Tom Burford of small-town MN paper says Muslims don't value human life like Christians

Categories: Media
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The Bagley Farmers Independent
Tom Burford sees military intervention in Syria as an extension of the religious warfare that the United States has been fighting in the Middle East for the last 10 years.

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He edits the the weekly Bagley Farmers Independent and, earlier this month, published an opinion piece entitled "Thoughts about Syria" cautioning his northwest Minnesota readers on theological grounds. (A scanned copy of a single paragraph from that article is shown above.)

Carl Sewall, the news director of RP Broadcasting in nearby Bemidji, tipped off Jim Romenesko, who published part of the article Wednesday on his media blog.

Burford is of course entitled to his opinion. What bothered Sewall was that the article ran on a news page without indication that what the reader was getting was an opinion. It appeared above another opinion piece but below two straight news stories.

"There's nothing in (the paper) that distinguishes editorial content, opinion content, news content," he said. "It's just not organized like that, like you'd expect a newspaper to do."

The headline and editor's byline should have been enough of a trigger for the reader, Burford said. Still, he put the little essay on page nine of the paper because page eight, which is entirely dedicated to commentary, had filled up.

"It's fairly logical," he said of anyone who looks at the previous page.

Naturally, the article says much about Burford's worldview. But the way his words were broadcast to a national level also reveals a clash of journalistic values in northwest Minnesota and beyond.

Burford conceded that the BFI is somewhat of a throwback to the partisan papers that were prevalent in the early days of the country.

The idea of objectivity in journalism was not developed as we know it until the early 20th century. Some historians see the rise of impartial reporting as an product of economic and historical circumstances. The Economist has noted:
Journalists agreed not to alienate anyone so that advertisers could aim their messages at everyone. That way the publishers got a broader market and the journalists got steady jobs but gave up their voices.
Burford said he writes for his market, which is primarily conservative and Christian, adding, "We don't have a lot of immigrants except for third generation."

Wednesday wasn't the first time that one of his articles wound up on Romenesko.

In March, BFI reprinted an article about EPA regulations, which was originally printed in Processing Magazine in February:

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The Bagley Farmers Independent

That article, however, was clearly presented on a page titled "Commentary."

-- Email Jesse Marx at jmarx@citypages.com or follow him on Twitter at @marxjesse

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30 comments
scshabitat
scshabitat

While the rest of the world generally believes that if God wanted people dead over their religious beliefs, then he would do the job himself, apostasy is taken so seriously by Muslims that it spawned the first of many major internal wars. 

Immediately after Muhammad's death, several tribes wanted to leave Islam and return to their preferred religion.  In a conflict known as the Riddah (apostasy) Wars, they were slaughtered in such places remembered as "Garden of Death" and "Gulley of Blood" by caliph Abu Bakr's aggressive and violent campaign to force submission (and keep the tribute payments flowing back to Mecca).  Within months, a great many people were dead, including Muslims who had memorized the Qur'an by heart.

Although it has been perfectly acceptable under Islamic law to kill Muslims who choose to embrace another religion, contemporary Muslims have realized how weak and draconian this causes Islam to appear.  (A sound philosophy does not require a death threat to retain believers).  As such, there is a contemporary tendency to deny fourteen centuries of Islamic teaching and even the very words of Muhammad himself - at least for Western ears.

Such defenders disingenuously quote verse 2:256 which states "Let there be no compulsion in religion, for truth stands out from error" and a fragment of verse 10:99-100, "Wouldst thou (Muhammad) compel men until they are believers?"  But nearly all Muslim scholars agree that both verses were spoken by Muhammad during an earlier time in his teachings, when he did not have the power to compel others.  They are abrogated by later verses, such as verse 9:29, which clearly commands Muslims to fight unbelievers until they relent and either accept Islam or a state of humiliation under Islamic rule (an obvious illustration of compulsion).

These apologists also ignore the fact that apostasy is not mere unbelief, but unbelief that follows belief, which neither of these verses address.  Muhammad's recognition of the distinction is reflected in his own deeds, following his capture of Mecca, and in those of his companions following his death (the Ridda Wars).  How could those closest to him have felt that there should be "no compulsion in religion" if they killed those who wanted to leave Islam?

The "Religion of Peace" subsequently expanded across the globe by conquering people of other religions and then making life miserable for those who didn't "embrace Islam."  Once spoken, a person was locked into the faith.  Any sign of false witness - such as raising their children in another faith - was punished with death.  Thus did Islam gradually supplant other religions.

Tellingly, the same modern apologists who lie about Islam's mandate to kill apostates do not champion the right of other religions to evangelize in Muslim countries.  In fact, they discourage it.  They know as well as anyone that Islam cannot compete within the arena of free ideas and must rely on brute force at some level to retain believers.


scshabitat
scshabitat

Bukhari (52:260) - "...The Prophet (Muhammad) said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' "

Bukhari (83:37) - "Allah's Apostle never killed anyone except in one of the following three situations: (1) A person who killed somebody unjustly, was killed (in Qisas,) (2) a married person who committed illegal sexual intercourse and (3) a man who fought against Allah and His Apostle and deserted Islam and became an apostate."

