Thoughts on Christians and Muslims

Some thoughts on the recent controversies between Christians and Muslims:

– Those who oppose the building of a mosque near Ground Zero are unwilling or unable to distinguish between different groups of Muslims. These extremists who want to burn the Koran are simply following that same sentiment to it’s logical conclusion: all Muslims are indistinguishable AND evil. This is precisely why we need a center for dialogue near Ground Zero.

– These so-called “Christians” who want to burn the Koran on 9/11 are no more Christian than those so-called “Muslims” who attacked us on 9/11 were Muslim.

– Christians must unequivocally support religious freedom in America.  That includes the right of a group of Muslims to build a mosque wherever it is legally allowable, such as near Ground Zero in NYC.

– Remembering how our Lord hung out with those who were stigmatized and was himself hated, blamed, falsely accused, and put to death by those religious and patriotic folks who feared him, Christians must unequivocally condemn bigotry whenever it arises at the state or local level.  We should be the first to condemn the slippery slope of anti-Islamic scapegoating wherever it occurs.

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The morning after

It’s weird to be elated and outraged at the same time.

I spent yesterday GOTVing all day long in Indiana (which spent most of the evening being a narrow McCain victory but has since flipped for Obama) (!) (the first time Indiana’s gone with a Democrat in 44 years).  Last night, my wife and I headed to downtown Chicago and joined in the truly awesome elation:

It is tempting to want to attribute this victory to the will of God.  After all, our God is a God of abundance, and the victory, for the Democrats, was certainly abundant.  Every Sunday, and quite often more than that, Christians pray unto God: “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”  For the last eight years, many of us have cried out to the Lord, praying that God would lay hands upon our national and global leaders and change  – change them.  We want God to be involved in our political process, especially when we sense that it is not going according to God’s plan.

And yet, if we attribute the stunning political victories to the will of God, we must also assume that it was God’s will that Proposition 8 has likely passed this morning.  Proposition 8 sets the appalling precedent that anyone can be targeted for the removal of existing rights.  Anyone!  Who’s next?  All that is needed is enough money and advertising to eek out a narrow majority.  This is frightening, un-American, and it is shameful that religious folks were heavily behind it.  Surely it is not God’s will that Ray and Bob, who have been together for 16 years, helped raise me as part of my church family, and were finally allowed to marry this summer and receive equal rights under the law, should endure retroactively becoming “unmarried” and lose those protections.

This election is clearly about what people are able to achieve, rather than the manifestation of God’s will. Accordingly, with the election of Barack Obama as president, my faith in the ability of Americans to govern ourselves has been restored.  And with the passage of Proposition 8, my faith in many of my religious sisters and brothers in California has been broken yet again.

It’s weird to be elated and outraged at the same time.