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My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose
September 15th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose

Editor's Note: Brian D. McLaren  is author of "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World" (Jericho Books/Hachette Book Group). 

By Brian McLaren, Special to CNN

I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.

At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam - beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia.

Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often - truth be told - contain lots of downright lies.

For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents."  Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing" Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy "naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Many sincere and good-hearted evangelicals have never yet had a real Muslim friend, and now they probably never will because their minds have been so prejudiced by Islamophobic broadcasts on so-called Christian television and radio.

Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned.  John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.

Many Christian bookstores that (used to) sell my books, still sell books such as Paul Sperry’s "Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington" (Thomas Nelson, 2008). In so doing, they fuel conspiracy theories such as the ones U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, promoted earlier this year.

In recent days, we’ve seen how irresponsible Muslim media outlets used the tawdry 13-minute video created by a tiny handful of fringe Christian extremists to create a disgusting caricature of all Christians - and all Americans - in Muslim minds. But too few Americans realize how frequently American Christian media personalities in the U.S. similarly prejudice their hearers’ minds with mirror-image stereotypes of Muslims.

Ambassador's killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed

Meanwhile, many who are pastors and leaders in evangelicalism hide their heads in the current issue of Christianity Today or World Magazine, acting as if the kinds of people who host Islamophobic sentiments swim in a tiny sidestream, not in the mainstream, of our common heritage. I wish that were true.

The events of this past week, if we let them, could mark a turning point - a hitting bottom, if you will - in the complicity of evangelicalism in Islamophobia. If enough evangelicals watch or try to watch the film trailer that has sparked such outrage in the Middle East, they may move beyond the tipping point.

I tried to watch it, but I couldn’t make it halfway to the 13-minute mark. Everything about it was tawdry, pathetic, even pornographic. All but the most fundamentalist believers from my evangelical Christian tribe who watch that video will be appalled and ashamed to be associated with it.

It is hate speech. It is no different from the anti-Semitic garbage that has been all too common in Western Christian history. It is sub-Christian - beneath the dignity of anyone with a functioning moral compass.

Islamophobic evangelical Christians - and the neo-conservative Catholics and even some Jewish folks who are their unlikely political bedfellows of late - must choose.

Will they press on in their current path, letting Islamophobia spread even further amongst them? Or will they stop, rethink and seek to a more charitable approach to our Muslim neighbors? Will they realize that evangelical religious identity is under assault, not by Shariah law, not by the liberal media, not by secular humanism from the outside, but by forces within the evangelical community that infect that religious identity with hostility?

If I could get one message through to my evangelical friends, it would be this: The greatest threat to evangelicalism is evangelicals who tolerate hate and who promote hate camouflaged as piety.

No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate.

The broad highway of us-them thinking and the offense-outrage-revenge reaction cycle leads to self-destruction. There is a better way, the way of Christ who, when reviled, did not revile in return, who when insulted, did not insult in return, and who taught his followers to love even those who define themselves as enemies.

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Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own. But the way of Christ requires all who claim to be Christians to examine our own eyes for planks before trying to perform first aid on the eyes of others. We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected.

To choose the way of Christ is not appeasement. It is not being a “sympathizer.”

The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian D. McLaren.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Islam • Opinion

soundoff (8,500 Responses)
  1. Jeff Kuryk

    Through effective religious indoctrination, the rioters are of the same "hive mind." This fools them into believing Westerners are hive minded too. Therefore, provocative films and cartoons produced in the West are seemingly approved by all Westerners thus deserving a violent response. It's a pity there isn't a Muslim pope to point out that rioting in response to provocative cartoons and YouTube videos denigrates Islam and brings into question the maturity and sanity of its followers. The YouTube videos,"What is the Meaning of Life 101?” and "Bikinis and Burqas: Narrowing the Gap" illustrate the mechanics of religious and political indoctrination that leads to these types of conflicts.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • It's all Amazing!

