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. Mike Payne

    As a NON-RELIGIOUS Gay Person – I am Laughing my Black Azz off at watching 2 of the world's largest Religions ("Peace and Love to All") C A N N I B A L I Z E each other like sweet little baby Sand Tiger Sharks in the warm, enveloping peace of their Mother's womb: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrqgPjZ07Ts

    M A Y B E they will all K I L L EACH OTHER OFF, and leave the rest of the World to F I N A L L Y live in Peace.

    September 16, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • Christian

      You ain't seen nothing yet. Wait until the anti-Christ takes power. Good luck.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Daniel

      Jesus was the best con artist salesman ever to exist. There is nothing else to say about him. People keep believing this lunacy because its indoctrinated and they never learn to think for themselves......The Greatest Story Ever Sold....now in paperback!!!

      September 16, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • PAUL

      This is How We Should See God!!


      September 16, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Dennis

      Mike Payne

      As a NON-RELIGIOUS Gay Person – I am Laughing my Black Azz off at watching 2 of the world's largest Religions ("Peace and Love to All") C A N N I B A L I Z E each other like sweet little baby Sand Tiger Sharks in the warm, enveloping peace of their Mother's womb: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrqgPjZ07Ts

      M A Y B E they will all K I L L EACH OTHER OFF, and leave the rest of the World to F I N A L L Y live in Peace.

      September 16, 2012 at 3:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
      You may continue to laugh your BA off, Mike.
      You're fortunate that the Sharia Islamists cannot come for you now, they're too busy exanding their influence, over the Earth. But,when the time comes they're going to Stone you. The 'You" being collectively, of course.
      PSSssst, Mike. as long as there are two people left on Earth, they will "not" live in peace.
      The Peacs that the Bible mentions refers to Spiritual/internal Peace. Since you don't believe in that, you're on your own.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Susie

      Some day you will realize that the only reason you are alive is because Christians are protecting you, This comes out of a love for all people. While in Muslim countries you would be dead by now.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Isabella

      As a white straight woman, I do not care.

      September 16, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Canada

      Gay and black.... No.1 cause of AIDS right there people.

      September 17, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Steve

      Well..to bad you are not on a
      side, because where Islam dominates, gay men, like you, get hung from streetposts, as a matter of routine.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • LiberalChristianSuicide

      Daniel, it's easy to say stuff like that to people (Christians) who won't harm you but let's see if you have the guts to say that about Muhammed and the Muslims?

      September 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • mm

      AIDS will kill you off far faster than any religious warfare.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • bspurloc

      and there is the bigot angry whites spewing HIV Ignorance.....
      FYI... Magic Johnson is still alive.... maybe u should seek out why instead of being ignorant fools

      September 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • JusticeIsNonexistent


      You might want to stop laughing. I don't know about the Muslims in this country, I really haven't had much contact with them. But the extremists in other countries will make you wish you had never been born.

      September 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  2. Bootyfunk

    "No one can serve two masters. You can’t serve God and greed, nor can you serve God and fear, nor God and hate."
    also God and love, God and compassion, God and empathy, God and kindness...

    personally, as an atheist, i'd rather serve love or compassion over God any day.

    September 16, 2012 at 2:43 am |
    • Mark Taylor

      Read 1 Corinthians 13. You can do that online. Just google it. You may be an atheist and that's fine, but you don't understand the concept of God as presented in scripture – even if you don't believe it, it's import to understand what it is you don't believe in.

      September 16, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • LovingChristian

      You're confused. God is love.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Godless

      God is love? Is God everything, including Hurricane Katrina too?

      September 16, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • God123

      God is love? Thank you. But which one?

      September 16, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • John Sharp

      "Loving Christian" Your God certainly doesnt come across as love. Far from it.
      God isn't.
      Dont be a fool. It is 2012 no one is coming. How many thousands of years will go by and you will tell your children God is coming while the rest of laugh at you.

