Islamaphobia and Christianity

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  July 20, 2013

            There is a dangerous and fundamentally unchristian attitude permeating parts of American culture and Christianity.  It arises from the ashes of past catastrophe, is fueled in a destructive misconception, and takes on power by the incredible fear it manifests.  This dangerous and destructive force is capable of undermining much of Christianity, as well as the religious freedoms we hold dear in the United States.  Fundamentally, this unrelenting power that we have unleashed on the world prevents us from truly knowing Christ or the peace that comes through Christ.  It is Islamophobia.

            Islam is rapidly becoming an American religion.  Definitive estimates are hard to come by, but demographers estimate the total number of Muslims in the United States today to be roughly 3 million.  In the next generation, that number is expected to more than double!

            Contrary to some populist depictions of the Islamic religion, the vast majority of America’s 3 million Muslims are peace-loving, hard-working, civic-minded, family-centered, and devoted American citizens.  As they gather in the over 2,000 American Mosques for prayer and worship, they are seeking the peaceful wisdom of the Qur’an and explore ways to faithfully live out their peaceful religious faith in a world that largely does not understand or trust their religion.

            The fear is real and somewhat justified, yet also grossly misguided.  Islamic fundamentalists acting out of an unholy provision of their own sacred text have perpetuated a great deal of evil and violence upon the world.  Such unjustifiable violence is sinful according to the tenants of both Islam and Christianity and needs to be stopped.  The danger comes in painting all Muslims with the broad stroke of fear and hatred because of the attitudes of a distinctive few or the behavior of those who, in all actuality, do not speak for the faith at all!

            It is a difficult distinction to draw amid the exceptionally deceptive power of modern media.  Millions of peaceful Muslims live in our Nation without incident.  They go to ball games, eat out, raise children, support school functions, pay taxes, and attend neighborhood functions, and worship in their mosques without any media attention.  In other words, they are no different from any other American!  Yet, when two psychotic murders set off bombs at the finish line of a marathon and claim Islamic authority, the whole world knows about it and a definitive picture of the entire religion is painted – a picture that is categorically and fundamentally wrong!

            Rather than hate our Muslim brothers and sisters, or hold in them fear-driven contempt, it is essential that the Christians of America see Islam for what it really is – a legitimate expression of American religion by patriotic women and men who love this nation and will gladly defend our shared values.

            When renegade Christian crusaders promote the disgraceful burning of the Qur’an in the name of Jesus Christ or preach hate-filled lies about a rich religious tradition, they clearly do not understand, it is Christianity, not Islam, which is injured!  The integrity of our faith as one built on the love and grace of Jesus Christ is destroyed.

            As Christians, we rightfully believe in salvation through Jesus Christ and are fulfilling our Biblical mandate to share that message wherever and whenever we can.  As children of the same God, however, it is time that we choose to look beyond the media-driven and fear-filled hatred that paints a peaceful religion as nothing but bloodshed and violence and seek mutual understanding rather than mistrust and contempt.