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  1. I think the majority of Americans think this way, but we are being drowned out by lawsuits and special interest groups. Let’s pray for real revival in this country.

  2. One problem is that Muslim-Americans as well as Muslim foreign nationals really don’t speak for Islam. So it’s appropriate to judge Islam by what happens when Muslims are in control, viz. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, &c. &c.

    And, of course, moderate rhetoric is frequently a PR stunt. A softening-up exercise.

  3. The muslim friends that I have were horrified at the terrorist acts of 9-11. I think it is dangerous and irresponsible to categorically condemn an entire religion based on the theological teachings of a minority faction of that religion. My muslim friends have had to deal with repeated instances of antagonism as they go about their daily lives. One of my friends, a nurse, was asked to leave her job at one of the largest hospitals in the country in the days immediately following the 9-11 terrorist acts (her superiors were concerned because of talk coming from patient families about my friend treating their loved ones). She had absolutely nothing to do with the terrorists, yet because she was a muslim she was guilty by association. When we demonize one group based on the fanatics that exist within that group, we do long-term harm to them and to ourselves.

    The KKK members that blew up the Birmingham church in 1963 were likely members of a Christian church, and professed to be Christians (if not these specific individuals, then certainly the south was/is full of “Christian” KKK members). If we want to “do a thought experiment” perhaps we should think about whether Southern Baptist churches should be allowed to exist since, for so long, they harbored terrorists in their midst.

    As a Christian (and a former member of the SBC) I certainly don’t want the world to base their assumptions of my Jesus or the Christian faith on those church members who taught bigotry, who spread hate and intolerance and who, when a black child was baptised in my home church in Atlanta, got up from the pews in droves and walked out of the church in protest.

  4. There’s a centuries-old theology of jihad in Islam. So this isn’t just the lunatic fringe. Islam is defined by tradition. Jihadism is a deeply-entrenched theological tradition in Islam.

    Likewise, to my knowledge, most Muslims support terrorism against Israel.

    And even apart from jihad, look at “mainstream” Islam in the Muslim world. The honor-killings and honor rapings, female genital mutilation, child marriage, &c. Not to mention the sustained persecution of Christians in the Muslim world.

    Spend some time perusing:

    Here’s another Islamic tradition:

    These aren’t isolated incidents. Islam is as Islam does.

    1. Christianity is as Christianity does. When Islam arrived in Jerusalem, Christian knights from thousands of miles away showed up to wage war over the land. When Islam arrived in Spain, the Church invited them to the inquisitions. From the middle ages until 1940s Germany, European Christians persecuted Gypsies, Jews and (for a time) Protestants. In the US, Christians of one variety persecuted Christians of other varieties. All in defense of Christianity.

      I’d rather we spend all this energy making Islam irrelevant. Then we can turn the “cultural center” from a functioning mosque to a museum of a failed religion.

  5. Steve,

    I appreciate you weighing in and providing the links that you have. I
    will check them out.

    This is such a deep and complicated topic and it’s very difficult to
    cover all aspects in the setting of a comments section. Still, since
    we’re in the comments section I’ll make a few:

    You wrote: “There’s a centuries-old theology of jihad in Islam.” Yes,
    and the term is one of those terms that has evolved over the years.
    Primarily it refers to the idea of undergoing a spiritual struggle. One
    is involved in jihad if one is struggling to overcome a specific sin in
    their life, for example. There is no question that modern usage of the
    term is more frequently identified with military or terrorist action,
    but to the vast majority of practicing Muslims around the world, this is
    not how the term is used or appropriated into their life.

    As a religion Islam is roughly 600 years younger than Christianity. If
    we go back 600 years in our own history we can see quite a bit of
    disagreement and discord between practicing Christians. Much of this
    discord resulted in extreme violence. The persecution of Anabaptists in
    the 16th and 17th centuries often involved execution. They were hunted
    down and many times killed because they had a different doctrinal
    interpretation of the Bible. Even John Calvin was reputed to have played
    a very personal role in forcing the execution of Christians that he felt
    did not adhere to sound doctrine.

    I have several Muslim friends. All of them are in the medical
    profession. They are deeply committed to caring for the sick and the
    hurting in our country. They have good families and we share many deep
    and varied conversations regarding matters of faith and cultural
    understanding. Most people who fear something fear it because they have
    no personal experience with it. I think that the response that Jesus
    would have us take to our Muslim neighbors is to love them, encourage
    them, respect them, honor their rights as citizens. I think he’d also
    have us take a careful look into our own “christian” past and never
    forget some of the horrific acts that Christians perpetrated in the name
    of Christ. Yes, many Muslims are extremists and wish us ill. Many are
    deeply misled. Many do not know how to read the Quran for themselves and
    so must listen to the interpretation of misguided others (a VERY serious
    problem happening in Afghanistan today!! And a large part of the reason
    the Taliban has the power they have).

