Varieties of religious experience

It is pathetic that a film so bad could involve deaths and the likelihood of more turmoil and bloodshed.
Spend a few minutes looking at the trailer of what is call the Muhammad Movie, or as long as it takes to conclude that it is no better than juvenile in the acting and script, as well as gross in its capacity to insult and inflame Muslims.
The quality is so bad, and its capacity for incitement so extreme. If you want an image that might be more familiar to Americans, think of a high school skit from an unknown locale that harks back to the bad days with angry outbursts of the N word.
Part of the brouhaha about the film, riots and deaths is the claim that the person responsible "an Israeli filmmaker based in California" by the name of Sam Bacile.
Israeli news was hard pressed to identify the subject, despite the likelihood that an Israeli film producer, wherever based, would be well known to someone in the studio. American inquiries have concluded that Bacile is neither Jewish nor Israeli, nor is Bacile his real name. He is said to speak colloquial Arabic with an Egyptian accent, may be a Copt, and is associated with radical elements in the Christian right. Also in the picture is an individual with the name of Klein, said to be associated with an anti-Muslim hate group calling itself the Church of Kaweah. "Klein" could have several rootings, but there may be an apostate Jew in the mix.
The day''s quote of innocence is from the American Secretary of State, in response to what occurred in Libya, "How could this happen in a country we helped liberate?"
Also worthy of consideration is that the attack on American diplomats occurred on the anniversary of 9-11. Thinking is that it was planned in advance, with the production of mass riots an opportunistic add-on when someone saw the film.
Many in the Christian right are enamoured of Israel. The claim by these fanatics about an Israeli Jew is hardly the work of friends.
To paraphrase Jean-Paul Satre, all of us have a god-shaped hole in our heads. Many of the atheists I have met are not all that different in their faith from believers. What this incident tells us--if we did not know it already--is that there is a gradient from one pole where are those who identify passively with a religious community, to those in the harmless middle who assert belief in unbelievable details (Red Sea, virgin birth, resurrection), and onward to those who justify violence while asserting that theirs is the one faith that is true and compelling.
A further break down of the extremists should distinguish between Jews moved to spit on females who dare wear short sleeves or walk on the sidewalk they designate for males, or those who claim higher rights to settle anywhere in the Land of Israel, to Christians with a vehement opposition to abortion and on to those who kill abortionists, then further out to Muslims who generate riots by thousands of the screaming faithful. Muslims involved in wholesale killing justify the shifting of Christians attacking a few abortionists somewhere closer to the pacifists'' end of the spectrum along with Jews who spit.
Where to put Christians who identify themselves as Israeli Jews while arousing Muslims with a childish and insulting depiction of Muhammad?
Ideally they would go into the closed ward of an asylum. However, they have operated under the umbrella of an administration committed to the slogans of protecting religious freedom and insisting that Islam is not a problem.
I cannot fault Barack Obama for his condemnation of Libyans who murdered American diplomats, and calling presidents across the Middle East to urge the protection of Americans. I wonder about the utility of warships alongside the coast of Libya. That was a tactic favored by the Navy and State Department for Central American trouble spots in the 1930s, occasionally followed by sending the marines ashore.
Rioting continues near the American embassies in Egypt and Yemen.
"Protecting one''s own" is a compelling argument. It is admirable so long as it is accompanied by dispassionate analysis. With all the sorrow and anger about the death of four Americans, the President should not go after the gnats on the elephant angered by an film produced by marginal Christians in place of doing something about the Iranian beast capable of much more.