Bukhari (84:57) - "[In the words of] Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"

Bukhari (89:271) - A man who embraces Islam, then reverts to Judaism is to be killed according to "the verdict of Allah and his apostle."

Bukhari (84:58) - "There was a fettered man beside Abu Muisa. Mu'adh asked, 'Who is this (man)?'  Abu Muisa said, 'He was a Jew and became a Muslim and then reverted back to Judaism.'  Then Abu Muisa requested Mu'adh to sit down but Mu'adh said, 'I will not sit down till he has been killed. This is the judgment of Allah and His Apostle (for such cases) and repeated it thrice.'  Then Abu Musa ordered that the man be killed, and he was killed. Abu Musa added, 'Then we discussed the night prayers'"

Bukhari (84:64-65) - "Allah's Apostle: 'During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from (leave) their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.'"

Abu Dawud (4346) - "Was not there a wise man among you who would stand up to him when he saw that I had withheld my hand from accepting his allegiance, and kill him?"  Muhammad is chastising his companions for allowing an apostate to "repent" under duress.  (The person in question was Muhammad's former scribe who left him after doubting the authenticity of divine "revelations" upon finding out that he could suggest grammatical changes.  He was brought back to Muhammad after having been captured in Medina).

Reliance of the Traveller (Islamic Law) o8.1 - "When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed."  (o8.4 affirms that there is no penalty for killing an apostate).


lindaannthomas
lindaannthomas

When Muslim writings not only allow, but encourage and offer rewards for the killing of other humans (anyone who doesn't believe like they do), I think it is fair to say they do not value human life in the same way Christians do.  Do you have any evidence that they do value human life the same as Christians?

kenwms60
kenwms60

"If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one will be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution." - George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

kenwms60
kenwms60

"We should begin by setting conscience free.  When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and a equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and state of society." - John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America", (1787-88)

kenwms60
kenwms60

"Christianity, neither is, no ever was a part of common law." - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, Feb 10, 1814

Sammy L Cater
Sammy L Cater

good for him for knowing and spreading the word muslims are evil

123sss321
123sss321

you lefties should go to saudi arabia and witness the stoning of a woman and then report back on how great they are.

Arkadi
Arkadi

"Still, he put the little essay on page nine of the paper because page eight, which is entirely dedicated to commentary, had filled up."

Okay, so you've got over an entire newspaper page of commentary to choose from. So pick and choose instead of cramming the eugenics article in. This is how newspaper layout design WORKS.

maximumsp
maximumsp

What is the phone# for the office there. Lets call and voice waht we think about his writing. I want him fired.

Jon Marchand
Jon Marchand

My little hometown paper never used to be so intentionally inflammatory until this clown took over in the early 90s. It was a charming small town publication interested in keeping neighbors connected to each other. Now it's a pathetic attempt to incite people. Burford ruined that paper.

Charlie Seto
Charlie Seto

"The Irish do not value anything like we Protestants do, them and their popes" ~racism in the 18th century

Eduardo Gallegos Parra
Eduardo Gallegos Parra

This guy is a joke a real joke. Meanwhile SOME Christians promote bombs away mentality, kill kill kill the heathens in the Middle East. This Talibangelical mentality is exactly like the Taliban radical Muslim.

scshabitat
scshabitat

@kenwms60  But the Christian Bible is the basis for much of western civil law. This is why Muslims do not want to follow western laws in our countries as they know this and they want to follow their Sharia Islamic laws.

mohanlon3
mohanlon3

@123sss321 I don't need to go to Saudi Arabia, we have folks right here in 'Murica performing abominations on women for religious reasons ALL THE TIME.  And they are christian.  Take your blinders off and note that no-one group of people has a monopoly on evil.

scshabitat
scshabitat


If the education system would teach the truth on both sides in our history then people wouldn’t say such ignorant silly things like CRUSADES. Crusades were nothing about Conquering in general except a couple exceptions and more about defense and were mostly failures and loses of the majority of the battles they were involved in which were a total of about 15 to 20 maximum. Throughout the 1600 year history of Islam it has been about constant aggressive conquering of the world, which the Koran and Hadiths ect. dictate, and there have been about 600 major battles in this drive of Islam. People need to start to study history and also study the Koran Hadiths ect. so as to see the distinctions which clearly set Islam apart and Unique from all other major religions including Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and Christianity. The God of Islam and Christianity are not the same God and are actually the polar opposites. There are many examples of this. For example in the bible the great deceiver is Satan and in Islam one of the 99 other names for Allah is the Great Deceiver! Get educated people and learn the sickening truth of Islam and Muhammed.


scshabitat
scshabitat

@maximumsp 

Better yet, do as they would in most predominately Islamic countries for the crime of insulting Islam, just put him to death, that should satisfy such a person as you with such a vindictive mind. So much for free speech in America as the Liberal progressives are slowly destroying it and making it illegal, putting people in prison, targeting them with the IRS and yes, even getting people fired for what is viewed by the socialist liberals as wrong opinions. The Nazi Socialist Party did the same in Germany in the first years before starting their conquering of Europe and slaughtering of the Jews.

