If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
— Proverbs 25:21,22
By David Tulis
I am vaguely uneasy. That’s what Bill Killian wants. The U.S. attorney in Chattanooga is continuing a campaign in Tennessee on behalf of Muslim activists to dampen criticism of Mohammedanism. Mr. Killian and a Knoxville FBI agent will be holding a forum, “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society,” sponsored by a Muslim group.
Mr. Killian and special agent Kenneth Moore will be holding forth June 4 at an event with the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee in Manchester.
“This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Mr. Killian tells The Tullahoma News. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.” Mr. Killian will give a lecture about Muslim culture, which, though it has spawned terrorist acts, is essentially the same as other religions, the report says.
Mr. Killian, in an interview with city editor Brian Justice, emphasizes violent and terrorist acts coming from those he describes as Christians. These include Timothy McVeigh, a conspirator in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and an ally, Terry Nichols. Mr. Killian also cites the Sikh temple massacre of six people by Wade Michael Page, whom Mr. Justice describes as a white supremacist.
Mr. Killian cites the flap over a Facebook post by Coffee County commissioner Barry West, a photo looking into the muzzles of a double-barreled of a shotgun with the face of an American farmer at the other end. The caption says, “How to wink at a Muslim.” Commissioner West took down the post after people complained, but did not apologize for what he says was meant as humorous. The elected official says he is “prejudiced against anyone who’s trying to tear down this country.”
Killian, Moore in watershed, making the plains go dry
The Tullahoma report goes on as follows. “Killian said he and Moore had discussed the issue. ‘If a Muslim had posted “How to Wink at a Christian,” could you imagine what would have happened?’ he said. ‘We need to educate people about Muslims and their civil rights, and as long as we’re here, they’re going to be protected.’ Killian said Internet postings that violate civil rights are subject to federal jurisdiction. ‘That’s what everybody needs to understand,’ he said.”
Mr. Killian says favorable things about Muslims. He’s become acquainted with them as outstanding citizens. “Some of the finest people I’ve met are Muslims,” he tells the newspaper. ““We want to inform everybody about what the law is, but more importantly, we want to provide what the law means to Muslims, Hindus and every other religion in the country. It’s why we came here in the first place. In England, they were using Christianity to further their power in government. That’s why the First Amendment is there.”
What makes me uneasy is that Mr. Killian seems to be willingly involving himself in prior restraint of free speech under the guise of protecting Mohammedanism and the free speech of its proponents. The marketplace of ideas is where philosophy, religion, art and many other means of expression compete for attention. Christianity and the religion of Mohammed are rivals. Prior restraint is “restriction on speech or publication prior to its actual expression,” according to Black’s Law Dictionary. “Prior restraints violate the First Amendment unless the speech is obscene, is defamatory, or creates a clear and present danger to society” (notice the establishmentarianism in the last bit).
The entry goes on as follows: “The legal doctrine of prior restraint (or formal censorship before publication) is probably the oldest form of press control,” and Facebook and other social media are part of the exercise of the free press. “Certainly it is one of the most efficient, since one censor, working in the watershed, can create a drought of information and ideas long before they reach the fertile plain of people’s minds.” The temptation for prior restraint “lives zestfully on and shows no signs of infirmities of age,” Black’s says.
2 total religious systems at odds
This federal attorney’s work in Southeast Tennessee seems — perhaps unwittingly — intended to silence the Christian witness against all forms of idolatry that reject Jesus Christ and the claims of God revealed in scripture. ‡ It pretends there is a threat to Muslim people from Christians. To give Mr. Killian’s view credit, it seems to recognize that biblical Christianity is a total system that worships a sovereign creator God who claims jurisdiction over land and sea, over common law domains in the 50 states and maritime/admiralty domains over the sea (from whence Messrs. Killian and Moore derive their authority), over soul and over society, over university and over hospital, over marriage and over inheritance, over capital and over the enforceability of contract. But President Obama’s attorney for the eastern district seems hostile to Christianity, particularly any element of it that is faithful to its law.
Mr. Killian serves a national power that harasses pro-life and tea party groups, snoops on AP reporters and Fox News staff, and seems to have done much disservice to the good reputation of Uncle Sam. This foray into intimidation is his second; a first occurred in Chattanooga Aug. 27, 2012. He and the FBI agent seem to be going out of their way to suppress reaction in Christian and secular American society against the religion of Mohammed, from which spring bombings and mayhem on virtually every continent. Just today a British soldier was hacked to pieces on a public street in London by two followers of Mohammed. Yes, anti-immigration and anti-Muslim groups in Tennessee use Facebook and run websites. Sometimes they are strident. Facebook posts may be unkind. But it is remarkable witness to the open-mindedness of Americans and of Christians that they simply sound the alarm, and do not resort to violent acts.
Yet, to hear Mr. Killian tell it, Christians and anti-Muslim secularists are like a bank of explosively dark clouds gathering on an Oklahoma skyline. Christianity is a faith of grace and mildness, of forbearance, of taking the hit, of overlooking the slight. Yet, Mr. Killian is aiming threats not at the religion noted for its violence, but at the one noted for its pacifism, its tolerance, its weakness and its willingness to overlook slights. It is about grace (and free markets), and does not support force apart from courts of justice.
Insofar as he cites Christians in historic England, Mr. Killian is plain-old sloppy. England was a kingdom of Christians, though conflict arose during the Reformation among the Church of Rome, the Church of England against nonconforming and anti-statist Protestants. In the age of persecution in England, it was the papists and the kings’ party that devoured the estates and lives of reformers under the authority of the throne, of Star Chambers and High Commissions.
In his Chattanooga speech Mr. Killian said his job is to “enforce” the First Amendment freedom of religion.‡‡ Perhaps later we can look at how the First Amendment is one of the last remaining protections Americans have under the overturned federal constitution whose provisions mostly exist as a matter of historical record, if we are to believe our federal betters. But of course, we shouldn’t believe them, and should live confidently, as if they indeed exist for our prosperity.
‡ Christianity teaches that any other view of God other than that taught in the 66 books of the holy scriptures are error and idolatry, and are prohibited in the first commandment, which states, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:12). It teaches that the creator God saves men from their sins by granting them grace to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that through faith men are brought to repentance of their sins and a useful service to the Kingdom of God, which is encompassed by the scope of God’s sovereign government of the universe.
‡‡ “Whether Gurdwara, Synagogue, Temple, Church or Mosque, we must preserve and enforce the First Amendment’s freedom of religion.” — Bill Killian, federal prosecutor
Sources: Black’s Law Dictionary, Eighth ed., Brian Garner, ed.