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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 • My Take • Opinion

soundoff (8,500 Responses)
  1. Olivia

    Mr. McLaren: You failed to mention in your article several key points.

    The REASON why evangelical Christians are fearful of radical muslims was not touched on. They are frightened specifically because of what is happening in the Middle East today. Rather than peacefully protesting, they have murdered people. MURDERED PEOPLE. I'm not sure you grasp that reality because you failed to mention it in your article. THAT is the very specific reason non-muslims are frightened. It is not the film that may move evangelical Christians toward Islamophobia, it is the dangerous and deadly radical muslim reaction that will push them over the tipping point. And for good reason. At some point, self-preservation must come into play.

    You also failed to distinguish between muslims and radical muslims. Your evangelical Christians aren't Islamophobic. They are Radical-Islamophobic. They fear the radicals not the everyday muslims. Sadly, your article may do more harm than good because you failed to point this out.

    Your blatant disregard for excluding these points in your article makes me think you are simply trying to make a name for yourself.

    In short, Mr. McLaren, you are pathetic and you are dangerous.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Jen L

      It's interesting how many Christians in the US say "but Muslims MURDER people. That's why they are different from Christians" when, in fact, Christians murder plenty of people, even in our own country and YES because the Christians are "offended" by affronts to their religious values.

      If you have a problem with people pointing that out, too bad.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • JohnW

      "They fear the radicals not the everyday muslims." The problem with this statement is that by and large, evangelicals don't know the difference. They believe that all muslims are radical, so in their minds there is no "radical" and "everyday" muslim. The underlying problem with the evangelicals is that they have very little understanding of the world in general, and they believe that anything that remotely goes against what they believe is representative of evil.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Mordecai

      Yes, because if there's one thing Christ and the early church stood for, it's self-preservation from those who would murder you for your beliefs.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  2. Alex in NJ

    In fairness, the hate group on one side made a mean video. The hate group on the other side committed murder. Sure the video maker is a jerk, but he's not comparable to the terrorists who took that video too seriously.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Iowan

      In fairness, the article uses the recent events to relate to the broader problem of religious intolerence. When we focus on one or two points, we miss the point.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • John

      To Iowan:

      "In fairness, the article uses the recent events to relate to the broader problem of religious intolerence. When we focus on one or two points, we miss the point."

      Try to explain it that way to the Ambasador, his staff, and their families.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  3. wftphd

    I am not an evangelical Christian, not a tradition religionist to any degree. But reflecting on two of the Qur\'an\'s more interesting pieces of advice to its adherents gives one pause.

    \"O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.\" (Sura 5, verse 51).

    \"And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah DESTROY them; how they are turned away!\" (Sura 9, verse 30).

    Admittedly you can cherry pick any form of religious writings to find things to support any thesis. If, however, Islamists support some of the more militant portions of their holy scripture then we will continue to be in a world of hurt. Jesus said, \"Love your enemies.\" And he might have added, \"Keep your powder dry.\"

    Frankly, I believe that the aim of Islam has not changed for more than 1000 years. Conquer the world by whatever means possible, since the end justifies it. When I see photos of children 10 years old being trained for Jihad, I know they are serious. You can speak of love till the cows come home, but in the end it depends on who has the biggest stick. Love has never conquered anything, not even the human heart.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • slughand

      Thank you for the honest truth about Islam, just like Christians there are good and bad but the Quran is very plain about what it considers infidels and what should be done with them. I thank you also for your honesty concerning your beliefs that's more than I can say for Brian McLaren who doesn't quite know what he believes anymore but sells a lot of books trying to figure it out.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • jsa12

      wftphd: you said anyone can cherry pick, and that's exactly what you just did on the verses you quoted from the Quran. Your translation of the first is incorrect. Muslims can marry Christians and Jews, so why would they not take them as friends but as the closest person to themselves in their lives? Try to be part of the solution and choose not to be one who picks up crap and spreads it around.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  4. Rahul

    Thank God that S/He gave us the Buddha!!!

