I like what he writes here about the conflicts between Islam and Christian sentiments in an article titled What would Jesus do about Islam?
These uprisings are part of a global phenomenon, the rise of the dispossessed. People don’t emerge from political repression as model citizens, much less saints. They are angry and resentful, so they lash out. They have been deprived for generations of education, so they follow demagogues. They know little of the world beyond what religion tells them, so they see others through the lens of religion.
We have a reactionary wing in this country that shares the same traits, but they have much less excuse. They haven’t been oppressed, and for the most part every benefit of prosperity and education has been available to them. The jihadis and extremists of the Arab world have served well as bogeymen for the right wing, as they have served the Qadaffis and Mubaraks whose vested interests are just as reactionary. I doubt that Jesus would appreciate their values, and his response to religious intolerance would not be to praise it.
I ran across a different article elsewhere that brings up the notion of hypocrisy, that Christians shouldn’t be condemning Muslims for their behaviour if they’re going to behave like ignorant boors themselves. Burning a Koran doesn’t encourage useful discourse between religious leaders; it just makes people upset to see their beliefs under/on fire. Who’s capable of being rational when that’s going on? It doesn’t come across as a belief system that takes criticism well. It still needs criticizing, but there have to be better ways to go about it, ways that will result in willing, positive change, not aggression and deaths.
Not that I have any suggestions for how that could happen or anything. I’m just sayin’.