and use protests to violently attack those who oppose us or insult the Lord Jesus Christ. Should human rights activists in our country and others wonder what our response would be to insults or degrading statements made about the Christian faith and the

Lord Jesus Christ? In Europe and the USA movies that are scornful to the Christian faith are plentiful. So far we have not seen any organized protests where people are killed or wounded as is often the case when Muslims protest against anti-Muslim denigration.

How do we as Christian’s allay the fears of those who believe all religions are prone to violence toward those who don’t agree with their ideas or insult their religion? Christian teaching seems straight forward but presents a dilemma when it comes to extreme situations that require us to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and our nation. For example, in the New Testament we are told never to “repay anyone evil for evil, and to ‘overcome evil with good’ (Rom.12:17, 21). But how would we respond if a fanatical Zambian, trying to make a name for himself as a comedian, denigrated the Prophet Muhammad on television thus sparking attacks on our embassies in Nigeria or Egypt? How should a Christian Nation respond? Would we call for legislation of blasphemy laws to be used against anyone who allegedly insults any religion? How do we personally respond when people scorn Jesus Christ and make insulting remarks because of our faith?

As we reflect and discuss the issue, be aware that this challenge is at our door step. The questions are not for the government to answer, but for the church to answer. Our calling is to be like Jesus in character and in advancing His kingdom. This is where Christianity is totally different than other religions. Christianity is the only religion in the world that calls its followers to imitate the sacrificial love of its Master, even for His worst enemies. We do not pay evil for evil but with love. Martin Luther King is a good example. Even non Christian Mahatma Gandhi used this principle and overcame. As good citizens of the country however, we are to participate in ensuring that the government has just laws to punish evil doers.  

The rage over this video has raised many other difficult questions which cannot be answered in this issue. But as we seek to sustain the Christian Nation status our motives must be clear, otherwise the status may be seen as a quest for political power. More importantly, a lack of clarity can destroy the witness of the church. Sadly, history tells us that each time the church has sought political power to advance the Kingdom of God the church has lost ground. Because missionaries sided with the oppressive governments during the fight for independence in Africa many educated people left the church as they saw missionaries as part of the evil system. Whatever the case, may we be focused on the ultimate hope of all things being reconciled to Christ (Col.1:20).

Lawrence Temfwe