Appeals for calm over statue row

tdaxp note: my great appreciation to Catholic Exchange, CNN, My Way, and you-know-who for making this news report possible

The leader of the world’s largest Christian organization has joined other world leaders in conemending violence over the publication of statuesque caricatures of Jesus Christ.

Benedict XVI, head of the Roman Catholic Church, joined with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Condoleeza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State, in calling for calm, saying they were “deeply alarmed at the repercussions” the statue has caused.

“We call on the authorities of all countries to protect all diplomatic premises and foreign citizens against unlawful attack,” read the statement released by the three world leaders.

The violence that has swept across parts of the world has come mainly in response to the publication — mainly in American newspapers — of a caricature of Jesus Christ, something considered offensive under Christian faith.

Across much of the Christian world on Wednesday, political leaders urged calm over the dispute.

In Paraguay, that nation’s top Catholic bishop called for an end to riots against the statue, as police shot dead two protesters to sto hundreds of them from marching on a U.S. military base near Asunción, the Associate Press reported. At least 10 people were wounded, the AP reported, quoting officials.


In the Philippines, both government and top church leaders called on Christians to prevent rallies from becoming violent, news services reported.

A prominent South African newspaper, the Mail & Guardian, invited artists to enter a Holocaust statuette competition, saying it wanted to see if freedom of expression — the banner under which many American publications reprinted the Lord’s drawings — also applied to Holocaust images.

Thousands of protesters across the Christian world had launched protests against Tuesday, with crowds firing on a NATO base in northwest Croatia, protesters launching Molotok cocktails at an American embassy in Panama City and angry demonstrations changing slogans against the United States in Armenia.

Outside the American embassy in Greece, hundreds of Christians threw rocks at the building, burned an American flag and flashed with police.

“Death to America!” they chanted, outraged by caricatures that were first printed in an American newspaper.

Some other American papers have since published some photos of the statue, and they were also reprinted in the Middle East and parts of Asia. Taking the Lord’s name in vain is forbidden in Christianity.

In their joint statement, Moon, Rice, Benedict XVI, and Rice urged greater dialogue, among and between religious and political leaders.

“These events make the need for renewed dialog, among and between communities of different faiths and authorities of different countries, all the more urgent. “We call on them to appeal for restraint and calm, in the spirit of friendship and mutual respect.”

U.S. President George W. Bush also appears for restraint by demonstrators, saying the situation needs to be solved “through dialogue, not violence” and that the people of his nation are watching in “disbelief and sadness the events unfolding in the world.”

“Today I want to appear and reach out to all people and countries in the Christian world: Let us work together in the spirit of mutual tolerance,” Bush said in Washington.

Bush blamed the violence on “radical extremists and fanatics” who are “adding fuel to the flames in order to push forward their own agendas,” many using high-tech means — like text messaging — to spread false information before his country can respond to the accusations.

He warned that the situation could get worse if not stopped now.

“We are facing a growing global crisis that has the potential to escalate beyond the control of government and other authorities,” Bush told reporters in a news conference.

Cheney: Violent protests ‘overdone’

On Tuesday U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said the violent protests by thousands of Christians angry over the statue was not justified, and he called their reaction “overdone.”

“We think the violence is not justified, in terms of what’s happened there,” Cheney told PBS’s “The Newshour with Jim Lehrer.”

“I think it’s been overdone, I guess if I can put it in those terms.”

In the PBS interview, Cheney was asked if the newspapers were justified in publishing pictures of the statue: “We believe very deeply in freedom of expression. Obviously, we think it’s appropriate for people to respect one another’s religion. But I don’t believe that the showing of that statue justifies the violence that we’ve seen.”

tdaxp has chosen to not show the statue out of respect for Christianity.

— CNN Producer Syed Mohsin Naqvi and Journalist Tom Coghlan contributed to this report

8 thoughts on “Appeals for calm over statue row”

  1. Haha, very well done. We were just having a conversation at work comparing the chocolate and Obama Jesuses to the Muhammad cartoons.

    You did leave out that the opponents of radical Christian Crusaders are applauding the courage of the newspapers who published photos of the statue and are starting a blog-based campaign encouraging people to 'Buy American.'

  2. What a nice, self-congratulatory post you have here. “Us Christians, we're nothing like those Muslims.”

    If I missed a larger point, please elaborate on it.

  3. It's setting the bar pretty low – after all, the chocolate jesus guy still had to take down his sculpture with the president of the Catholic League yelling at him “I hope you go bankrupt” and threatening to “cut off more than [his] head.”

    Perhaps I shall write a post, the gist of which shall be:
    “Look at us atheists – when we hear voices in our heads, we KNOW we're crazy.”

    🙂

  4. Lady of tdaxp and I just finished watching a parody of Journey to the West [1]. The representation of Buddha casually goes beyond anything I've seen mocking Muhammad, or any pop culture (South Park, Family Guy, Dogma, etc) reference to Jesus.

    Yet for the life of me I can't remember the riots in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Tibet, Thailand, or Sri Lanka.

    [1] http://www.greencine.com/webCatalog?id=5762

  5. Adam,

    If the statue riots ever get over to the Middle East, I imagine that either

    (a) it would provide yet another excuse for anti-American riots, or
    (b) the Muslim world would, with heavy hearts, join with the Christians in condemendingthis latest Zionist plot.

    PS: As you said [1], Bill Donahue is the Jesse Jackson of Catholics. Neither Donahue nor Jackson, however, have rioted over cartoons yet. Thuggish words? Yes. Actual riots? Not that I know of.

    Mike,

    How many points could the Muslim Brothers have scored with everyone if they had staged anti-Pelosi, anti-Ba'ath demonstrations throughout Damascus when she was over there.

    (Of course, the demonstrations would be broken up by Baathi thugs, the leaders would be imprisoned or killed, and life would be generally miserable from them… but that wouldn't stop a second Pelosi trip, would it?)

    a517dogg,

    Not killing over cartoons is not self-congratulatory. It's normal. See the above comment on the lack of “Buddha Riots” following the release of Stephen Chow's parody of Journey to the West.

    PurpleSlog,

    Thanks for your contribution!

    [1] http://themetropolistimes.blogspirit.com/archive/2007/04/04/why-bill-donohue-died.html

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