by Jan Fuller
Recently, I was forwarded a hateful email which characterized Muslims — all of them — as un-American, un-Godly and violent, among other unfounded negatives I refuse to repeat. Fortunately, the forwarder wanted my opinion on the claims in the unsigned, unattributed, and frequently re-forwarded email.
I am a lifelong student of Islam, although not a Muslim. I know that the way of submission to God called Islam is a religion of peace and concord, even though it is different in many respects from the religion I practice. Christians and Muslims worship the same God with many similar attributes, with distinct emphases and differences. I know that Muslims want what Christians want — to live in freedom and in peace in civil communities, to raise children, to pray in God’s will, to go and come in safety and respect, and to be patriotic citizens. I also know that there are challenging exceptions, people who go too far in every faith.
When I was newly ordained, an acquaintance confided, “I babysat you. If I had known you would go and be ordained, I would have snapped off your head then and saved you the trouble.” That was hurtful, but no one hearing it said, “Christians are violent!” No one ended the relationship, despite hurt and disagreement.
I watch Christian leaders in moral and financial trouble, churches in turmoil, and church members committing crimes. No one has said, “Christians are dishonest, bullies and immoral.” We have, instead, prayed for those communities in their sorrow.