    September 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  5. *facepalm*

    I don't respect any religion that commands its adherents to kill those who don't follow that religion.

    I'm not big on Islam, either.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Ernie

      That is only islam that instructs to kill....dummy

      September 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Read your bible. Who's the dummy now...

      September 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      From the "good" book:

      "Whoever sacrifices to any god, except the Lord alone, shall be doomed."

      "They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman."

      "Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it."

      "f your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. "

      September 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Bruce

      Read it yourself, idiot. There is no such general commandment anywhere in the Bible.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Bruce, I just gave you three passages with that exact commandment. Geez, don't you xtians know your own book?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Bruce

      As for those quotes, the first is a not a prediction, not commandment to anyone, and the rest all apply to their own people, not outsiders.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Oh, so if someone in a xtian town worships another god, then it's actually ok to kill them? Why is your god a moral relativist?

      You xtians really crack me up. Your god is as evil as Allah. Wake up and get a clue.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • 2357

      Every religion, race, creed, and ideology has some rationalized means of justifying murder. What in the world makes you think your hairy palms are so dammed clean? Because you're a vegan Buddhist?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @2357 – I'm an atheist. And I often find it funny how xtians like to point out how evil Islam is while thinking their religion is pure and righteous and good. I seek to point out the hypocrisy in that line of thinking.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • 2357

      All people are born fatally evil. Equally and intrinsically. Atheists are not an exception, but if you believe that, you are just as deluded and hypocritical as the people you mock.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • JoeSeattle

      Have to call foul on that one FacePalm. You're quoting old testament texts dealing with the Hebrew people. Christianity as a faith, regardless of one's own opinion of it, addresses the further revelation of God's plan on Earth. It moves humanity past more primitive ways of dealing conflict. Jesus message is full of messages of tolerance such as "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone".

      It does not say give a free pass to any belief system on the planet that passes itself off as a religion. To cannibal cultures it absolutely carried the message of "stop doing that nasty stuff." It carries a similar message to Islam with regard to how women are treated.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      To all on this discussion thread:

      @*facepalm* is correct in this discussion. He is pointing out the hypocrisy of some of the christian beliefs.

      Peace...

      September 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @Joe – where in the bible does it ever say to ignore the OT? Are those not the words of your god? Does god change his mind?

      Typical xtian fundie – ignoring everything he finds inconvenient.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      @2357 – what a sad, depressed outlook on life you must have. I have more faith in my fellow humans apparently, especiallly given that 'evil' is simply a human construct.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  6. Donald A. Sime

    RE: "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."

    Are you kidding me?
    At a time when people are being killed because someone made a film, we need to ask ourselve who are these crazies and what is provking them, coz it ain't the film.
    If some crazy religious leader put forth a call to arms and thousands, hundereds of thousands?, of armed people started killing and destroying property and lives.... Well some people in the Mid East are still unhappy about the Crusades
    But more to the point, fanatics CAN BE DANGEROUS!!! (note the CAPS and the BANGs)
    I imagine that if someone made a film showing Christ in a "Less than Favorable" light there would be some supposedly Christian fanatics wanting to do them harm. (didn't someone do that a few yeas ago)
    My point is:
    "Just because the fanatics are Muslum doesn't mean that the problem is with the film maker, or the American Government, or the Islamophobe. The problem is with people getting so upset about a movie, or a book, or a cartoon. Someone should rent them a clue. I am not an 'Islamophobe' but I do have a healthy fear of fanatics that are frothing-at-the-mouth to kill anyone who looks like me or thinks like me, and according to recent, and not so recent, news reports there seems to be a lot of Muslims out there that fit this description'
    You don't have to be paranoid to think people are out to get you.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • parinoiahelps

      actually paranoia actually gives one a valid excuse for fearing something that doesn't need to be feared.
      perhaps that is all they really want, to put the 'fear of God' in us all
      that's not going to work – coming from mere mortals
      only God can put the fear of God in a persons heart
      otherwise the fear is merely with the behavior of the person causing the fear.
      do they truly pose that much of a threat?
      the woman's movement is fairly successful in USA
      how could woman be made to feel inferior when they are not and do not will to be
      it all sounds fairly abusive to me
      but then again, maybe there is biology that more fits the bill
      than really true religion
      maybe so many are going manic because of a huge earthquake about to happen
      ever wonder about earthquakes and such in relation to manic type behavior?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  7. Wilson

