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Anti-Muslim Bigotry: The Deadly Fires of Hate

Rev. David L. Ostendorf • Apr 07, 2011

It may be 780 miles from the halls of Congress to Gainesville, Florida, but the distance between anti-Muslim bigots in both locales is but an arm’s length. Put Muslim-bashing Congressman Peter King and the heretical, Qur’an-burning Terry Jones in a room together and they would surely come up with a plan to ignite the world in a cataclysm of religious warfare.

King’s infamous House hearing on “radical Islam” launched the March of political and religious madness, which Jones rounded out on the 20th. A self-proclaimed “Christian pastor,” Jones’ burning of the Qur’an that day marked one of the most despicable acts of religious bigotry and hatred in some time, with deadly consequences.  To date, some twenty people have died in protests over his act.  Yet, he feels no responsibility, no remorse.

There is deep and deadly irony in the three faiths—Judaism, Christianity, Islam—that claim one God. Internecine violence and death have riddled these monotheistic communities for generations and centuries, intricately interwoven with the politics of secular power preservation, expansion, and dominance.  Nothing particularly new here.

What is (somewhat) new is that in the post-9/11 decade, the raw hatred of Muslims continues to be served up as red meat by pandering politicians and preachers hungry to advance their careers and showcase their piety.

Peter King and Terry Jones are but the top of the heap, with myriad mosque opponents and other fear-mongers in their laps.  What is particularly heinous is the cadre of self-proclaimed Christians who use the Gospel of peace and justice to perpetrate their fear and hatred.  Terry Jones lit the fire whose embers smolder in countless places across the country.

When believers of any faith community turn to bigotry and hatred to allegedly advance their religion they turn their backs on the God they proclaim.

When they burn holy books they blaspheme their faith, their God.

When they kill in the name of God they become godless.

And when politicians parrot such bigotry and pander to its perpetrators, they mock the Constitution they hold so dearly in their shirt pockets.

Religious bigotry and hatred is anathema.  Aimed as it is these days toward Muslims, it is utterly reprehensible, and the politicians and preachers who do so must be called to accountability.

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