      I appreciated how the author and some other people above are trying to look objectively at things.
      I objectively think all this Islamophobia is to cause more trouble between people who would otherwise coexist, because real Muslims and real Christians are supposed to act with the best of manners, like the Prophet Muhammad and Prophet Jesus peace be upon them both did; if you make friends with good Muslims, you will really experience true Islam.
      There are good Muslims all over the world, and many Muslim clerics and scholars will denounce the killing of innocents-you just won't hear or see it much in the media (it's not sensational!), that's all. We're Not supposed to fight fire with fire (unfortunately people do and cause further trouble- news story in point), we're supposed to reciprocate with what's better. People of all faiths do things in the name of their religion, with no religious backing, and that causes trouble.
      Muslims got along and still get along well with Christians and Jews and others in many areas of the world, even in America for those readers who don't know. In fact, the Abyssinian (Christian) king at the time of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, offered asylum for persecuted Muslims from Arabia- when he learned of Islam and the Qur'an , he became Muslim! And he was the leader of the Abyssinian Christians! But he didn't force anything, nor was it forced. That's how it was. The Christian subjects of his did not fight with Muslims, nor vice versa, each kept their respective beliefs and coexisted. Non-Muslims under Islamic majority rule had similar peaceful coexisting.
      The religions are different, but treating others with humane respect is direly necessary in the world. Whenever people fight unjustly, there will be more injustice, as you see in the news. When will it stop? It'll stop if people actually seek peace and the Truth.
      So for all the haters on here, I invite you to really look into the reality of how Islam is not bad. Islam truly is peace- even if Muslims don't practice it. If you see negative things on the media, those are ignorant cultural Muslims, just like there are ignorant cultural Christians (and other ignorant evil people who are just plain haters)- which I think that's what this author is trying to say.
      **
      Also, in response to some offensive things mentioned above. Warning: Islamic information posted below! (To clarify what we believe in so there's less hating, hopefully).
      The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was not a pedophile- that's a great offensive lie you said. He married a woman- someone who was legally mature for her time. I saw a history book with the people of Appalachian America- it showed a 23 year old man married to a 9 year old girl, they were standing for a family photo as husband and wife. Does that make him a pedophile? No- it was the norm. She was legally marriageable. Seriously. Older men got and get married to younger women. It's a fact that happens all the time. Don't use that as an insult because it's not even a smart one, seriously.

      And Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, did not persecute people nor kill unjustly; he and his people were persecuted so much(similar to how early Christians were persecuted by Romans). Go read a real book about him- his life story. If you read false facts, of course you'll be hating, but, go read the truth. He was the greatest man who ever lived, because he was so kind and loving to all humans, animals, and even plants! Muslims believe God sent him as a messenger for all people to bring Mercy, Truth and Justice before the Last Day, and eradicate ignorance, injustice, and rascism- just like Jesus and Moses and Abraham, peace be upon them all. And that Jesus peace be upon him announced his coming in the Bible. "Turning to the New Testament, let us look at John 14:15-16. It says: "15. If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another 'comforter' (helper in other versions), that he may abide with you forever." Also John 15:26-27, John 16:5-8 and John 16:12-14. Jesus, peace be upon him, spoke the Gospel in his native language which is Aramaic. The earliest translations were in Greek. It is very very interesting that the Greek word which was eventually translated into English as "Comforter" (Helper) is "Parqaleeta" and the meaning of this word is "one whom people praise exceedingly". " Muhammad= Arabic term for Praised One (taken from sunnahonline.com). I invite you to read the Qur'an (Muhammad couldn't read or write, nor was he a scholar, so he could not write or compose a book. The Qur'an is still in it's original form. That's a miracle after all these years- because Muhammad peace be upon him is the Messenger for all peoples until the end of time- so please give reading the Qur'an a try- it's for you and me)! His prophecies have come true, obviously not because he said them, but because they were truly from God! The moon was split in half and put back together by God upon the request by the Arabs of the time (14oo years ago)- they saw it and said it was magic, but it wasn't! There's a chapter in the Qur'an that records this event! NASA has recorded and noted the astronomically "recent" line/crack on the surface of the moon if you want visual proof! I'm not making this up- it's all factual proof. And too many more to list here. Muslims believe that there is only One God, and His Messengers came to their people with that message. God knows Best, and knows how to prove His message to people so that they are guided. That simple, uncomplicated, and that easy! That beautiful!
      Then the differences and fighting happen amongst the masses because Satan instigates people to oppose this message and to cause corruption and fighting. Some people think all Muslims/Islam want to kill- that is totally false.
      It's not about bloodshed. The Qur'an says: There is no compulsion in religion! So Muslims don't force others to convert- to each his own religion, so no need for Islamophobia seen here.
      Another Qur'an verse: "To you (all) your way/religion, and to me, mine". All Muslims will try to do is preach and show you proof- but they don't have a right to force you to convert. Nowadays, murder rates are so high amongst all sorts of people, let alone Muslims.Terrorism is not Islamic at all- terrorism is a political issue that is not Islamic. There are terrorists in the IRA, and the Tamil Tigers, etc.

