*This post was first published at SheLoves Magazine in 2015. Many years ago, sadly we have not come very far and it is still relevant.
Are you afraid of Muslims? I say “Muslims” instead of “terrorists” because, as media outlets and Franklin Graham apparently want us to believe, the two words are synonymous.
Franklin Graham seems to believe we should be afraid of Muslims and that we are at war with Muslims both in the US and abroad. A few weeks ago he said immigration needs to be closed to Muslims, that we are under attack. He isn’t alone in this kind of ignorant fear-mongering. Over 160,000 people liked his Facebook post.
In the United States in 2013, three people were killed by terrorists (who were Muslim), all three at the Boston Marathon. That same year, five people were shot by gun-wielding toddlers, and about 34 died of dog bites.
Why didn’t Graham insist we prohibit toddlers inside our borders? Why hasn’t he called for a moratorium on dog ownership?
I think I know, partly, why. He is comfortable with toddlers and dogs. But he might not know many Muslims. We fear the unknown. We fear the unfamiliar and we fear difference.
But our faith calls us to not be afraid and to live a life of love, which casts out fear. We are to welcome the stranger, care for the outcast, bless the foreigner or alien.
Carl Medearis wrote to Graham: If “Muslims” are your enemies, it’s clear what Jesus calls us to do with enemies. And if these “Muslims” are your neighbors (and many of them are), it’s clear what Jesus asks us to do with neighbors. Either way I think you’re stuck. You gotta love em.
And Marilyn Gardner wrote: To build relationships with people of other faiths is not compromising our faith. Rather, it’s living out a faith that is not threatened but firm.
I think as Christians get to know Muslims on an individual basis they will discover Muslims also grieve when Marines are shot, they also are horrified when marathoners are bombed, they reject violence.
Graham’s inflammatory words only increase fear and divisions. This is not the way of Jesus or the Kingdom.
- How can we help each other move from fear to faith?
- How do we speak up about the fear-mongering about Islam? How do we prepare ourselves to speak truth and love in the face of fear?
- How can you grow in building a cross-religious friendship?
Carl Medearis: An Open Letter to Franklin Graham
Marilyn Gardner: Dear Mr. Graham, Let Me Introduce You to Some Friends