SOME THOUGHTS ON MUSLIMS IN AMERICA

I am pretty sure if Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan today, in the United States, it would be told as the Parable of the Good Muslim.

Jesus and his family were political and religious refugees in Egypt in his early years.

Baptists were persecuted in Colonial America, and in Europe they were martyred for their beliefs.

When any one faith group is singled out, it is not long before all faith communities will be viewed suspiciously.

The inability to differentiate between Muslim terrorists (Jihadis, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, etc…)  and the other 1.6 billion Muslims is as ridiculous as blaming all Catholics for the Irish terrorists (IRA) in the 80s, or even all Irish for it.

I remember how people pointed fingers at conservatives after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Can anyone imagine all white conservative males being blamed for that?

We Christ-followers rightly scream ‘foul!’ whenever someone uses the instances of people killing abortion providers or blowing up abortion clinics to paint all us as violent extremists. That is probably how many Muslims feel right now.

Pluralism is beautiful. For the love of all that is good and decent, don’t let demagogues set the agenda, and refuse to let xenophobic racists take a place of leadership.

 

 

A TOUCHDOWN FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION

It wasn’t much of a game, but that doesn’t mean interesting things didn’t happen (full disclosure, I did not watch the game.  I was busy doing something else, but I just can’t remember what it was.)  Apparently the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the New England Patriots 41-14 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.  That is the boring part.

Prayers in the end zone
Holy Ground?

Now for the interesting part.  Here is how ABC NEWS (click here for whole story) described it:

Kansas City Chiefs’ safety Husain Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was penalized 15 yards for “unsportsmanlike conduct” after he kneeled in prayer. He had run 39 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter

Was Abdullah penalized for praying?  If so, it would be a terrible double standard, because many athletes make spiritual gestures/prayers/kneel when they score or do something important (for more info, c/f Tebowing).  What we have learned since, is that no, he was not penalized for praying, but was penalized for the slide.  The Washington Post quotes Abdullah:

“For me, I just got a little too excited,” Abdullah said. “I think it was for the slide.” The lesson Abdullah took away? “Stop before you drop.”

Interesting.  Interesting indeed.

Two things should be pointed out in this whole issue.  One, it showed something nice.  Almost instantly people were outraged when they thought he was penalized for praying as a Muslim.  That is a good thing about the United States, and demonstrates religious liberty and tolerance.  Religious liberty for everyone is a historic Baptist doctrine that is often neglected in the culture war salvos made from many pulpits and platforms.  That the knee jerk reaction this morning against what might have been perceived as religious discrimination was so strong that the NFL had to make a special announcement about it demonstrates that the stream of tolerance and freedom flows freely amongst Americans.

The second glaring item is an irony.  In many (all?) majority Muslim nations, any person who might demonstrate faith in Christ in a public way would likely face a far worse penalty than Abdullah received in the game.

image from http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/nfl-kansas-city-chiefs-player-penalized-prayer/story?id=25859886

IDIOT ALERT

PASTOR OR PROVOCATEUR
PASTOR OR PROVOCATEUR

I semi apologize for the serious, quasi-political tone of the blog the last week or so. It just happens that these are the things that have caught my attention of late. Like this guy, Terry Jones.

He is the pastor from Florida, and I use the term “pastor” in the titular since only because nothing he is doing is pastoral. He is more like a character in a faux redo of a Ray Bradbury novel, Fahrenheit 666, maybe.

Is he an idiot? Yes. Absolutely.

Does he represent the values of Christ-followers? No.

Would I want to have a cup of coffee with him? Uh, let me check my calendar and I have an opening for him on … let’s see…the first of never.

The problem, though, is this pesky thing called the United States Constitution. Yesterday Pastor Terry Jones was arrested, according to MSNBC because he was about to burn one Koran for every victim of September 11, 2001. Here is the way it was described:

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Pastor Terry Jones, 61, and his associate pastor, Marvin Sapp Jr., 34, on felony charges as he drove a pickup truck towing a large barbecue-style grill filled with Qurans soaked in kerosene. He had said he was heading to a nearby park to burn 2,998 Qurans — one for every victim of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Sheriff’s officials said they would hold a news conference later Wednesday to discuss specific charges.

First, as odious as I find this guy, I would have loved to have seen the spectacle of hauling around a BBQ grill and 3000 kerosene soaked Korans. Again, he is clearly the village idiot.

The problem is, of course, what did he do that was worthy of being arrested, much less arrested for felony charges. Felony? Come on, give me a break. Certain principles are at play here such as the right to free speech, the right to assemble, and the freedom of religion that cannot be ignored. People have the right to be odious and they have the right to displease the religious sensibilities of others. That is what freedom means.

I maybe could understand citing him for not having the right permit or if there were a burn ban in effect for the area, but as I read the article it looks to me that they arrested him just because. Think about it, he hadn’t even done anything yet. They apparently pulled him over because he was driving a truck towing a grill.

The claim that he is endangering U.S. military personnel overseas is a little specious to me as well. The article I quote above tries to link this guy to the protests over the film last year that some argued caused the Benghazi debacle. I’m not buying any of that. Our military is in harms way period–do you think that the crazies that want to kill Americans will decide, “Oh, they arrested that guy in Florida so we can put way our terrorists plans for good now.” Not likely. Jihadists (differentiated from Muslim, because all Muslims, indeed most, are not enemies of the United States) do not need any excuse to hate us.

Let’s review now. He is an idiot who really is just looking to get on the evening news and I have no great desire to defend his actions or support what he is doing. He is not a felon, though, and he is not a criminal. He is an American citizen and as such he has rights and freedom, and that is something our Jihadist enemies will never understand.