Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Biased by Omission

I have a correction to make in my review of the World Trade Center movie. I had the following change of heart after visiting some of the ol' high school teachers at Sam Barlow. Specifically, I got the chance to catch up with was one of my favorite Brit's, Mr. Corkett, my senior year AP European History teacher. I congratulated him and his country on a job well done for preventing the terrorist attack. Little did I know he was in England during the whole fiasco. Knowing it was inevitable, the conversation turned to politics. And, as with any good History teacher, the topic of politics turned to the age old dilemma of the shortness in memory that is so intrinsically human. Specifically, in reference to 9/11, to which he brought up the aforementioned Oliver Stone movie.

I said how the movie is praised for being "unbiased" and for the "lack of political ulterior motives". Those who know Corkett would not be surprised to hear he responded to this with a jolly laugh. This peaked my curiosity, because I was convinced I had thoroughly analyzed the contents of the movie (I am so naive, and I'll be the first to admit it).

After discussing the contents of the movie we concluded it is considered "unpolitical" because it does not discuss the terrorists, or how we did/should have responded to the attack. Then it clicked, a bias it not solely dependent on the contents but also by the contents it is lacking. It is by this very omission that Oliver Stone made it an inherently biased movie. 9/11 is an event that demonstrated the evil capabilities of militant Islam and the imminent danger they poise to the rest of the world. Portraying a story of the attack on the World Trade Centers while neglecting to mention the terrorist who committed the act is nothing less then the truth shamelessly skewed.

Have doubts about the hostility and danger that militant Islam poses? In response to Pope Benedict XVI's speech, in which he tried to reach out to Islam while mentioning that in the the past they were thought of as evil and inhuman, five churches were firebombed in the West Bank and one in Iraq. It doesn't stop there, on September 17 a 65 year old Catholic nun, who devoted her life to helping and teaching the sick in Somalia, was shot in the back 4 times by gun wielding Muslim attackers. While I do not believe such actions speak for all of Islam; in reference to militant Islam, I think Ed Morrissey stated it very well here:

"What should influence Europeans and the West is this repetition of the Prophet Cartoons ugliness all over again. The Muslims are not interested in a Socratic dialogue, such as the kind proposed by Benedict in his speech, if one actually bothered to read it. They completely reject any notion of critical thinking when it comes to their doctrines, their laws, and their beliefs. They can make all the comments they want about Jews being descended from pigs and monkeys and the "polytheism" of Christians, but if anyone utters a word of scholarly criticism about Islam, the murders begin until someone admits that Islam is better than any other faith. This drips with irony -- because Benedict spoke about precisely this impulse in his speech. It's conversion or submission by the sword all over again."

A year ago, news of these events would of made my blood boil. It would of filled me with rage and hatred - that people could commit such horrendous acts. But something has happened in my heart over the course of the last year. On the contrary, these acts renew my enthusiasm to show love and compassion. One of the most basic teachings of Christianity is to turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), to show love in the face of hatred. And yet it is these simplest teachings that are the hardest to follow with your heart. I was at the Portland Metro Campus Crusade for Christ conference on Saturday and one of the speakers said something that really hits home to this topic. By "practicing what I preach" and striving to not be a hypocrites (although, I am afraid I always will be), I am giving Jesus Christ credibility through how I live my life. We can make Jesus Christ real to those around us who see our actions. Hebrew 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

David Knepprath

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

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