    Its looking more and more like its time to play a game of "cowboys and muslims." Either that or Islam needs to evolve past their "old testament" like christianity did.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Evolve past new

      Now you only have to evolve past the new one. In particular, that moronic interpretation of Christ's words that says that if you do not say this like a robot: "I accept Christ as my lord and savior" then you get to hell, if not a bullet in the head. Go past that, and then we'll talk.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • ME II

      'a game of "cowboys and muslims."'
      huh? What's that?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • annie

      Gosh, when did christian fanatics evolve past the old testament? There are fanatics in all religions and the simple fact that you seem to think that christianity has fully evolved proves that you can't look unbiasedly at your own religion. Most Muslims are peaceful, just like most christians are. When will christians finally evolve to what McClaren is talking about–you know, when christians stop making hateful videos and threaten to burn Qurans?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Evolve, annie? You're barking up the wrong tree. Take a deep breath and I'll give you a treat.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  8. Eddy

    Islam is peaceful, seriously people, stop being so ignorant. Don't just quote some other hateful schmuck who wants to put fear and hate in your hearts. Think for yourself, read a book our something.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Bob

      I often hear quotes that the biggest problem with Christianity is Christians. Fair enough, we are what we do, not what we say. However, the same should apply to Muslims, and I see thousands of crazies trying to kill people. So the book may speak peace, but the followers don't live it.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Mr Middle

      Remember when that Christian mob formed in France and destroyed the Jordanian embassy because some guy in Amman drew a cartoon with Jesus in it? What about that time the German Protestants killed the Syrian ambassador looted his home because a Syrian newspaper had an opinion piece that seemed antiChristian? How about when the Americans stormed the Lebanese embassy in New York and took over 100 people hostage? What about that Canadian Christian who got on the bus in a predominately Pakistani neighborhood then set off his suicide bomb and killed all those people? OH right that never happened. So save the "Islam is a religion of peace" and the "Christians are jsut as bad" nonsense. Islam is a religion of intolerence and violence that does not allow for any disension or disagreement.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Eddy

      Mr. Middle? Where is that middle? we can keep bringing examples on both sides... what happened to the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, or the genocide in Bosnia, just to name a few. Oh or should we forget about the past. As a Christian I admit that Christians have had their share or violent acts in the name of religion, so let's not forget that. Let's STOP pointing fingers at the Muslims like we are flawless, cuz we are NOT! Let's learn to co-exist with each other. The Muslims are our neighbors and co-workers. Hell, next time you go to the hospital, a Muslim doctor might end up saving your life. Their religion is the largest religion in the world, if it is all evil then we'll all be in some deep trouble, but guess what it is not all evil, it is a "Peaceful religion"!! Again read more about it, and make sure you go to the right sources when you do your research.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  9. theCayce

    Why is it that you can't have a legitimate, solidly grounded distaste or disagreement with anything anymore, that it doesn't get categorically dismissed as 'phobic'? Having just looked up a few definitions of 'phobia', they varied somewhat, but all applied the word 'Irrational' to the fear in question. There's nothing irrational about my fear of Muslims. They've gone out of their way to demonstrate that they are full of hatred, they are violent to the greatest extreme, they bow to a doctrine stating that anyone not of their belief system should be put to death, and they will strap themselves up to the neck with explosives then detonate among innocent bystanders just to make their point. So, no: I'm not phobic about Muslims. I'm also not phobic about venomous snakes, but that doesn't mean I want them slithering around in my house.