By the way, Muslims also hate Jews more than any group in the world. An important part of the push and influence to gas the Jews to death instead of the original plan of deporting them alive out of Germany and lands conquered was due to the Muslim Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who also planned to build gas chambers in the holy land or what is now Israel so as to clean the land of the filthy Jews completely. Thankfully that plan didn’t get completed before Hitler was defeated but the Grand Mufti did manage to get Jews slaughtered by the thousands in various other countries throughout the middle east. He was considered but most Muslims to be the highest authority in Islam at that time. He helped Hitler form to full Nazi divisions made up of all Muslims. One was in the area of what is now Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo. That Muslim Nazi division slaughtered tens of thousands of Jews and Serbian Orthodox Christians. They were following exactly the teaching of Islam. The other Nazi Muslim division worked the area of Poland, into eastern Europe into Ukraine and Belarus ect and were even more bloody and ruthless than the division in Bosnia. Even the infamous nastiest Nazi SS troopers were sickened by the bloody behavior of the Muslim division. They acted much like what is now transpiring at this moment in northern Iraq and Syria with the raping and beheading and slaughtering of Christians of all ages and even other Muslims. Of course any good Muslim will deny this and say it is not true because it also says in the Koran that any Muslim must always lie to non believers for the advancement of Islam. It is their duty and a sin not to deceive non believers for the sake of Allah. Exactly the opposite of what the bible says.

scshabitat
scshabitat

I guess if you don’t agree with him then you feel it is ruined. Some of us prefer to get educated and to not ignore the dangers in the world around us or at least discuss controversial points and themes. The founders of our country and every great civilization in history including the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans also vigorously debated these same types of subject matter because they chose not to be brain dead as most Americans are from being dumbed down by our pitiful education system which is currently one of the worst, and probably the worst, in the modern world. This sadly is also demonstrated by many here on this forum. Why do people have to have strong opinions on subjects they know nothing about.

scshabitat
scshabitat

Qur'an (4:89) - "They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them"


Sura 9:73,74


 "Prophet, MAKE WAR on (kill?) the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them.Hell shall be their home:an evil fire.They swear by God that they said nothing.Yet they uttered the word of unbelief and RENOUNCED Islam after embracing it.They sought to do what they could not attain.Yet they had no reason to be spiteful except perhaps because God and His apostle had enriched them through His bounty.If they repent, it will indeed be better for them, but if they give no heed, God will sternly punish them, both in this world and in the world to come.They shall have none on this earth to protect or help them."[Dawood]



scshabitat
scshabitat

Eduardo, can you name some Christians who are saying this "kill, kill, kill the heathens in the Middle East", I’m curious as to who you are talking about as I would like to see if they are really Christians or if that you imagine they are. Remember now that even believing there is a God or Jesus doesn’t mean you are a Christian, Satan believes the same, in fact he knows from personal experience and I’m sure you would not say Satan is a Christian. Have you ever Heard a pastor say these things like "Bombs away"? Please refer me to a video or article which validates your accusations.



Also, why do you say this guy is a joke, have you read any Islamic texts or verses of texts or other Islamic writings. This guy did not say anything violent like "kill,kill,kill". He only expressed his opinion that the mind of a Muslim values life less than the mind of a Christian. He is speaking averages of course, and about devout knowledgeable people of both religions, because they would be the best indication of the philosophy of their perspective religions since they are the best educated in those religions. If you had bothered to read before you slandered then maybe you possibly would have agreed with him if you had studied Islam well.


kenwms60
kenwms60

@Eduardo Gallegos Parra right on brother!

scshabitat
scshabitat

@mohanlon3 @123sss321 

Obaminations by Christians? Really, just like or as bad as Islamic Sharia Law which means following the philosophy taught by Muhammed and Islamic texts. And so tell me, what are they doing to these women there is Murica? Are they stoning women to death, raping them for going out alone in public or do they hang them for one of various reasons as they do in Islam according to the religion. Are they also only allowed to inherit ¼ as much as the male counterpart in the family. If women are raped does their testimony only count in court if they have 4 males witnesses of the rape and no less. Are they forced to have sex by their husbands whenever he wishes contrary to the wishes of the wife at anytime even when they are sick, or face the righteous penalty of being beaten by her husband and even till death. Are they being forced to where Hijabs by their male peers. Please let me know as I’m very curious about these Obaminations by Christians.


scshabitat
scshabitat

Excuse me as I meant to say 1400 year history of Islam.

mohanlon3
mohanlon3

@scshabitat @mohanlon3 @123sss321 Everything you state here above is being done to women in Christian Cults here in the US.  The claimed reasons are different, the end result, identical.  There is no established religion that does not oppress some group of people, it's how they function.  Arguing which is the worst is sort of like hoping the shark that eats you has brushed it's teeth.

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