      And one last thing- the main problem good Muslims have with good Christians (most sane people appreciate coexisting kindly and justly) is that we believe Christians elevate the status of Jesus and Mary peace be upon them to the level of God, who is the only One and Unique Creator with no one or body like Him! He's too Great and Awesome and Wise and High! Jesus is not God- God is God, and Jesus is Jesus, Jesus is the Messenger of God who was created from only a mother, Mary- just like Adam peace be upon him was created from the earth, and how Eve peace be upon her was created from her husband. God is able to do all things- those miraculous creations prove it. We believe it's a test of faith if you can believe that God creates so amazingly; this amazing One must be believed in and worshipped to the exclusion of others. Even our own births are miraculous- we come from nothing into existence- all to fulfill the purpose of life which is to worship God and do good. Also, we believe Jesus was not crucified, he is still alive in Heaven, and he will come back and die; as a human being has to die and be buried in the earth no matter how righteous he/she is. Jesus and Mary peace be upon them ate food, but God does not eat food- He is the Provider. God does not equate Himself with His Creation as He is high above us, and we are His servants. Worship the Creator, not the Creation. Believe in this Unseen Creator, and as a reward, you will see Him in Heaven. Right? We believe Islam is not or could not be made up- it is God's religion with clear proofs and realities. We are limited human beings, and we can't know it all, and we can't see it all, or explain it all, but God Can, and He teaches/guides us to His Way. Muslims love and believe in Jesus and Mary, but we don't worship them or any other Messenger. We do not worship Muhammad peace be upon him, we just try to copy and implement the way he lived and worshipped God. Also, we name our children after Jesus and Mary and the other Prophets and Messengers just as much as we keep the name Muhammad! We would never insult them, because we believe in them. We are taught not to disrespect, we don't like offensive things or images about Jesus peace be upon him or other Prophets/Messengers either. And, Allah=God in the Arabic language, Christian Arabs say Allah for God. Arabic is the original language of the Qur'an, and anyone's free to learn it- you don't have to be Arab to be Muslim; the Arabic language is a unifying factor, that's all. The Bible was in Aramaic, but translated into other languages. The Qur'an is preserved in Arabic from it's origin, and then is translated into other languages. Some verses are understood literally, and others are not meant for literal application- some non-Muslims misunderstand some verses regarding killing non-Muslims- it's contextual. Like for fasting in Ramadan- there's a verse about distinguishing between the "white thread of dawn and the black thread"- but you don't literally use thread- you look to see for the first light of dawn so that you know when your fasting day starts. Like that! simple. We want all people to live in peace- just like the original message of Jesus Christ, peace be upon him, and peace comes through unity- nothing to be scared of if you think this is a bad thing. Those who spread chaos and disunity will try their best to make this not happen, but it's all in God's Hands, and He Knows, and we don't. Just be good, just, and peaceful, that's all we have to do.
      **
      I hope that at least some of you on here will come to know and appreciate the truth about Islam and Muslims- it'll be nice. For now, let's agree to let peaceful people live. There is too much fear and hatred going around. Ignoramuses who abuse freedom of speech as a guise for hate and instigation need to stop-which would happen if there are more people advocating respect. Respect goes a long way (I hope I spoke respectfully), but alas, there will always be enmity between good and bad. Hope someone found this post food for thought and reflection, and hope some benefit from it.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • takawalk

      If all Muslims viewed things in the same light as you we could just relax, and debate respectfully. I disagree with you on several things. I don't know which one of us is right and I am pretty sure that neither one of us or anyone else is right about everything. Only God knows. But in this physical existence we both share, a different version of the teachings of Islam threatens us all as I am sure you understand. Thank you for your post, I can hope that many more like you will stand up and be counted and show those who use the name of your faith to spread destruction a better understanding.
      I am Christian but if you are sincere with what you posted I think it is fine if I call you a brother ( that is not to say I condone interfaith) but I do think people of all faiths and no faiths can coexist.

