Religious Freedom: Jesus vs Islam

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Religious freedom in this country seems to have taken a turn. Maybe a new definition is in order. Religious freedom: mention religion and you’re free to find a new job.

Examples of this can be found in situations where Jesus or Islam have been mentioned. The mention of both have resulted in some form of job loss. As far as mentioning Jesus, several years ago I pointed out that a Chaplain suspended for sharing the Gospel. And this year a Chaplain in the N.C. House of Representatives was fired for praying in Jesus name.

What about Islam? This is where the issue of freedom has turned a bit. Or maybe a lot!

Just yesterday Brian Stelter writing for the NY Times reported that NPR Fires Analyst Over Comments on Muslims. That analyst is Juan Williams. Stelter quotes Williams from his appearance on The O’Reilly Factor which was kindling for the firing.

“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

What did Williams do wrong? Stelter continues:

NPR said in its statement that the remarks “were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR.”

Ironically enough, Williams offers his opinions for a living. Or, at least he did. I’m sure he will find gainful employment fairly quickly. But is this firing, since Williams is very known, going to set a sort of precedence among media organizations?

Maybe this is not legislatively a freedom of religion issue, but I have asked along these lines if Islam is special. Yet this is certainly a cultural issue of religious freedom. Have we reached a point where it is easier to fire those of different ideologies rather than dialogue about them? It does not seem that Williams will get a chance to prove his case to the NPR audience. Hopefully, he will have another avenue through which to state his case and reply to the NPR bosses.

The larger issue is the cultural one. Will there come a time when one is not allowed to make any negative observation about Islam? A cartoonist recently went into hiding and changed her identity due to a cartoon she drew of Muhammed. And that is here in America. Yes, America! Will there be a day when I won’t be able to write this blog post? I certainly hope not.

As a Christian American, I’m concerned for these types of actions in this country. I know the gospel is the only way to overcome these scenarios. It is the only way to overcome Islamic favoritism and extremists. The gospel overcomes through the Christian’s personal life, as a community (the church), and within communities and cities as it is shared and reflected in our lives.

That said, I can still be frustrated about the attack on freedoms in this country. Religious repression in this country might drive the church universal into a deeper relationship with Christ. I don’t know, but I do know that we are still free to fight for such freedoms. It is certainly a Christian’s right to use such laws just as the Apostle Paul did in his time.

I know America is not perfect. And it’s not always comfortable to see what awful things such freedom produces. I.e. there have been some awful “artistic” works featuring Jesus. How should Christian’s respond? By relying on the gospel. What does relying on the gospel look like in light of Islam? I think I might have tweeted it:

Unlike some Muslims, Christians don’t need to kill those who insult Christ because it’s a sign they’re already dead.

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The above article was posted on October 21, 2010 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mark October 21, 2010 at 7:31 pm

My friend Rozie has also weighed in on Juan Williams firing. Check out her post: There Are No Unalienable Rights In Hell.

2 Mark October 21, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Juan Williams was not unemployed for long.

Fox News has re-signed Juan Williams to an expanded role with the network in a multi-year deal, Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive officer of Fox News, announced Thursday after National Public Radio fired Williams for his comments on the O’Reilly Factor Monday night, when he said it makes him nervous to fly on airplanes with devout Muslims.

Source: NPR Fires Juan Williams; Fox News Expands His Role

3 Bill @ Christian Life Coach Training October 25, 2010 at 8:47 am

I personally believe Islam’s are not extremists, people ‘believe’ they are because of the certain Islam people who have been involved in those attacks that were held on 9/11. I think its wrong to pin point as just ‘ISLAM’ I’m Christian, however, I have some friends who are Muslims and they are very respectable people. Look at James Caan for example, his a successful Business Entrepreneur who is on the famous television programme ‘Dragons Den’ his a Muslim. Would you consider him as a extremist? I certainly know you wouldn’t! I’m apologise to sound harsh, but this is the truth… Another thing is people in the outside world don’t have a clue, I’m from a multi cultural society and most people don’t know the difference between Muslim and Sikh’s, YES they are Asian’s but they are two different faiths.

4 Mark October 25, 2010 at 9:41 am

Bill,

Thanks for logging in. I’m going to quote something I wrote back in 2006 from some interaction I had with the founder of Arab Vision.

I would like to touch on his answer as to why we don’t seem to hear much from the “moderate” Muslims in response to the “radical” Muslims abhorrent teachings of death to the USA, etc., flag burnings and killings of infidel’s and such. He basically said that the moderates don’t go against the radicals because the so-called radical position is the prominent one based on the Qu’ran. He mentioned that most Muslims he knows are peaceful people themselves though. What it comes down to is that the moderates understand that the radicals aren’t out of line with the Qu’ran, but they don’t prefer that route themselves.

In looking at who is right with what the Qu’ran teaches with the more peaceful position vs. the radical he said one has to understand the “law of abrogation” in Islam. That is, what comes later in the Mohammed’s teachings overrules what was written first. So the earlier written more peaceful Sura’s written in Mecca are overruled or abrogated by the later more aggressive teachings written in Medina. This helps us see the excepted interpretation that of a more aggressive Islam towards non-Muslims.(Source)

Do you agree or disagree? Why?

5 Mark October 26, 2010 at 9:27 pm

6 gegev November 4, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Oooooh, the fatwah envy, it burns.

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