    If there is, in fact, such a huge percentage of non-violent Muslims being unfairly judged alongside their vicious brethren, then it should be their place to apply pressure to those terrorists among them to take responsibility for turning the world against Islam, and to change. It' not the place of Christianity or any other group to do this work for them. They speak the language of Islam. We don't. Our place is to protect ourselves from them until they do, in any measure required.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      A big thanky you to GUOs. (given up ones, AKA gays, etc)

      September 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  10. Sid Airfoil

    Im delighted that the author is opposing Islamophobia among Christians. But the root problem is not Islamophobia, but the tradition of believing things WITHOUT evidence (i.e. faith). If you are raised to accept CHristian beliefs on faith, it is easy to ignore the lack of evidence for other assertions, including those voiced by Islamophobes. It is faith, AS SUCH, that is the problem, not any particular faith-based belief.

    Sid

    September 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Jason Owens

      I think it's impossible to operate in a world without faith. You may not label it faith, but every one of us practices some sort of faith every day. The Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 as "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." With this definition, it's most certain that all of us have operated inside of this definition of faith. Unless you routinely check the brake cables on your car to make sure they are connected and functional each and everytime that you drive your vehicle, you are operating on faith that you are confident that your brakes will stop you and assured that the cables and fluid is still there from the last time you used the brakes.

      Once we can rationally admit that all of us operate on some type of faith system. Then we can have an intelligent discussion about Christianity. Until then, there is no value in debating.

      -Jason

      September 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Sid Airfoil

      I've had this discussion with many people before, and I disagree that not checking my brakes before I drive, for example, means that I have faith. Faith is belief without evidence (as your Biblical quote suggests). However, first, "evidence" does not have to be direct or first-hand to be valid, it merely has to be objective (i.e. if I have evidence that my mechanic is honest and skilled, I don't need to check my brakes myself). Second, it is only "faith" if I believe with absolute certainty that my brakes won't fail. I don't claim to have that kind of certainty, hence I need not rely on faith.

      Thus, I DO NOT have faith in anything. Rather, I look at ALL the objective evidence, direct and indirect, and, if necessary I live with uncertainty. But in neither case do I have faith. One does not need to have absolute certainty in order to make reasonable judgements, to act, or to live one's life. Although many people (too many) seem to need it in order live without fear. Faith is the product of fear.

      Sid

      September 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  11. MMA123

    I’m an American and a Muslim and I DON’T have to speak for every single Muslim or on their actions. By the way- when was the last time you asked a Muslim what he/ she thought? Do an internet search and you’ll find the moderates speaking out- but that would be too convenient, and there’s no fun in that since you can’t hate and condemn them. It’s easier to just decide for yourself that we don’t care and we support terrorism. Are all black people supposed to speak out on what Farrakhan says? White Christians on the KKK? Chinese Americans on Tibet? Etc. Of course not. By the way- notice that there are no protests here in the U.S. on that film? We’re not in line with the actions of all other Muslims in the world. We’re individuals just like you. The United States isn’t just for one type of person- it’s for everyone and that includes Muslim Americans.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Agreed

      They throw us in the same bag with extremist and terrorist and they say they are being just, intelligent and cautious. Wake up, my fellow Americans who are prejudicious and bigoted at my middle eastern appearance: we are Americans. And we are proud of our Islamic heritage, as we should be. But, do tell us, what gives you the right to forgive all Christian crimes perpetrated in history and persecute everyone of for of those committed by Islamists?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • this guy

      Try selling that to a bunch of idiots that can't get past what their idiot parent brain washed them with. Hate is a pwerful thing when in the hands of someone lacking the ability to think freely and rationally.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • WASP

      @MMA123: i applaude you for making a stand. i'm atheist and have been to war so i've seen how most folks are nice as could be. most soldiers over there eat like kings, but i would see the people coming on base with little bit of this and little bit of that; what got me was even though they didn't have much more to eat other than a piece of meat, some flat bread and dates, they would sit together eat and invite us to eat with them.
      p.s. i loved their chi, it was the best tea i had ever had.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Non American Muslim