      September 28, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  2. uhearhim2

    So committed Islamists are not peaceful. How many times do we need to learn this? As far as being a small minority. The "commited ones to Jihad are said to be only 10 % of all Muslims. Sounds small?, but that actually that is about 300,000 committed to Jihad on US soil. Please wake up and smell the coffee.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  3. uhearhim2

    So committed Islamists are not peaceful. How many times o we need to learn this? As far as being a small minority. The "commited ones to Jihad are said to be only 10 % of all Muslims. Sounds small?, but that actually that is about 300,000 committed to Jihad on US soil. Please wake up and smell the coffee.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • YouMissRead

      You are kidding me right. 300,000 people in the US dedicated to its overthrow and yet fewer attacks than by the Jewish terrorists in the US according to the FBI. I think you may have mistaken the 10%. Are you sure that wasn’t just 10, total.

      September 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  4. morethoughts

    the muslim/islam can get someone in USA to charge the film-maker with libel of defamation to their personage because they are led to believe that they are incarnations of their Prophet Muhammad who must be wished all peace – to appease them.
    ok
    Then – the film-maker will have a better chance to prove his case and the muslim/islams theirs.
    sounds like a fair fight to me.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  5. kahnkeller

    Yes, “they” – the tiny minority of Muslims who turn piety into violence – have big problems of their own"...there seems to be an aful awful lot of those... minority muslims...and sir... your have totally missed the key problem... muslims should be free to worship as they please...but their rights end when they thiink they can tell people of other faithss...or in my case..no
    faith...what can be said or not said about their religion... there are four billion people who are not followers of islam...
    they better understand that... becasue soon the non muslims will start to hit back... then they will have problems.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  6. hopefornepal

    The writer might have a few friends in the secular world who happened to be born in Muslim family or go by some Muslim names. Any attempt to eradicate Islamophobia without addressing the violent side of Islam is a wishful thinking to live in an unreal world...may be in the virtual world. Sooner or later, the world will have to face a totalitarian system in which such articles will not be even imagined. Unless Islam goes through some short of reformation and humane interpretations of Koran are allowed, there is very little hope not only for the Christians but for all who wish to exercise their faculty to think and express.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  7. Christian Extremists?

    There is something that needs to be said here: a religious extremist is someone who takes the teachings "extremely literally". In Christianity, that would mean showing extreme love, kindness, patience, gentleness, self-control and loving your neighbor and enemy as yourself. Because that is what the Christian faith teaches.

    Anyone who does things CONTRARY to what the faith teaches by definition cannot be called an "extremist".

    Posting a video that fosters hate then, CANNOT be the work of a Christian "extremist".

    Islamic extremists,however, are simply taking literally what their Koran teaches, to smite the Jew and Christian infidels wherever you find them. Muslims who take this literally (not really sure how you can't, but glad many of them don't" are simply doing what their faith and holy book says to do.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • thisisnotaboutreligion

      This is not really about religion.
      It is about manipulation of the masses for political purposes, using religion as a tool for an incitement of violence, revenge, and irrationally fueled thinking and behavior based upon delusions and illusions.
      it is nothing but politics as usual.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • thisisnotaboutreligion

      some one has to vote
      need a bit a prodding do we?
      give us some true leaders with morals, ethics, and values that truly represent to the 100 percent, not just the 100th.
      then we the people will be glad to vote because we will have someone to vote for.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • thisisnotaboutreligion

      crystal wasn't available this time around to incite the masses to rally
      nice try quys
      you suck so bad i just had to say that

      September 23, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  8. islam is so funny

    Islamaphobia is a term used by followers of islame who get negative reactions to barbaric reactions by muslims.
    I do not believe in THEIR beliefs.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  9. Jim

    "Islamophobic"????

    A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger.

    Islam has proven itself to be at the center of virtually all sneaky, underhanded violent terrorist activity in recent memory.

    How can a rational individual even propose that Islam doesn't represent a clear danger??? .... All Muslims are not terrorists, BUT virtually all recent terrorists are Islamic.

