By now the trailer for Ronald Emmerich's upcoming movie, 2012, has been widely viewed. One of the biggest scenes in the piece which showcases incredible effects and the world literally going to pieces is the destruction of the Sistine Chapel as tens of thousands of Catholics gather with the Pope to pray for salvation. Naturally the famous dome comes crashing down right on the worshippers ensuring mass killing.
This in itself would not be worthy of a major comment. After all, the White House gets wiped out (again) as well as the Eiffel Tower. What's more concerning is a comment Emmerich made when asked why only Chrisian monuments get destroyed in his films:
In the upcoming 2012, disaster director Roland Emmerich turns his sights on the Vatican and crumbles the Sistine Chapel into dust. But when he proposed demolishing a Muslim shrine as well, his colleagues on the project freaked out.
"I do not want to have a fatwa on my head because of a movie!" co-writer Harald Kloser objected. And, concedes Emmerich, "He was right."
Emmerich, who is well known to be anti-religion, seems to be quite selective in his targets. It's one thing to pick on the Catholics. They'll protest loudly but that's about it. When it comes to other religions that might actually fight back violently, he is somewhat more silent. When I was growing up, someone who picked on victims selectively based on their weaknesses was called a bully.
Nor is Emmerich alone. That great icon of the atheist world, Chris Hitchens, is not much different. In a recent magazine article, he notes:
Ever since I invited any champion of faith to debate with me in the spring of 2007, I have been very impressed by the willingness of the other side to take me, and my allies, up on the offer. A renowned scholar like Richard Dawkins, who is quite used to filling halls wherever he goes with his explanations of biology, is now finding himself on platforms with dedicated people who really, truly do not believe that evolution is anything more than "a theory." I have been all over the South, in front of capacity and overflow crowds, exchanging views with Protestants most of the time, but also with Catholics and, in New York and the West Coast and Canada, with—mostly Reform—Jews in large and well-attended synagogues. (So far no invitations from Orthodox Jews, Mormons, or Muslims.)
Notice a trend? Once again Muslims are off the list of targets. Although Hitchens claims that it's because his invitation hasn't been taken up, I would suggest that if a militant Muslim offered to debate him, he'd either show up in a bulletproof vest wearing a respectful attitude or he'd otherwise decline with some ingratiating excuse as to why he is ducking out from a fight.
Nor am I surprised that Orthodox Jews haven't had a chance to face him (other than the notorious Sheumly Boteach who is hardly an accomplished debater). Great rabbonim who could put Hitchens in his place have far better things to do with their time than speak with a self-righteous, egotist like him.
But it is the cowardice of the defenders of the atheistic faith that I find most fascinating. One more item will suffice to show the trend. Every year we hear about gay pride parades in Israel. A few years ago there was one run in front of the Vatican in Rome. What one doesn't hear about is the one that should be happening in Mecca. After all, if it's important to confront religions and demand their acceptance of the love that can't seem to shut up about speaking its name, why not try to hold a parade in the capital of the biggest monotheistic religion in the world? Further, when the parade was held in Yerushalayim, why did the route scrupulously avoid Muslim neighbourhoods?
This is simply because these atheists are cowards, prepared to confront those groups who will not fight back with more than words because, let's face it, they can scream pretty loud and are used to shouting down opponents with vitriolic invective.
What they haven't seemed to figure out is that thinking people see this as simple bullying, and no one sensible really likes a bully.