17 June 2008

Responding to Chain Emails #1: Can Muslims Be Good Americans?

Here is the text of a recent chain email I received, after which I offer the response I gave to the person who sent it to me.

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CAN MUSLIMS BE GOOD AMERICANS?


This is very interesting and we all need to read it from start to Finish and send it on to anyone who will read it. Maybe this is why our American Muslims are so quiet and not speaking out about any atrocities. Can a good Muslim be a good American? This question was forwarded to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. The following is his reply:


Theologically - no. . . . Because his allegiance is to Allah, The moon God of Arabia .


Religiously - no. . . Because no other religion is accepted by His Allah except Islam (Quran, 2:256)(Koran)


Scripturally - no. . . Because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the Quran.


Geographically - no . Because his allegiance is to Mecca , to which he turns in prayer five times a day.

Socially - no. . . Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews .


Politically - no. . . Because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America , the great Satan.

Domestically - no. . . Because he is instructed to marry four Women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34)


Intellectually - no. . Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.


Philosophically - no. . . Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran does not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.


Spiritually - no. . . Because when we declare 'one nation under God,' the Christian's God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in The Quran's 99 excellent names.


Therefore, after much study and deliberation....


Perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. - - - They obviously cannot be both 'good' Muslims and good Americans.


Call it what you wish it's still the truth. You had better believe it. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future. The religious war is bigger than we know or understand. . ...


And Barack Hussein Obama, a Muslim, wants to be our President? You have GOT to be kidding! Wake up America !

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Barak is a member of the United Church of Christ, a Christian denomination. Obviously there are many Muslims who love America and function well in society. Remember: not all Islam is radical Islam! The description below only applies to the Al-Quaeda types, the freakishly radical.

Geographically, I'm not a good American either because I look to Heaven, not Washington, D.C., for my inspiration. And frankly, who says America is a Christian nation? Yes it was founded on Christian principles, but have we forgotten one of the key principles, the first amendment of the Bill of Rights: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I do not recall the Constitution or the Bill of Rights specifically saying that America is a Christian nation. Perhaps I'm wrong. The first amendment gives freedom for Muslims (and Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, atheists, pagans, Wiccans, etc.) to live here, be citizens AND worship however they like. For there to be a law preventing their theological allegiance to Mecca would contradict the first amendment. So the first four items on his list are irrelevant. Most of the others are based on comparing Osama bin Laden with GI Joe and represent a version of Islam that NOT ALL MUSLIMS ACCEPT.

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I must admit, I often cringe at the emails sent my way that are supposed to inspire patriotism and attempt to flaunt Christianity as THE religion of America. It often comes across as blind embracing of all Republican policy and a confused hybrid of Christianity and patriotism which accuses you of heresy or treason should you question either. This doesn't make me a liberal (either politically or theologically); generally, I support the war and think it is actually working (to see why I refer you to my capable friend Jared). However, I do think there are people in this world who love Jesus and hate the war, who read their Bibles and yet disagree with President Bush. It's possible, so deal with it.

3 comments:

Kerri said...

Hey Adam, I applaud your comments and am very frightened that something like this is actually believed! I'd like to point out a few things, too.
Many Christians shun any other religion and do no fully accept people who do not believe as they do. Does that mean those Christians are socially incapable of living in America?
Most of the comments included in this email are speaking of the radical Islam, not the true Islamic value and beliefs.

It is this narrow mindedness that leads to a dangerous ignorance. People who really believe ALL Muslims are evil and America is too good for anyone who isn't Christian are the ones who Islamic extremists are fueled by.

America was built to have freedom from persecution and does not make Christianity THE religion of America. The beauty of America is it's ability to have so many religions live together in peace. This is not something many nations can claim and something I hope we never lose.

Adam said...

Kerri,

I agree with you fully. Just as Muslim terrorists do not represent true Islam, neither do Christians who say such things as in the email, or worse, persecute those with whom they disagree, represent true Christianity. When Jesus helped the sick he did not first ask if they were Jews (most were, granted, but there were also Romans to whom he ministered).

Christians (at least those who actually believe the Bible is true) do believe that other religions, though containing much truth, wisdom, and beauty, are ultimately founded on false principles. This is a heavy burden for the Christian, a fine line to walk. On the one hand, the Christian must speak the truth, and on the other hand, she must do so in love while loving the one with whom she disagrees. "Love" in the biblical sense is more than mere emotion; it is actively looking out for the best interests of others, serving them and doing it with compassion and without complaint.

In short, your point about many Christians being socially incapable of living in America is (sadly) true. But it's only true because they are not living to honor Jesus; they are living to honor a set of beliefs. Those who do not accept to the "t" such beliefs are often shunned or (if they are Christians with slight differences in belief) are deemed liberal in their theology. "Liberal" here is a historically loaded word meaning they don't believe the Bible is true or that it matters, essentially making them heretics.

I, too, hope we never lose freedom of religion and the non-establishment clause of the first amendment. Christians do not realize how good they have it. Having been to India (mostly Hindu), Thailand (mostly Buddhist), and Laos (Communist), I can say that it is better to have freedom of any religion than to have freedom of one religion or no freedom at all.

Thanks for your comment! Good stuff.

Shannon said...

ADAM! I know you're busy with the whole about to have a baby thing but honestly!! No a single blog since June. Your public is waiting. I seriously check your blog at least once a week looking for new insight and knowledge from the professional college man. Can you throw me a theological bone or at least a fun picture? I hope all is well and there better at least be some pictures in about 5 weeks :)