    September 23, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  10. tony

    Ok here we go. First off this is simple, Christians are not the ones blowing up abortion clinics. The people who have bombed and or killed abortion doctors always have acted alone and over one instance. Secondly the Right to free Speech shall not be infringed upon by anyone or any other nation. This ridiculous whining from the obvious Muslim sympathizers is ridiculous and sickening to read and hear. We attacked Afghanistan because that is where the terrorists responsible for the September 11th attacks were at and that government was harboring them. Secondly we attacked Iraq for 3 reasons and not one alone. We did find the slaughter houses that Saddam's sons were guilty of having. That one action by UN standards is enough to declare war on anyone. I really despise liberals due to the fact they spin garbage. Another of those reasons is Iraq did have weponry they were not supposed to have. Mirage jets and scud missiles those were found. And let us not forget the fact that they were working on creating more gases and looking for nuclear capabilities we found the paper trail. The atheist rhetoric here is absolutlely absurd also, you put Christianity in the same place as Islamic Terrorists. And Sharia Law is completely absurd in itself. Now lets get to the point here the middle east has continuously attacked the US from the 80s and 90s and have stepped up these attacks since 2001 and we have people who blame the US for. And Kate yes kate you condone killing the filmmaker? Honestly? You Kate are a pathetic disgrace, yes you are a Liberal and probably one of Obamas biggest supporters. The fact that there was no reaction to having our embassies attacked and nothing done about it was a disgrace by the Obama adminsitration, so to me the point is clear. Romney must receive my vote this November.

    September 23, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • kahnkeller

      ...hey bubba... the only difference betwseen a christian extremist and an islamic extremist is the spelling...if you had
      any knowledge of history...the harm done under the christian banner...."god wills it".... has done more harm to mankind than all the wars ever fought in history... and now the islam extremist are quoting their "holy book" justifying thier right to kill and destroy....the world would be bressed if all religions were gone...but...until people are willing to make their own decisons and accept responsibility for their lives... that will not happen...

      September 23, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  11. Aloysious Farquart

    Religions divide us. I guess religion would be harmless in the hands of rational people, but religion teaches one to believe things for which there is no evidence, so they are based and dependent on irrationality.

    Thus, they will believe almost anything with no evidence, sparked by nothing more than a leading question intended to deceive (Why Does Obama Not Reveal His Islamic Beliefs?) leads a nitwit to believe Obama is Muslim, without ever suspecting the answer is because he is not Muslim.

    Never before in modern history has it been to easy to fool so many, many people all of the time.

    September 23, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Jim

      .... and, your point is??

      September 23, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  12. turnbuld

    While some paint conflict with the middle east with a religious brush, it is a complete misunderstanding to do so. Certainly religion complicates our relationships there but, at the end of the day, our problems there have more to do with economic and ideological differences than religious ones. Religion tends to make the problems worse; people use the deep faith felt by true believers to further their own ends all too frequently.

    That all said, we have been shot at and shooting at the middle east and north Africa since near the very beginning of the nation. If one traces it further back, the west and east have been at odds since Greeks logged off a chunk of Trojan forest to make a horse. There are some fundamental incompatibilities between the lives and belief systems that make violence and conflict very easy.

    It seems very unlikely that we will reach a peaceful equilibrium anytime soon. As long as the middle east has a strong say on what it costs to power our lives; as long as it is so very easy to whip masses on either side to violence (Muslims are there today, Christians have been there in the past and rolling toward a similar future) it will be too easy to riot first and never ask questions later.

    In the end, some conflicts are settled the old fashioned way; at the end of something pointy be it stick or bullet. There is nothing in our current troubles that seems solvable without the application of national force. At some point, we either find a different way through or resign ourselves to what seems inevitable and focus on coming out the other side on top.

    September 23, 2012 at 4:58 am |
    • justiceforall

      I don't understand the president's logic in simply giving an apology, but then not backing it up immediately with legal civil action to bring these issues into the legal judicial system immediately. Now the guy has a price on his head, and no one even knows what he looks like, except perhaps that he is an egyptian coptic christian. maybe, who knows. he is now in hiding.
      the laws should apply to all, even the islam religion.
      the president is setting up people for taking justice into their own hands – because he will not take it into his own in his own country. this is a major problem as far as i am concerned.
      these people have delusionary issues with associating one thing that resembles something else with that thing which they are associating – like with the P. Muhammad pbuh – or the flags.
      i think this should seriously be taken into immediate presidential consideration – as he is the one responsible for initiating said civil justice against this fellow at this point in time. I am seriously amazed at this.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:56 am |
    • morethoughts