      Very eloquently put. On the subject of free speech, it is worth pointing out that it is illegal in the US to deny the holocaust but not illegal to insult the Prophet Mohammed in the most denegrating, dishonest and brazen fashion. How does that work, guys? Come on, how does it work? Action against Sam (im)Becile needs to be swift and decisive. He is worse than a terrorist for the security of the US. He has helped undo some of the incredibly good work by Mr Obama in the Middle East, allowing Arab Spring countries to decide their own future rather than directly interfering in that process as his predecessor did. I am not about to throw a hand grenade to push my point though, and neither is any Muslim I know. Press, you have a responsibility to balance this – the image of Islam that is portrayed by your reporting is simply incorrect.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • MPLS70

      "it is worth pointing out that it is illegal in the US to deny the holocaust but not illegal to insult the Prophet Mohammed in the most denegrating, dishonest and brazen fashion."
      That is an absolute lie. You're thinking of European countries like Germany or France. There are plenty of holocaust deniers in the US. Do some homework, then post.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Bruce

      Agreed, we are not persecuting anyone for crimes committed in history. We are discussing the problem of crimes being committed en masse by Muslims *today*.

      It isn't the Christian world that's still all bent out of shape over some invasion or sacking that happened a thousand years ago. Few in the West even remember that any such things were done to Europe by Muslims.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Non American Muslim

      It wasn't a lie, it was a mistake. And I'm sorry for that – I am from Europe and assumed laws in the US would be the same. The point that it is illegal to deny holocaust in some western countries should be noted, as should the absence of any challenge by the US on that particular limitation to free speech!

      September 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  12. HugoCorv

    It's a sad day for the human race when you are expected to be tolerant of Intolerance itself.

    The xenophobic intolerence of non-Muslims under the racist Sharia law is now protected by the term "Islamohobia".

    If you cry against the murders by Islamists and the racist discrimination against non-Muslims in Islamist states, you are an "Islamophobe".

    Wake up, the free West while you are still free.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Encompassing injustice

      The problem is that you make an equivalence between being Muslim and being a violent fundamentalist extremist. How would you like if we did it to you, that we assumed you are all a gun-totting Christian fundamentalist conservatives who are so afraid of turbans and brown middle easters that you will go to a Sikh temple and start shooting, thinking you're avenging 9/11?

      September 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Bob

      Very bad example Mr. Justice. Christians will try to stop someone from killing in Christ name, but I don't see that from the Muslims.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Non American Muslim

      Bob, you haven't noticed that 100+ people have already been arrested by the Muslim Libyan government? Did you see the Muslim crowds holding up placards denouncing the embassy raids. Obviously not. And even if you did, it wouldn't stop you ignoring the facts. The fact is that, whether christian or muslim, the quiet, vast majority are good and peace-loving, and extremists like you that insist it's a contest always make the news.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  13. farmergreg

    I guess you would classify me as an Islamphobic, You read Romans and it says live peaceful with all men, but you forget to read the part where it says if possible. My Christ doesn't ask me to be an idiot, if they won't let you live peaceful, he tells in Luke to sell your cloak to purchase a sword. I would also like to say I have not seen any Mosque's being set a fire but it may come to that in the near future. However, I would just like to see us pull all our aid out of their country's and let them fight it out for themselves, if as Cnn has stated in several accounts its just a small minority then the majority should be able to squash them fast, but if it is as I supsect not a minority its not really my problem if they want to war with each other.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • ME II

      "Fire At Tennessee Mosque Construction Site Now Under Federal Arson Investigation"
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/29/murfreesboro-mosque-fire-atfe-investigation_n_698336.html

      "Missouri mosque destroyed in second fire in a month"
      http://articles.cnn.com/2012-08-06/us/us_missouri-mosque-burned_1_vandalism-and-anti-muslim-sentiment-mosque-islamic-center

      September 17, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Non American Muslim

      feel free to go back to farming

      September 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • farmergreg

      Me II did you read the article that wasn't a mosque that is where they are wanting to build a mosque and it was two years ago. Why should they allow a mosque to be built in their town

      September 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  14. Paul yetman

    Interesting, how we are supposed to ignore the facts of this treacherous religion. By this argument did the people that fought the Nazis also have a Nazi phobia.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  15. NoTax