      September 16, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Tell it to the Amalekites.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • bspurloc

      still trying to figure out where Mr Jesus told his disciples to go forth and be bigots... where he declared marriage gender rules, and where he said to go murder incas mayans etc etc ..... anyone?

      September 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  3. AvdBerg

    Are so-called evangelicals and Muslims and all those that call themselves ‘Christians’ followers of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or do they follow after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8)?

    For a better understanding of the history of Christianity and Islam and its spread throughout the world, we invite you to read the articles ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    September 16, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • T. Lee

      Muslims are being so hypocritical about this. You will find "offensive" cartoons, etc., in Arab newspapers, journals, etc., especially targeting Jews.

      So all these Muslims from all these nations are exhibiting the height of hypocrisy with all this rioting, looting, destruction, and murder because they are "offended".

      If Muslims want to embrace and follow a man like Mohammed – fine – but all this rioting and pillaging and murdering is such a farce – so don't prance around with all this "holier-than-thou" stuff about Muhammad – because he wasn't "holier" than thou !

      Mohammed was exactly as how history (not the Muslims, "Peace be upon him" and all that) describes him. He did marry a six year old girl (Aisha) and bed her at nine; he did take a captured JEWISH noblewoman named Safiyya bint Huyayy as a wife after he had her father and husband killed following a battle; he did break treaties (the 10 year Treaty of Hudaibiya after only two years) after he bought time with it to strengthen his forces (of course blaming Meccans for "violations" to sneak up on them with 10,000 Jihadists and attacked during the holy time of Ramadan to catch them unprepared).

      All of this is verifiable from legitimate sources so check it out for yourselves.

      It is not to "offend" anyone – and if Muslims don't like it – well – too bad. This is America and the land of free speech. – and this – this is historic fact and a legitimate critique of all this ramped-up violence on the part of fanital Muslims everywhere !!!

      September 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • seculargovt

      T. Lee,
      Here's some fact-checking directed towards Christianity. It was legitimized in the 4th century by the Edict of Milan. However, its holy books had been not only transmitted through word of mouth up to that point, but were also transmitted by being copied by monks until the Gutenberg Bible was printed in the 1450's. It should come as little surprise that these monks not only made mistakes which sometimes changed the meaning of Scripture, but also adapted it to fit their own beliefs. Furthermore, the holidays were adapted to fit pagan festivals, such as Christmas (Winter Solstice) and Easter (Vernal Equinox). Sunday was chosen as a day of worship not because of its role in the Bible but because Constantine 1 needed the support of people who worshiped the Sun (cult of "Sol Invictus") in order to win the Roman Empire. You can google any of these, they're accurate

      September 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  4. ScottCA


    September 16, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • Jay

      LOL. The religion of the new atheists, and Sam Harris, its executive teaching pastor, Hitchens its saint, and Bill Maher its clown usher.

      September 16, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • John Sharp

      "Jay" The Religion of the new Atheists?
      Jay you are missing what is going on. We are not stupid enough to believe in religion so don't try to pin our non belief in your stupidity as a Religion.
      It isn't a Religion, it is just common sense.

      September 16, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • itsforthecause

      John, further tribalism isn't going to help the situation. It is this fundamental human trait that is the root cause of these atrocities.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  5. Heather in CA

    Well I do have Muslim friends and they actually believe that they Islam is a completely peaceful religion, that Muslims do not incite violence in the Middle East, that all conflict is the result of other religions attacking Muslims, that there is no such thing as a Muslim extremist, and that Israel is at fault for all the bad things happening to them.

    September 16, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      of course they do. Just like Christians believe that Christianity is a peaceful religion. The Quran is full of many passages about peace and love, and the opposite, just like the bible.