      isn't this like exploitation of the mentally ill then?
      the guy who made the film knew enough about the muslim/islams to know that this film would and could cause them great mental anguish and harm to many from this mental anguish. He would be intelligent and knowledgeable enough to know that many of this religion could be mentally ill from the effects of the environment in which a vast majority of them live due to current, past, and future wars, strife, politics, and socioeconomic factors. not only did he purposely exploit them directly – he also knew that other persons who might be mentally disabled due to the wars, and other mitigating factors – would feel mental anguish as a direct result of the film as well and could possibly incite them to harm as well.
      at some point this type manipulation of the mentally ill (which happens all the time actually) has got to be stopped for the benefit of all mankind. mental illness is an illness – provoking mental illness is probably also a mental illness
      i suspect it would then all depend on whom provoked whom first???
      sandbox games – an a world stage – half those people protesting are kids ...

      September 23, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  13. ophu

    We have Christian extremist militias in the U.S. They just haven't been activated yet.

    Thank God that they, like their Musilm counterparts, represent a very tiny part of their religion's faithful.

    September 23, 2012 at 4:37 am |
  14. Phil

    Hey all you self-righteous hypocrites, try not standing at a ball game when God Bless America is sung and see how tolerant your fellow Christian Americans are. Better yet, express your "free speech" by ripping up a miniature flag during the National Anthem.

    September 23, 2012 at 3:07 am |
    • abullyisabullyisabully

      that would seriously depend upon who you were standing (or sitting) with don't you think?

      September 23, 2012 at 3:17 am |
    • replytophil

      one would hope something would not happen in USA, as a piece of paper or fabric that resembles a flag, is just that, a piece of paper or fabric that resembles a flag.
      people are smart enough to realize that people sit for many varied reasons in this society one would hope. the person may be disabled in some way, even if in thinking or feeling, which is their right to have as is their own. someone could be with a child, etc.
      and even if it was a group, so what, they are simply looking for attention if mutilating a piece of paper or fabric that resembles a flag – that too is freedom of expression – and therefore should be deemed as such.
      In this nation, what would it matter if freedom of expression and freedom to live in piece with disabilities, etc.
      what if their in a wheelchair?

      September 23, 2012 at 3:49 am |
    • Tim

      Try kneeling before a cross in Islamabad!

      September 23, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • islam is so funny

      My family goes to games all the time and we stand up to be respectful.
      This is totally different than freaking out about a poorly made movie about the life of a pedophile murderer who happens to have 1 billion ignorant, poorly educated zombie followers.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  15. Kaehu

    McLaren is the kind of idiot who would also say the Nazis were misunderstood and if we had just been more tolerant of their beliefs, World War II would never have happened.

    Jesus told us to discern and speak out against evil, even if we may be persecuted, beaten and killed as a result. (Matthew 10.) Islam is evil, and Christians need to come out and say that.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • abullyisabullyisabully

      i think He also taught that he without sin be the first to throw a stone ...
      people are smarter than that is USA
      violence is not permitted – only legal justice remedies would solve a problem this big
      we the people have to rely on the justice system judges and appointed to make decisions as big as these presented in this case – as they are the ones with the power to enact change and peaceful and just remedy.
      and they cannot make these decisions without a jury, since so big.
      it would be a big case no doubt.

      September 23, 2012 at 3:08 am |
    • Betty Elder

      If you read that correctly and not through the eyes of self righteousness Jesus was saying if you preach Him you will be persecuted. And you would receive a reward for it with Him in heaven. He was not saying if you preach against something you will be glorifying Him. Certainly not in the case of preaching against Islam. It is an evil religion but no more so than Mormonism.

      September 23, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • Jim

      n

      September 23, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Jim

      I'm with you on that assessment.

      All a clear thinking individual has to do is realize what has been behind virtually all terrorist activity in the21st century.

      Guess what, it's all been originated by the "religion of peace", islam!!!

      That's all you need to know, folks, that is the enemy.

      September 23, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  16. Cliff

    I would be more willing to hear the "Muslims are not our enemies" argument IF I heard Muslims in America decry the violence and hatred of non-muslims. IF Muslims in America embraces freedom of speech and used it, I would be willing to consider their side.

