As noted in my last post, I’d like to address how Christians can respond to Islam, as well as why the secular media so thoroughly misrepresent Islam (as well as Christianity). Ironically, I just read an article clearly highlighting the media bias against Christianity – particularly Catholicism – and Islam’s protected media status: http://cnsnews.com/commentary/l-brent-bozell-iii/when-child-sex-abuse-isnt-news
The article compares the many times the Catholic sex abuse scandal has made the front pages of, e.g., the New York Times, or garnered time on major news channels, versus the scant attention given to the 1000+ cases of sexual abuse by Pakistani Muslims perpetrated on white girls in England over the past 13 years. British police apparently failed to address this horrendous abuse for fear of seeming racist. The U.S. secular media, in the rare cases in which the outrage has made the news at all, have avoided identifying the perpetrators as 1) Pakistani (since the readers would identify them as probably Muslim) or 2) (more directly) as Muslim. U.S. journalists have no such shyness in identifying Catholic clerical sex abusers as such.
Why would this be? According to Robert Spencer, in Not Peace, But a Sword, because Muslims in the U.S. are a minority, the U.S. media tend to treat them with the same kid-gloves, politically correct approach with which it treats other minorities. That worldwide, nations with Muslim majorities tend to be brutally oppressive of minorities seems to escape most U.S. journalists. On the other hand, Catholics and other Christians (at least nominal ones) are in the majority in the U.S. – so, of course, they couldn’t possibly be persecuted.
But committed Christians believe in moral and philosophical absolutes, and oppose the more and more normative depravity of U.S. secular society. Such “intolerance” and “judgmentalism” is the unforgivable sin in the media’s eyes; it must be punished and eradicated. Ironically, the very freedom of the press to attack Christians arises out of the Christian emphasis on freedom of conscience, religion, and expression that undergirds the Deistic beliefs of the Founding Fathers. Should sharia law become the law of the U.S. (which Heaven forbid!), the secular media (not to mention the ACLU) would be the first to be silenced, imprisoned, or executed.
My wife would wisely say, “Sean, this is just the ‘world’ (in the Biblical sense of the life of society as lived without reference to God) being the ‘world’. It has always hated Christianity and always will.” True. So how can we as Christians respond to that hatred?
The only possible response is to speak the truth in love. As Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI pointed out in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth), truth spoken without love isn’t really truth, and love given without truth isn’t really love. So we must speak out. We do no one any favors by pretending that mainstream Islamic practice isn’t filled with problems: it is. We help no one by minimizing the profound differences between Islamic and Christian belief, and how these differences lead to equally profound differences in practice: those who live Christianity in all of its fullness we rightly call “saints”. Those who live Islam in all of its fullness, very unfortunately, support or act on the abhorrent practices outlined above. These are simple truths; they need to be spoken. One cannot love another and lie to him or her at the same time.
But it is truth in love that must be spoken and lived. I was dismayed, after 9/11, that although many church marquees I saw encouraged the faithful, “Pray for the victims of 9/11”, not one added, “…and for our enemies”. This is where the Christian rubber hits the road; not only “see how these Christians love one another”, but “see how these Christians love their enemies“. Love of enemies is the single most effective witness to Christ. The beginning, end, and middle of the Gospel is this:
“In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” (2 Cor 5:19)
God forgave me everything, so I must forgive others everything. I have freely received God’s love; I must freely give it. This doesn’t mean that war crimes can’t be prosecuted; it doesn’t necessarily rule out military action against, e.g., ISIS, to prevent the continued slaughter of innocents. But if I am truly to be a minister of reconciliation – our primary vocation as Christians – I am forbidden to hate; I am charged to love and pray for persecuted and persecutor alike; I may not dehumanize or objectify those who commit outrages; I must, however reluctantly, admit, “There but for the grace of God go I” and “Jesus died a bloody death out of absolute love for that person”.
As a Christian – I would say, as a rational person – I must reject Islam. But as a Christian, I must love, accept, and will the good of Muslims and all others. Do I have my moments of “Nuke ’em back to the Stone Age”? Absolutely. Is that the counsel of the Holy Spirit. Um…no.