      I would say there are Muslim fundamentalists and extremists just as there are Christian fundamentalists and extremists.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Sorta like Black Power and White Power folks.... extremist are in many groups, not just the Faiths. 🙂

      September 16, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • ScottCA

      So heather the Muslim friends you have are completely delusional and out of touch with reality, thanks for letting us know.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • ScottCA

      The only problem with Islamic fundamentalism is the fundamentals of Islam. Islam is fundamentally violent and intolerant.
      The Indian belief of Janism is the pacifist belief that inspired Gandhi. The more fundamentalist a Janist becomes the less we have to worry about them, because they just become less and less likely to hurt anyone or anything.

      The problem with Islamic fundamentalism is the beliefs of Islam.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Christian

      In the Qur'an it encourages Muslims to lie to spread Islam. There is film of Muslim leaders saying one thing to western media in English and then the next day saying the opposite in Arabic and other languages.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • Mykkyll

      As Sam Harris points out in the 'Islam is Not the Religion of Peace (http://www.hulu.com/watch/203937), It is not 'fundamentalist Muslims that are the problem, but rather the fundamentals of Islam. It is not religious extremism that is the threat.. An extremist Quaker is no threat to peace. The threat comes from the extreme application of the teachings of Islam.

      September 17, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • coyotewise

      Heather I've met and befriended many Muslim folks (including the son of the last Shah of Iran), and they were all very
      nice people. Most all were non-American's on student or work visas, or people I met overseas on business. But, here's
      the rub. After knowing them for a while, their conversation invariable turns toward prosyletizing. If you have the temerity
      to disagree, in any way shape or form, you will quickly find a very aggitated and borderline violent person has taken
      control of the Muslim friend.

      Don't get me wrong. There are admirable things within Islam, but they generally only apply when interacting with other
      Muslims (and not always then). But, the weight of Islam, as whole is detrimental to any non-muslim,and God forbid that
      you are gay, jewish, hndu, taoist, bhuddist, christian, etc. And, if you are a woman, you can forget about your rights.

      On the question of fundementalists.... I'd hazard to say, I'd rather have a fundemental Christian (one who actually follows
      the Christ's teachings, to the letter) sitting next to me on a train, than to have a fundemental Islamist (one who actually
      follows Muhammed's teachings, to the letter). I would think nothing of seeing the former slide a backpack under his seat,
      but with the latter I'd be watching very carefully to ensure he retrieved that bag when he was leaving.

      September 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Dan

      Maybe you need to find new friends

      September 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • LiberalChristianSuicide

      Wow Heather should try being married to a Muslim and see if she likes being treated worse than the barnyard animals

      September 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Smitty

      Those poor misguided fools!

      September 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Smitty

      SOooooooo misguided people!

      September 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • takawalk

      Yes and the only Muslim I talk to believes that these riots where caused by Romney, the towers were blown up by Bush, etc. For all I know he is right, but I certainly haven't seen any evidence of it.
      I encourage the peaceful Muslims to explain the Koran and other books of their faith. It is not enough to claim that you are peaceful. Please show where the books of your faith teaches you to be so. I would find this very educational as I think others would.

      September 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  6. Reality

    Now for the nitty-gritty:

    Only for the newcomers:

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no Muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    September 16, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Reality

      الآن لالتفاصيل الجوهرية:

      فقط للقادمين الجدد:

      حرض ما الهجوم على برجي مركز التجارة العالمي، الرحلة رقم 93 والبنتاغون؟

      وما يدفع اليوم 24/7 مسجد / الإمام مخططة أعمال الإرهاب والرعب؟

      القرآن الكريم، كتاب محمد للالإعدام بالنسبة لجميع الكفار والهيمنة مسلم في العالم بأي وسيلة.

      يجب تنظيف المسلمين وقال هذا الكتاب إزالة المقاطع الاعتراف بأن لأنها تستند إلى أسطورة غابرييل، وبالتالي من الواضح أن الهلوسة و / أو أكاذيب محمد.

      بعد ذلك يمكننا الحديث عن سلامة ومكان المساجد وما يتم تدريسه فيها.

      حتى ذلك الحين، يمكن الوثوق بها اي مسلم في اي وقت أو في أي مكان ..................................

      September 16, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Unreality

      How does a book make anyone do anything?

