Pay attention on this one, because there will be a short quiz at the end….
A short time ago, a County Commissioner right here in middle Tennessee posted a picture on his Facebook page that said, “How to wink at a Muslim” over a picture of a man looking down the sight of a shotgun. Now really, this sort of ignorance and idiocy is not that surprising to me. It should be, but it’s not–There are always going to be scared and spiteful and stupid people who do scared and spiteful and stupid things…. What IS surprising is what happened at a public meeting in Manchester, TN (of Bonnaroo fame, about 70 miles from Nashville) that was being held to address discrimination against Muslims in the area, as well as indirectly addressing the offensive post.
A local U.S. Attorney named Bill Killian organized the meeting, and what was meant to be a conversation turned into a spectacle of misplaced emotion by a largely anti-Muslim audience. When he told the crowd that speech calling for violence against people was not protected by the First Amendment, he was met with people yelling “Serpent,” “Traitor,” and “Go home!” There have been quite a few incidents of violence and hatred against Muslims in Middle Tennessee–Burned Mosques, vandalism, pickets and protests and whatnot–and when a Muslim advocate named Sabina Mohyuddin mentioned the Mosque that was burned down in nearby Columbia, TN, many in the crowd cheered. It was shameful. Or it should have been. They SHOULD have been ashamed of themselves. You can hear some of the disturbing highlights from the meeting HERE by listening to the NPR story. While you’re there, read the comments below the article, and notice which comments have gotten the most “likes.” It’s just so disappointing….And the most disappointing part (for me, anyway) is that the people who hating the loudest are all Christians.
I understand that when we see pictures like this one on the news a person might be inclined to think that all Muslims are waiting to chop up infidels with meat cleavers. It can be pretty scary! Pastors preaching hate, people passing along eMail stories of Christians being murdered by Muslims…. It might even seem like Muslims are the ENEMIES of Christians. It can leave a person feeling unsure of what to do! Well, luckily we have been given very clear instructions on how to respond to our enemies. Here it is (this is Jesus talking): “Love your enemies”. I know this can be confusing, so I have provided a short list of things that are NOT examples of “loving your enemies”–Posting pictures suggesting that we kill them, Protesting their arrival in the community or their attempt to build a place to worship, Spray Painting their stuff, Burning down their place of worship, or Cheering when someone mentions the burning of their place of worship (this list is not exhaustive).
The people who do these horrific acts in the name of Islam are no more representative of Islam than the Westboro Baptist people are representative of Baptists, or the “Christians” screaming at that meeting are representative of Christianity. Ironically, one of the things that Christians are most critical of when generalizing Muslims is that they accuse Islam of being “a religion of violence” and that they’re taught to hate people who aren’t Muslims. Is it that hard to see the hypocrisy in this criticism??? You are hating them because you believe they hate, and you are advocating violence because you believe them to be violent! That is, unless all the people making this criticism are really living out Jesus’ call to non-violence and love as a response to hate…. Which I highly doubt. But I’ve been wrong before.
So here’s this: If you are a Christian who hates Muslims, your “Christianity” isn’t worth a shit. Not one shit. I’m sorry, it’s not. I’d seriously rather you call yourself anything else–A Satanist, whatever you’d call someone who worships Paris Hilton as a deity (A Hiltonian I guess?), an Atheist…. ANYTHING, just don’t go around hating people in the name of Jesus. You know what? Don’t call yourself an Atheist either. If you are the sort of jack ass who would cheer when a Muslim woman mentions a Mosque that was burned down in an act of hatred, you’d be giving a bad name to Atheists…. So there you have it.
Alright, here’s the quiz. It’s just one little multiple choice question for you:
They will know we are Christians by our….
A) Hatred of Muslims
B) Patriotic bumper stickers
If you answered E, congratulations. You passed! Feel free to share this post….
If you answered A, B, C, or D (or, if you were hoping for some sort of “F) All of the above”), you got it wrong. As a punishment, you have to share this liberal blog post as penance. It’s not my rule–It says so in the Bible. But don’t give up! You can take this quiz a many times as it takes until you get it right….
And if you call yourself a follower of Jesus, it’s not your responsibility to stand against Islam. I believe it is a far more important responsibility for Christians to stand up against this sort of hatred in the name of Jesus, and let the world know that the people doing this hating under the guise of “Christianity” are NOT representative of what it means to follow Jesus–Just like the man with the bloody cleaver is not representative of what is means to be a Muslim. If Jesus is the truth, then it will be evident by the way we love each other–even our enemies (ESPECIALLY our enemies–even people who know nothing about Jesus are good to the people who are good to them, right?). No one ever got hated into following Jesus.
Now, please don’t fill my comment section up with “reasons” and “examples” of why Muslims should be feared and hated. You’ll just be proving my point. And you’ll probably also be providing a Muslim somewhere with yet another “reason” and “example” of why Christians should be feared and hated. And on and on it goes….
Also, if you’d like to give to Sojourners and help them raise money to put up billboards that say “Love Your Muslim Neighbor” in places around the country where Christians are giving Jesus a bad name by committing acts of hate in his name, you can do that HERE. I did. It’s a simple act, but it is an act of reconciliation. And that’s something.