    Instead of posting videos that are divisive why not post videos or
    provide links to sites that promote tolerance and understanding? I see
    Jesus doing that, frankly. I think his telling of the Good Samaritan
    story speaks volumes in our present culture. Jews viewed Samaritans the
    way we view the Taliban or Osama Bin Laden. And in the story where Jesus
    redefines what a neighbor is, he makes the Samaritan (the fundamentalist
    Muslim, in our day) the savior of the injured Jewish fellow. That story
    has always interested me. The whole reason it was told was because a
    person asked Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus
    told him basically to treat his neighbor as the Samaritan had. I can’t
    help but wonder how different the response would have been had the guy
    asked the apostle Paul what he had to do to inherit eternal life. But
    that’s an entirely different subject…..

  6. RD,

    I think the entire problem with your reasoning is encapsulated by your statement, “I can’t help but wonder how different the response would have been had the guy asked the apostle Paul what he had to do to inherit eternal life.” Unless I’m mistaken, you’re pitting Paul against Jesus, which is a profound error.

    Also, for the record, John Calvin was involved in one execution of a heretic (not Christians plural, and he was not forcing the execution at all, he actually was trying to stop it from happening), and he lamented the situation. He certainly wasn’t cheering in the streets as 3,000 “infidels” died a horrific death.

    1. Robb B,

      I’m not trying to be a jerk when I say this, but John Calvin was not trying to “stop” the execution of Michael Servetus from happening. He was trying to stop the order of him being burned at the stake and advocated that he be beheaded instead. That’s far from stopping the execution. Also, he never “lamented the situation.” In fact, he never showed remorse at this and seemed to think it was a victory for Geneva and Christianity.

      Also, Servetus was not Calvin’s only call for execution. There were several executions Calvin called for, on top of other horrific things like imprisoning children and exiling people who didn’t agree with him. I say this with the utmost respect for Calvin, because I think he genuinely loved God but just had a few blind spots.

  7. 9/11 was carried out by Al Qaeda, which does not represent most Muslims. However it cannot be said that Al Qaeda does not represent Islam. Muslims are kidding themselves if they think violence, killing, and war are not prescribed methods of conversion in their religion. They were the original methods of its spread, used extensively and preached by Islam’s founder. Someone here mentioned the crusades; let’s not forget that the crusades were a response to Muslims trying to invade Europe (although the crusaders did go too far with their response). Now since that time Muslims have put their swords away and conveniently forgotten their roots.
    Al Qaeda (and other terror groups) is trying to revive this, but most of the Muslim world is not interested. The exception would have to be against Israel (aka the Zionist entity). It seems like most everyone here has some Muslims friends that seem perfectly peaceful and rational. But there’s a good chance, I’ll wager, that if you bring up Israel you will see a different side come out. It’s happened to me with Arab Muslims as well as Indonesian Muslims. The decades of propaganda against Israel are working (Muslims had no problems with Jews prior to 1948). And I know the more recent increase in propaganda against the West in general is showing some results.
    The point that KKK members considered themselves Christians is well made. But there is a significant difference between the KKK and Al Qaeda. The KKK had no Christian leg to stand on, while Al Qaeda has the war verses they need. Islam is currently a sleeping Goliath, and Al Qaeda wants to wake him up. It worked against Israel. It could work against the West next.
    So maybe things will change in the future, but right now Al Qaeda does not represent most Muslims. Arguing against the building of mosques because of Al Qaeda will get you absolutely nowhere. Mosque building actually represents the opposite of Al Qaeda: peaceful Muslim missions — “If you build it, they will come” style thinking. This has worked well with tribal peoples (Muslims have no problem with syncretism), but I cannot imagine it working that well in America.

  8. DD,

    I just read your response. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment that discouraging the building of mosques gets us no where.

    I’m curious to hear the reaction to the church in Florida who is planning to promote the International Burn the Quran Day on 9-11 and burn copies of the Quran even though Gen. Patraeus has spoken strongly against the act.

  9. I agree with Pat Condell on just about every subject but this one. The landowners of the proposed mosque grounds bought it before 9/11. There is nothing illegal about building there. They should be able to build if they want.

    That said, for a religion which seems to have such sensitivity about symbolic gestures (the Mohammed cartoons, fictional books, etc…) we’re not seeing much sensitivity with regard to building it near the 9/11 site.

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