    September 23, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • youprobablywillnothearthat

      i think you are right.
      we should have a big civil and criminal trail in USA – and put both USA and all other offending governments on trail – and their stupid religions (of all things) on trail. Really and truly get the facts, and judge by a huge jury panel – not just the usual 12 since so many would be on trail. It could take years to litigate, but in the meantime – everyone (that means the muslim/islams and usa too) will have to wait patiently and nonviolently for a final answer – soothed in the knowledge that scientific facts and all other human based sciences – including politcal, religious, economic, geologic, and psychologic, etc. will have to also be considered – as well as future affects on all societies, etc.
      we should do it – i would be proud to be called a human being if this were too happen – is there prophecy for that?

      September 23, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • abullyisabullyisabully

      it seems like watching a big sandbox or schoolyard fight – with obvious bullies on both sides – cept some are bigger than others – and some are bigger by virtue of level of reaction or nonreaction – and everyone is standing around watching in whatever their emotions strike them as time progresses through the madness – shouting and throwing insults, and cheers, and jeers, and shoes ... and its gone on for so long that the reasons for the battles are all jumbled into chaos that seems to grow its own demons based upon their vary existence of chaotic mindless reasons.
      it's almost like a vortex, don't you think?

      September 23, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • takawalk

      I would agree with Cliff, I would like to believe that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people, and in their actions I suppose most are. However those willing to condemn the actions of the extremist seem to be in the minority, or so it seems to me. I know I am just another mushroom, and maybe my perception of this is wrong. But if that perception is correct and the majority sees nothing wrong with killing the infidels I think that pretty much means that they are the enemy. I have a right to practice my faith, and a duty to respect the rights of others, as long as they aren't trying to kill me. There is a strong force within the Islamic faith that intends to take over the world. This is a fact that has to be recognized, if realizing this means that you are Islam-phobic, well whatever, I guess all I can say is hand me my sign.
      As to the following statement "We must admit that we have our own tiny minority whose message and methods we have not firmly, unitedly and publicly repudiated and rejected" when folks who call themselves Christians start killing folks while shouting God is great I will have no problem denouncing them. There have been those throughout history that have done just that and I go on record saying these people do not follow Christ.However every single day somewhere in the world an Islamic terrorist kills people, often fellow Muslims, forgive me for not understanding how this can still be called a "peaceful religion".

      September 23, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • islam is so funny

      youprobablywillnothearthat
      that is the silliest rant I have ever read.
      I do not know what you put in that hookah but, maybe, just maybe, you do not understand the freedom of speech.
      Read, educare yourself, and then, come back and I hope you will make more sense.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • seriously

      I thought that was a pretty good description of the dilemma the world faces today – in regards to what is happening between the USA, Isreal, and the MidEast. And to think all this was based on 'holy books' and religions and government that was first based upon religion and upon the desire to have freedom of religion, thought, and faith.
      perhaps it was not literal enough – the explanation that many would be on trail for the same thing as this point in time if you delved into all the facts and counterfacts – and arguments for and against – and consequences of actions of manipulative religious governmental fallacies and delusion upon the minds, souls, and lives of the many.
      i think that was probably what that rant was about – the fallacy and lunacy of it all.
      i guess we will all eventually have to let god be the judge of all things ...

      September 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Cliff

      I will never support your right to belive in anything that compels you to kill me.
      Until I hear American Muslims firmly and loudly on my side on this, they are the enemy.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  17. just my thoughts