      September 16, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Reality

      A translation by the Google translator.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • ScottCA

      I am truly feeling left out and forgotten that you keep posting only for newcomers.
      Are the regulars not worth speaking to?

      September 16, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Reality

      From the koran, the operating manual for Muslims:

      o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
      "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

      "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

      "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

      "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

      "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

      "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

      "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

      "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

      "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

      "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

      "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

      "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

      "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

      September 16, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Really Scott, you should know better than provoke this tract-o-matic.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Scott, I might not agree with Reality's post but his speaking to those he feels are new comers is correct. Or do you think that anyone already not set in his or her views would ever come into a Blog such as this. Scott, especially with your rhetoric, is really just speaking to the choir.

      Not many are "sitting on the fence" here.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • ScottCA

      Mark, it was a joke.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • sqeptiq

      And many insane clown christians are inciting war in the Middle East in order to bring on the end time. Crazy is not particular to any one kind of theist.

      September 16, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Ali

      I dont know why are christain brothers have all these years always been involve in killing s , mass killings and bashing of other religions publicly , firslty Christains fought within themselves during Church Rule ( Protestants and Catholics) , then they used to mock Jews earlier and finally mass murdered Jews in germany and now their focus is on Muslims , they are bombing muslim countries , invading muslim countries by lie , Weapons of mass destruction lie , while in truth , the only atomic bomb used by a state was a christian government state of America . I dont know why but i surely know that our beloved Jesus christ would hate all this killings and mocking other religoins in the name of free speech . one thing which i am afraid of that this american way of killings and bashing would continue untill God helps us . USA destroyed pakistan by involving them in their battle with soviet union and creating army of fighters in pak afghan border which Hillary clinton admitted in his speech , now usa is naming same fighters that fought for american cuase to dismantle soviet union as terrorists , USA Governments used all these poor countries resources and instead of helping Americans better improve their lives , the american government keeps investing on Foriegn fightings and killings , while many americans are financially disturbed due to these wars and are losing even their homes ... On the other side it really hurts when even normal public keeps silent and takes sides of these evil poeple who mock Islam or any religoin .. it really hurts ... A Muslim believes in Jesus Christ as anyone else does , it is part of thier religion to belive in Christ and his teachings http://www.tubeislam.com ... God Guide us all HumanBeings ..////////////////////////////////////

      September 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Grizz

      "firslty Christains fought within themselves during Church Rule ( Protestants and Catholics)"

      – Good Point. Perhaps we Catholics and Christians here in America will learn to coexist peacefully, like the Sunni and Shia

      "A Muslim believes in Jesus Christ as anyone else does"

      – Ali, I am so glad to hear you say that you too believe in the Son of God as I do.

      But seriously, I respect your right to believe in what you believe in, but lets not be silly

      September 24, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  7. Colleen McKinney

    For an interesting perpetive on how any Muslim (living in the US or abroad) might easily come to the conclusion that anti-Islamist sentiment is prevelant in the US – including in our elected bodies of government. Just look at the Values u
    Voters Summit held this week – at which, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, spoke and the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, sent a videotaped address. Here are some of the topics they covered:

    Speaker: Nonie Darwish, Founder, Arabs for Israel, Founder, Former Muslims United, Author, Cruel and Usual Punishment (confirmed); Frank Gaffney, President, Center for Security Policy; Kristi Hamrick (Moderator), Media Consultant; Erick Stakelbeck, Middle East Expert and Reporter, Christian Broadcasting Network
    Synopsis: Since 9-11, blaming the victim has been a popular media and left-wing pursuit. Somehow, argue America-haters, we brought the violence upon ourselves. But when the blood of thousands of Americans spilt that day joined other victims of terrorist acts from around the world it became paramount to understand the radical mindset and worldview affecting us all. Political correctness is no protection against terrorist acts. Gary Bauer's American Values presents "Radical Islam 101" to provide a framework for understanding the worldview behind the violence.