    It is time for islamists and theirs libs supporters vote for Obama and Dems

    September 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  16. coyotewise

    Mr. McLaren, 1500 years (nearly) of evidence, and you still have your head stuck in the sand like an ostrich? Seriously, from the time the Muslim hordes advanced out of the Arabian penninsula, conquering, pillaging, raping and burning every
    thing and every one it their path, attacked and destroyed the great city of Constantinople (now Istanbul) and marching right
    up to the gates of Vienna before being turned back, their religion has been not just an inspiriation but raison d'etre for the slaughter of whole peoples. Islam is not just a religion, mind you, but is a social and governmental regimen that leaves no room for others (think gays, jews, hindus, animists, christians, an all those who do not convert), unless you are willing to either be a slave or accept Dhimmitude (lower than second class, akin to the dilat in India). You will not be allowed to practice your religion, unless you have special dispensation from the Imams, nor can you walk down the street with a Bible in your hand.

    You think this is a "phobia"? Well, I'm sure you understand that a "phobia" is an irrational fear. Looking at the history of
    this cult, a rational man would certainly feel there is some reason for caution, if not something a bit more visceral. As for fear? There is no "fear" here. There is, however, understanding of an existential threat, along with folks educating themselves and making what preparations they need. Especially with the current President and administration, who seem to low all things Islamic, and despise/deride Christian teaching. Oh, sure, they talk the talk, some of the time, But, just ask yourself, why was the National Day of Prayer not invoked by our current President, but he's had plenty of time partake of
    the Ramadan ceremonies.

    One other thing, unless the photos I've seen of the crucified folks in front of the Egyptian government building were mocked up / photo shopped, then I'd have to say there is supporting evidence on the web. I guess you just didn't look hard enough.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • GetOffYourHighHorse

      Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. Your words ring sooooo true.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • WASP

      @wise?: have you seen that all state commercial about the guy using an app to show how his accident happen and the blond lady..........................? well if you believe everything you read on the net, i'm a 6' blue eyed woman named bambi. lmfao

      September 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  17. John

    "Islamophobia" is a myth. People do not "hate" Muslims, nor fear them prejudicially. These buzzwords clearly identify the author's own prejudice, which is that Islam is benign. Sure, there are millions of peaceful Muslims. But it is the committed Muslims, the real Muslims, the ones who obey the murderous dictates of the Koran, who are a legitimate threat to the safety and security of freedom-peoples around the world. Wake up and smell the bloodshed. Islam is second only to Communism and Nazi-ism in the volume of senseless murder and mayhem perpetrated over the centuries. To deny this is a prejudice far more irrational than "Islamophobia".

    September 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • non Radical

      John – Have you read the Koran? from the look of things, I doubt it. Don't say thing you don't know, read the Koran and you'll find that it talks about forgiveness and charity a lot, not war or murder. Those muslims who kills and say they're doing it for hijad will all perish in hell because no where in the Koran it says to kill innocent people, like the ambassador, who had nothing to do with any of this. All I can say is: People to remember that we will all die one day and have to answer to our acts" . No justice on earth doesn't mean no justice for eternity.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  18. Danny

    Hate and discrimination of any kind is an insult to God and His Son Jesus the Christ. We must remember that Christ died for EVERYONE and all have the liberty of accepting or rejecting Him.
    A supernatural love that is only available through the Holy Spirit is what will show us Christ followers how to deal with our SPIRITUAL enemies in Islam. While others resort to hate & violence as the answer, we must not follow the same path. A light in a room chases away the darkness; darkness cannot overcome any light; we are called to be the light of the world and in love to chase away the darkness in others through our testimony.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  19. Dana

    So it's our fault again? It's high time islam stopped portraying us, "the infidels", as evil incarnated.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  20. hrm?

    The article may be valid if he was speaking as an evangelical to evangelicals, which he is not.

    This article may be valid if the individual responsible for the movie was an evangelical, which he is not.

    This article may be valid if only evangelicals were responsible for "Islamaphobia" in this country, which is not true either.

    McLaren, you lost us at A Generous Orthodoxy.

    September 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.