While not surprised, I’m deeply saddened and angry this morning about two dimensions of the same evil being perpetuated in the name of God in the U.S. Both mask the ugly underbelly of the Evangelical Christian church in America, where good intentions (I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt) produce very unChristlike behavior.
The first is the belief that Mormonism is a cult and that Mitt Romney — simply because he’s a Mormon — isn’t fit to be President of the United States. As a guy who used to be in the thick of this activist and evangelical stuff, I can testify with certainty that this IS the belief of the Christian right. Newt is a good guy and Mitt is an evil guy, because, well, he’s part of that *gestures with elbow* cult. This is a pathetic and self-serving myth that perpetuates the mockery of all people of faith and further alienates the right from the mainstream. Ironically, this is precisely where they want to be, because a persecuted faithful is a literal promise of the Bible, from their perspective. What bothers me most here is that Christian leaders don’t speak out against this, and so it is beamed abroad as representative of Christianity in the U.S.
The second issue that’s really bugging me is the treatment of a bridge-building television program on The Learning Channel — All American Muslim — by these same Evangelical Christians. I’ll spare a rant on the details, because you’re already aware of them, except to say that this Florida Family Association speaks only for a highly ignorant, hateful and bigoted fringe, and yet — due to the same silence from Christian leadership — it, too, is beamed abroad as representative of the whole. By remaining silent, all of us give up the right to criticize Islamic leaders for not speaking out against those who use terror and murder to preach their own form of hatred and bigotry.
To my beloved Muslim family in Jordan, forgive us for not speaking out. This is NOT the stuff of everyday Americans. It is the rantings of lunatics who exploit fear in the name of self-promotion through a media system that feeds on controversy. It is also demonstrative of the impotence of a once-proud religion that is so divided that it allows lame self-promoters an unchallenged platform to preach their own self-righteousness and their hated for the rest of the human race. May God have mercy on their souls.