    Here are the advertised speakers:

    Quite an interesting group of politicians that seem to agree with the extreme positions that the Values Voters platform espouses,

    September 15, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Mykkyll

      How many of these Republican speakers, who just spoke at a meeting of an ultra-rightist, primarily Christian fundamentalist political action group, represent any sort of threat to the civil rights, health, safety or well being of any American Muslim? Compare and contrast to the real threat posed by the effects of Friday sermons given at countless mosques throughout the world.

      The real reason for 'Islamophobia' is that so many Muslims do so many scary things in the name of their religion. If imams preaching violent Jihad were to become as marginalized as Fred Phelps (Westboro Baptist Church) or Terry Jones (Dove World Outreach Center), the concept of Islamophobia as a pathology would make sense. Until that time, fear of Islamic violence is simple rationality.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  8. ScottCA


    September 15, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Al Russell

      Brilliant. Leave it to MP to reveal the absurdity of our conceits.

      September 16, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  9. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Follow way of truth absolute, God, and dump, hinduism, corruption of truth absolute called Religions, way of hindu Jew's, filthy secular s, visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html to learn truth about religions.

    September 15, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • neel

      can someone form law enforcement agency please take notice. He is one that is paid by pakistan isi to spread terror.

      September 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  10. ScottCA

    Atheism really is just having the courage to examine the evidence and admit, we do not know.
    And there is no justifiable reason to claim the existence of any god without evidence to support its existence.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Nope!

      Ha, Ha! Just the other day this dude claimed evolution is FACT and Intelligent design is a PROVEN myth!
      You can't even be true to your own beliefs! Going with the blowing of the wind , eh?

      September 15, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope, you dope, evolution doesn't say a thing about whether there's a god. There's plenty of evidence for evolution–that doesn't mean there's any for a god. There's no evidence for ID at all.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • ScottCA

      I have said Evolution is accepted theory, this is as close to known fact as Science ever gets. Science always keeps an open mind because more evidence may be found that changes our knowledge.
      It is fair to say their may be a god, there could be a god, if there were a god. But the moment you say there is a god, without any evidence to support that claim, then you are insane.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  11. UD

    If I didn't know better and just stumbled on the video, I would assume it is just a silly parody. I can't belive anyone would take it seriously.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      on the surface I agree with you completely – it is a joke.

      But if it was packaged up and shown on TV news programs (particularly in places where the production values of TV news might not be as slick as we are used to) with the message "This is how the infidel blasphemes us and hates us." then what?

      Not so different as those videos of arabs celebrating 9/11 I think.

      September 15, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • ScottCA

      It is just a silly Parody. Remember Muslims want the creators of south park killed for parodying Islam as well.

      Islam is intolerant of other beliefs, this is why we cannot tolerate Islam.

      September 15, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • ScottCA

      Not a GOPer I might be inclined to believe your cersion if this was the only instance of this barbarism. But Muslims want to kill the makers of south park for this, Salmon Rushdie for writing a book, and They killed Theo Van Gogh for making a movie. They have no tolerance for free speech whatsoever. For this reason we cannot tolerate their beliefs.

      Reciprocal altruism has been broken, by the Muslims actions. It is foolish to continue trying to be understanding to those who have no desire to return the favor.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      nevertheless, Islam exists. Christianity exists.

      You may not accept their beliefs and I may not accept their beliefs, but this changes nothing. Saying to a believer – "I reject your reality and insist on replacing it with my own" is worse than talking to a wall – because in this case, they are programmed to hit back when their worldview is threatened.

      A reasoned outreach – such as articulated in this piece is a good thing, no?

      September 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I agree that Muslims are the most intolerant religious group of all.

      Your Salman Rushdie comparison is very apt. It begs the question of how much we should extend the protections given to Rushdie to the fool who made the movie in question.

      But how is your solution of 'intolerance' to Muslims to be implemented?