    Mr. Mclaren,
    It is not the fault of Christians or Jews when Muslims attack and kill people because they were offended by something someone said or did. How many people died in Afganistan after the Paster in Florida burned the Quran? HOw many of them had any thing to do with the burning. While I agree that the Pastors actions were not biblical and he did not follow Jesus when he did this. In no way were any of those deaths his resposiblity. That falls to the Muslims who killed those innocent people and no one else.
    There is truth in what you say however, your conclusions are not what Jesus teaches us. Evangelical Islamaphobia is not a correct term when discribing Christians who truly believe and follow Jesus. Yes there are many people who pass around conspiracy theories as fact. If you read the responses of Muslims to articles in the news about the film trailor that insults the prophet Muhammad you will clearly see that there are many many Muslims who perpetuate these same Christianphobias as well as Jewishphobias. How about the one where Jews kill, cook and eat little Muslim children how absurd is that. Yet you see that all the time. You will also see the hatred Muslims have for anyone who is not Muslim. And no sir I am not saying every Muslin. It is estimated that about 10 percent of Muslims are radical. Thats about 300 million Muslims and that is not a tiny amount.
    How is it Islamiphobic to tell the truth about what Muslims are doing to innocent people in the name of their prophet Muhammad? How is it Islamiphobic to repeat what Muslims are saying that a person who insults their prophet should be put to death. How can it be the fault of the Christians when a high ranking member of a Muslim country calls for the murder of a person who is no a member of the citizens of that country simply because he insulted their prophet? Mr. McLaren what you are saying is that the victim is at fault because the attacker was hurt by what the victim said and that justified the attackers actions. I think they call that battered wife syndrome. While I agree with you that when people make poor decisions about insulting someone, that is not justification for any physical harm from the the person who was insulted.
    I like you tried to watch the trailer I could not finish is because of the poor quilty of the acting and scripts. I disagree with you about calling it hate speech. At no point did it call on anyone to harm anyone. I do not like saying this but it seems true. Hate speech laws are just a way to silence people you do want to hear somones opinion that you don't agree with. Yes I know it was meant to help prosicute people who were inflicking physical harm on others. It is being used more and more to silence people who opinions you don't like, That is the only reason I beleive hate seech laws need to be removed from society. While everyone should use good judgement when speaking about any subject we must never stop someone from voicing opinions that we do not agree with as this will lead to the loss of freedom of speech by all.
    You ask " are we going to continue spreading falsehoods and lies about Muslims?" As long as there are people in the world who want to poke an open wound, yes it will continue. Jesus tells us in the end times there will be many false prophets. If you look around I am sure you can see many. But, do you see all the false prophets or only the Christian ones. There are many false prophets on all sides we have to know the truth and be able to see the false prophets so we can stay away from them. If you look at your questions then go to the bible and lookup what Jesus said about the questions you will see the truth, whether you believe it or not it is your choice. If you do not then you will be no better than the false prophets yourself. How sad that would be.

    September 23, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Arvoasitis

      Fear, anger and hatred will not help to resolve religious hostilities. A certain religion teaches that the virtues of man are liberality, justice, friendliness and sincerity and that the three great duties of man are:
      1. To make of him who is an enemy, a friend.
      2. To make of him who is wicked, righteous.
      3. To make of him who is ignorant, learned.
      It was not the religion Jesus formally belonged to, but it seems to be the religion Jesus taught.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  18. bottomline

    this whole religion thing is as usual a manipulation by the government to inflame and control the passions of the masses – cuz it is election time again!
    say a prayer and vote – amen (sic)

    September 23, 2012 at 1:11 am |
  19. Millennium3

    Jesus has actually RETURNED together with Muhammad
    with some real "GOOD NEWS" to all humanity,
    in the begining of this most critical and final Third and Last DAY (=MILLENNIUM; John 6/27, 40)

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    "UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES"

    September 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • bato bantelis

      If you read the Bible thoroughly Jesus and Muhammad cannot come together...
      This is first the rapture of all believers both living and dead, before Jesus comes down to destroy all the believers of Muhammad (see Book of Revelation)
      Anyway, later Muhammad would appear with Satan before the lake of fire and brimstone for spreading the "abomination the makes desolate" (Daniel 9:27)

      September 22, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  20. yellowvoltage

    what the hell is this guy talking about. what an idiot

    September 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • bato bantelis

      If you read the current news about violence of muslims all over the world against Christians particularly in Pakistan and Africa this is not just having God and fear, nor God and hate; but God and believing in God.

      The Gospels and Epistles taught us to avoid the people or households that carry animosity against Christian goodwill. The Old testament taught us to avoid people of ungodly demeanor.(Matthew 10:13 – 14) The Bible in general taught believers to be prudent – by avoiding personal sacrifices as much as possible ("run to the mounstins during tribulation" (Matthew 24:16), the sacrifice demanded by God is faith, justice, and obedience not suicide, nor taking out life, self-famish, neither self-destruction (1Samuel 15:22, Psalms 51:17, Proverbs 21:3)

      Indeed and there is nothing condemnable in having this alarm of Islamic dangers. Among evangelicals this must not be viewed as hate but prudence, (Proverbs 22:3) separating from people of cunning and harm (Ephesians 4:14),

      September 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.