Posted by: smstrouse | July 26, 2011

Chrislam? Really?!

This is actually a continuation of last week’s post.  As a result of the emails and phone messages about our participation in Faith Shared and the dangers of reading the Qur’an in a Christian worship service, I have been learning about the campaign to combat Chrislam: a blending of Christianity and Islam, supposedly a growing movement within both progressive and evangelical Christian circles. We are identified on one web site as being a congregation that holds Chrislam services. Really?!

This is just fascinating.  Although I know that there is a such a religion; in 2009, Religion & Ethics did a report on a sect in Nigeria which mixes elements of both religions.  It reportedly has some 1,500 adherents.  Maybe there are practitioners here in San Francisco; if so, I don’t know any.  I do know about individuals who are crossing boundaries of religious identity.  The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, for instance, was an Episcopal priest until she was defrocked for refusing to recant her insistence that she could be both Christian and Muslim. She’s what is becoming know as a ‘hyphenated,’ like a Jewish-Buddhist, a Pagan-Christian, a Taoist-Lutheran  It’s all very interesting and worthy of our interest and discussion.

What is not worthy, however, is the fear-mongering rhetoric of the websites that warn us about such things. The stereotyping of Muslims, despite attempts by Muslim organizations to promote education and mutual respect, goes unabated. Anti-Muslim rhetoric, despite attempts by Christian, Jewish and interfaith groups, continues.  The spectre of ‘Chrislam’ whips up hysteria and fear of ‘the other.’ 

And now we have Anders Behring Breivik, the accused killer of at least 92 people in Norway’s worst attack since WWII.  Of course the initial reaction was to believe that it was a terrorist attack by Muslims. But as the US discovered in Oklahoma City, sometimes the terror comes not from ‘the other’ but from someone we considered ‘one of us,’ as if we’re not all ‘us.’  Breivik, a self-described supporter of a monocultural Christian Europe, has said that he wanted a ‘crusade’ against the spread of Islam. You’d think we’d learn.

Should we fear and work to prevent the work of terrorists of all stripes? Of course.  But don’t tell me that by promoting respect, understanding – and peace, for heaven’s sake – that we’re part of a scary, heretical, blasphemous conspiracy because we invited a Muslim and a Jew to read their sacred scriptures in a Christian church.

I’m not going to respond anymore to these Chrislam queries and commentaries.  

All I have left to say to these fear mongers from now on about this scary, heretical, blasphemous congregation is the message of the angels: “Fear not!”

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