      September 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • ScottCA

      The first step to avoiding a danger is recognizing that danger and drawing it out into the light. I recognize it and am willing to openly speak about it. I also will be sure to seek like minded politicians who will back action to protect us from it. This is not senseless or pointless.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"The first step to avoiding a danger is recognizing that danger and drawing it out into the light."

      You mean when folks such as yourself preach intolerance? Time to let it go ScottCA. You words are no different than when the 700 Club folks declare that we have to stop Gay Marriage and to do it we must find politicians that promote our views and vote for them.

      Sorry Scott, you folks on the extremes always share the same word usage over and over again.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • ScottCA

      Mark I disagree with you completely. I am not saying to dislike the person who is foolish enough to believe in senseless and dangerous beliefs, based in no evidence. I am saying that we need to question those beliefs openly, and we are correct to find immoral beliefs detestable and to our disliking. When faced with dangerous beliefs it is and even further danger to remain silent and ignorant of them.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Mark From Middle River

      >>>”I am saying that we need to question those beliefs openly....”

      Well Scott, here you do sound nice and calm and declare that we should question but less than ten minutes ago you declared that anyone that has a different view than you is insane. That is the danger of folks such as yourself. One second a pastor might sound calm during a interview then behind the pulpit he is Rev Wright and saying how evil the White man is. Which part am I to believe that you are no different than Pat Robertson? Question this, you declare that we should question. What of those that declare that they still hold Faith in God or Gods? See, I can go along with your questioning but I do not believe you would accept anyone who at the completion of such questions that did not come to the same belief as you.

      Which, makes you sound just like all the Radical Muslims in the world. They declare that we need to read the Koran and our eyes will be open to the truth.... as soon as we do and do not accept Islam we are insane and all other similar descriptions.

      Sorry Scott, but the true danger will always not be if one is of Faith or not of Faith … it will be those that are ready to call folks insane because they chose one path or another.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  12. ScottCA

    II have nothing but the most genuine sympathy for those who were indoctrinated from childhood into religious beliefs, for they have been abused in the most heinous of ways. Given false certainty about a great many things, for which the claims are baseless and demonstrably false. Those they trusted so deeply have betrayed them with lies, and their choice is heart break in this realization or to continue the insanity of delusional belief without logic. I offer my sincerest sympathy, for the religious whose pain is so deep, from the abuse adults took part in by indoctrinating them in such lies.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Jaylo the King Lawler

      To believe in God is to believe in the after life. You then do not believe in an after life since you don't believe in God. So you have no hope for your future. Life for you is ultimately meaningless and empty since everything about you and what you accomplish will be destroyed. Can you fault people for not wanting this feeling for the rest of their lives. I think it is very possible there is life after death. It is foolish not to be open to this possibility. How many years have you been in existence? And you seem to claim you got it all figured out.

      September 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Brooke

      @Jaylo- First of all, You said "i think it is very possible there is life after death" Why on earth would you think that?? I just do not understand that claim at all. Tell me one thing in the natural world that would lead you to believe there is life after death? I mean, we all KNOW, for sure, what happens to your body after death; one of two things generally, it either decomposes or gets burned. So either way your body is destroyed, this we see. So what lives on? The "soul", which is nothing more than a construct of your brain and when your body dies, your brain dies, meaning all of your reality dies. So again I ask, what leads you to believe there is life after death? A book from thousands of years ago, written by men with the equivalent of a second or third grade education? The fact of the matter is, you did not exist for milllions of years before you were born, and after you die, you will again, cease to exist. Why do so many people fear that so much? Live your life to the fullest, live, love, and be good to each other. Leave the world a better place for the people coming after you, your decendants, for that is the only way you truely live on, and is a wonderful answer for you "purpose" in this life.

