Posts Tagged ‘evangelical Christians’

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

March 17, 2012

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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NPR fires Juan Williams for anti-Muslim comments: intolerance, political correctness, or a stand against bigotry?

October 21, 2010

 

“Juan Williams, Martyr to Tolerance.” That’s the title of a provocative Ethics Alarms piece by Jack Marshall. Juan Williams was fired by NPR for saying this on to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News:

“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Marshall excoriates NPR’s action as the intolerable “intolerance of the self-righteous heralds of toleration.”

I’m conflicted over this one. I don’t think Juan Williams should have been fired, but I find his statement very unfair, and somewhere between ignorant and bigoted.

Ignorant, because Muslims wear all kinds of garb, including the sporty American look that the 9/11 hijackers apparently tried to present. Bigoted, because it’s bigotry to assign stereotypical characteristics to individuals, whether to assume that Jews are money-grubbing, that Irish are drunks, that black men are sex-crazed, or that evangelical Christians are gay-bashers.

For Americans in 2010 it’s particularly hurtful to stereotype Muslims as terrorists, as many on the political right are now doing. A scary portion of the population is buying into the idea of Muslims as “other.” It’s horribly unfair to people who are (more…)