Oct 31 2016
It isn’t ‘Islamophobia’ when an Oklahoma GOP State Rep. says “Islam is a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out”
Unfortunately, some Christians in Oklahoma, where there has been one savage beheading of a Christian woman by a Muslim and at least one other beheading attempt, seem to think so, and blindly condemn all outspoken critics of Islam…especially the Christians.
Nondoc Whining about so-called “Islamophobia is exactly what James Davenport, a Christian political science professor of at Rose State College, is doing. Specifically, he attacks State Rep. John Bennett for holding an interim study this past week on the impact of “radical Islam, Shariah Law, the Muslim Brotherhood and the radicalization process” on Oklahoma and the nation.
During the course of this study, Rep. Bennett referred to Adam Soltani, the executive director for designated terrorist group CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter of Oklahoma), and Imam Imad Enchassi, of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, as “terrorists.”
As someone who grew up in the Evangelical Christian tradition, and as someone who believes religious freedom remains a fundamental principle of our system of government, I am both offended and saddened at this spectacle. I am offended that a state representative from my state would use the cloak of Christianity to spew hate and bigotry such as this. I am also offended that he would do so while arguing he is defending freedom.
Imam Enchassi then got up from his seat in the audience and hugged two members of other faiths who were in attendance. Bennett asked Rep. Randy Grau, R-Edmond, chairman of the Judiciary and Civil Procedure Committee, to admonish members of the audience not to hug a Muslim.
In fact, during one exchange between Bennett and Imam Enchassi, the Imam stated, “It’s a free country,” to which Bennett, who served in the U.S. Marines replied, “I know, I fought for it in two wars.”
John Guandolo, the founder of UnderstandingtheThreat.com, who served in the Marines and is a former FBI agent, said the Islamic movement in Oklahoma has made significant strides, and he called CAIR-Oklahoma executive director Adam Soltani a terrorist. Under questioning from Bennett, Guandolo said groups in the country’s jihadi network use relationships with other faiths as a tool.
But one wonders what, exactly, Bennett fought for. It clearly wasn’t freedom. Neither freedom of religion nor freedom of association seem high on his list of priorities, especially if you happen to be a member of Islam. Perhaps he was fighting for Christianity.
The problem with that line of reasoning is there rests absolutely no instruction in the New Testament for believers to physically fight for Christ, or for the faith. In fact, if one were to hold strictly to Christ’s own words on this, one could easily reach the conclusion that Christ expects us not to fight for him (read John 18:36). So if Bennett wasn’t fighting for freedom, and he wasn’t fighting for Christianity, what was he fighting for?
Perhaps he should spend more time reading the history of his own faith rather than fretting about the supposed threat from Muslims. He would find that this combining of religion and state power never ends well — for anyone.
I also mentioned I was saddened by this event. That sadness comes from the fact that I know I will receive pushback from members of my own faith community on this matter. I will be told I do not understand the true threat posed by Islam. I’ll also be told I’ve been blinded to the truth by my immersion in the liberal world of academia. Too many Evangelicals have been convinced by opportunistic political and religious leaders that any acknowledgement or accommodation of Islam is a threat to Christianity itself.
If allowing others to freely practice their faith, if providing (special and excessive) accommodations to those of Islam and if refusing to use the levers of government to intimidate, harass or oppress
minority faiths (the one faith determined to subjugate and dominate those of every other faith) is a threat to Christianity, we Christians have bigger problems than we know.
If Christians want to have real influence on our society — if we want to spread the good news of God’s love — we must reject the type of political religion promoted by Rep. Bennett and his ilk. We must stand with those of other faiths and affirm that, unlike some in the Oklahoma Legislature, we believe all people of faith are entitled to practice their religion freely without fear of official sanction.
“If you are concerned that there are some who wish to destroy the Christian faith, follow Christ’s instructions: “Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you…You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” (Luke 6:27-36)
(And we see how well that idea has worked out for Christians in the Middle East who are very close to becoming extinct because of the ethnic cleansing by the Muslim majority)