      September 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Life for all

      Your incite seems very to the point and full of humanistic realism, it kind of makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. However to those of us who are enlightened it is somewhat hollow and without substance, simply relying on human intellect. You criticize writers of the bible due to their education, yet fail to recognize their accomplishments. If there is no God who inspired their words it would be very unlikely that the words they recorded would have had such an affect thousands of years later. God uses such people to show us that he is able to make anyone wise and anyone foolish, in the case of the much of the new testament he does just that. The scholars of the day were amazed at the teachings of Jesus and many of his apostles and they couldnt understand how such people with little or no formal education could have such Knowledge. Just as it is written in the bible God has shown the lowly his ways but hidden it from those who are wise ( A better translation is hidden from those who are wise in their own eyes)(God resists the proud). Read the new testament with an open mind, perhaps God will open your mind enough that you could actually grasp the concept that there may be more for those who believe. I cant imagine living a life with no hope as you have how very depressing for you. I pray you can find your way thru Jesus...Amen...

      September 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • takawalk

      I believe that I am more than a one dimensional being. I think my spirit uses my mind and body, and is a separate being than the physical. I can believe these things and be productive in society. Others can believe the opposite and be productive. Wouldn't it cool if we could all just get along. Ain't gonna happen, because there are intolerant hateful people in every believe system. Islam encourages these type of folks to commit violence.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  13. ScottCA

    It disgusts me how the tone of this writing is that we should cease questioning islamic beliefs. Religion deserves no special protection from logical examination of its claims. And freedom of speech should allow people to parody anything they wish especially our deepest held beliefs and ideas.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      Are you keeping the Sabbath holy? It's after sundown on the Sabbath eve.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ooops – wrong spot – should go underneath @Nope!'s post below the delightful Richard Dawkins video making sport of the ten suggestions.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • sqeptiq

      I missed the part about us ceasing to question Muslim beliefs. Where was that?

      September 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  14. ScottCA


    September 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Nope!

      He'll never destroy the Commandments of God!
      It is by THEM he will be judged. And so will you.

      September 15, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      He doesn't destroy the commandment part so much as the god part.

      September 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  15. ScottCA

    Powerful video.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    There are moderates among Muslims and among Evangelicals, and they don't deserve to be derided. Honest criticism isn't derision and they should expect it, for their faith has no rational basis and if they want to proclaim it publicly criticism is the appropriate response by rational people. Unfortunately, more extreme strains of their delusions are common among them. They want to extend their God-given moral codes into the lives of everyone they can reach. What they want is unacceptable. They want to limit speech, oppress women, criminalize what they consider to be aberrant or unsanctioned sexual behavior. And they want us to recognize their God and allow it into our public places and even our homes. They are to be opposed by every legal means.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  17. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    @Brian D. McLaren,

    thank you for your very reasoned and objective commentary here.

    All of your words resonate here very strongly with me, but most particularly these:

    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.

    I hope that many people who self-identify as Evangelical Protestants (and indeed the neo-conservative Catholics you reference) read your commentary and comprehend it.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Brian D. McLaren,

      I did force myself to allow the 'tape to run' for the full 13 minutes of the "tawdry, pathetic, even p0rnographic" trailer. It was laughable. Even the trailer had obvious evidence of really poor (from a technical standpoint) over-dubbing that cooborates remarks made by the 'actors' and the glaringly obvious use of green screen to superimpose backgrounds was cartoonish.

      So to your list of adjectives:

      I add:

      I am bewildered that it in some way was materially consequential. It does not deserve to be.

      September 15, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • atomD21

      Brian McLaren is one of the first people that helped me wake up from my Evangelical coma and see that the "evil world" we are taught to have nothing to do with is truly a wonderful place punctuated with bits of horror and insanity. That being said, I agree with you, not a GOPer. The bit about evangelicals being their own worst enemy is spot on. They complain about the supposed victimization of the church in America yet fail to realize it is simply people getting sick of the bully tactics that the church adopted long ago and fighting back against them. And this ongoing crusade of hate against g@ys and Muslims is only furthering the view that they are all nutjobs...

