Hooray for Rick Warren for working to build bridges between America’s Christian and Muslim communities.

Rick Warren, one of America’s leading evangelical Christian leaders, last was large in the public eye when he gave the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration. That brought him a barrage of criticism from the right for consorting with Obama. Last week he came in for more criticism and hate mail when The Orange County Register reported on his years of effort to bring the Christian and Muslim communities together.

Warren’s work is especially welcome because many prominent evangelical pastors have been spreading a hateful view of Islam:

–Franklin Graham (son of legendary Billy Graham): “Islam is wicked and evil. I don’t believe Mohammad can lead anybody to God.”

–Jerry Falwell: “I think Mohammed was a terrorist.”

–Pat Robertson, “[Islam] is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy.”

–John Hagee: “Islam in general — those who live by the Koran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews.”

Warren deserves praise and respect as he takes on what should be a Christian duty, love thy neighbor, in the face of harsh opposition from the merchants of hate who broadcast their message under the banner of Christianity.

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