      September 16, 2012 at 2:05 am |
  18. Ryan

    Oh well, if you are peddling sharia , then yes, people need to be alert about the consequences of the infiltration of islamic influence on the west. Turning a blind eye to what is going on in Europe is foolish brian mclaren.
    If you are not intelligent enough to discern the facts, you are a fool.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  19. saggyroy

    "The way of Christ is a gentle strength that transcends the vicious cycles of offense-outrage-revenge." The only answer is reason not religion. If it isn't the Westboro Baptists, it's the Muslims, if it isn't the Muslims, it's GW saying God told him to invade Iraq, if it isn't GW, it's the Catholic pedophile priests. Do you want me to continue? Religion is a bad disease.

    September 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • atomD21

      Except if you read what Christ taught in the Bible, it is also against religion. The holier than thou Pharisees were pretty much the only people he spoke against. He spoke of loving everyone and tolerance. He spoke of helping all those in need. He taught to do and be good, not falsely pious and hypocritical. The true example of Christ is nothing like what is being peddled in our churches today. The world would be a much better place if Christ's teachings and message had not been hijacked for political gain and power.

      September 16, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • sqeptiq

      The Jesus of the bible was a peace and love hippie. The one sold by most of the churches is pretty schizoid.

      September 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  20. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago**; and that other things, like god, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Sometimes, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). Sometimes, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Religions are just big old evil clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division along the way (disguised as love).

    So instead of praying to make-believe people, get a good cup of tea and go on and sit down and collect your damn thoughts. My goodness.

    ** (yes, charlatan spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think it hadn't?)

    mama kindless

    September 15, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Mark From Middle River

      Maybe it is time that we learn to co-exist instead of going down your path of division. With the demonetization of your words how are you really different than the ones rioting right now. Atheist have a strong mind but so do the Faithful. You declare you want to fight division but you are successfully using the same with your post. It is only someone who's heart is already bitter to make such a remarks and there is another way. There are Atheist that get highly offended just the same as the Faithful but we need to find a way to move past that to a society where the ones who are the strong minded use such to find ways to tolerate and not to hate.

      September 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I assume you really don't mean "demonetization" which the OED defines as To deprive of standard monetary value; to withdraw from use as money.

      As in: we're taking the dollar off the 'mama kindless' standard, or perhaps you imply mama kindness' words are no longer golden?

      September 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      darn Spell Check 🙂


      September 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Susie

      The only true Athiest I know is a psychopath who tortured animals and started fires as a child. He can't get along with anyone and starts arguments with any person who gets near him. He is selfish and mean, yet claims to be as moral as the rest of us. All the other nonbelievers I know admit that they just don't know.

      September 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Colonel Sanders

      ...Without religion you wouldn't know what a moral compass is all about. The fact that you know that killing someone for the hell of it is bad, is because religion taught that to those around you, and you've assimilated that concept. Now, if you think, you're free to take any life you want, because you can, then you'll realize the nature of Atheism, no morals, and that my friend is no good, for us, in particular, but in the end for you too.

      September 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Ali

      Suppose their is a mobile phone , and someone brings it to you and says that it created Automaticcally on its own , Would you believe it ? Obviously No one would believe it , their should be a creator , like Nokia , Samsung etc. . Now if someone says that Actually after biillions of years and lots of rain and climate change and this and that , slowly human beings came into Being , obviously thats not possible and doesnt makes sense , their needs to be a creator , no matter how many years of rain or climate changes . When we look around our world it clearly shows us that thier is One , Very powerfuland intelligent Creator , and when you will study what knowledge / and mysteries exist at the moment , you will understand that all over the world , in India , Middle east , West , everywhere , after every few decades came people who claimed to be Prophets of God and their message was to believe in One God . The Holy Quran , The Last and final Direct Word of God , in it Almighty God says that he created us to check who is better in deeds and to make us Worship him and Follow Commandments of Almighty God and live peacfully in this planet without hurting and killing other fellow human beings . ( tubeislam.com ) . I end it with this pray , Almighty God if you are thier , Guide us ..

      September 20, 2012 at 1:05 am |
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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.