PHOTO OF CROSS AT GROUND ZERO
IN THIS United Methodist News Service PHOTO BY Mike DuBose: Students peer out through windows covered with anti-Muslim graffiti while neighbors of various faiths gather to help clean up the vandalism at the Al-Farooq Mosque in Nashville, Tenn.
A couple of weeks ago on my Facebook I wrote this: “I’d like to see more Christians walking like Christians, talking like Christians and behaving like Christians rather than tearing down other great faith traditions like Islam out of fear and ignorance. I work with Muslim doctors and nurses every day who just grin and bear it when they hear the Christian patients they treat railing against Muslims. These are Muslims who in some cases have saved these Christians’ lives.”
Two “friends” of mine on Facebook–make that two ex “friends” I didn’t really even know– sent me email messages telling me in so many words what a dupe I am for terrorists, and informed me they were de-friending me, which is OK with me, actually, because I have another 200 or so good friends on Facebook who, theoretically at least, still love me real good like friends should. And in Facebook world, the potential for new friends who will always love me, even if I wouldn’t recognize them in an elevator, is unlimited.
But back to Muslim healers.
The medical profession in this country has thousands of peaceful, compassionate and caring healers who are top-notch doctors, nurses, lab techs and medical pros of all kinds. I work with them every day. I’ve been in their homes. I’ve been out to eat or drink with them. I’ve prayed with them, and I’ve prayed with Muslim patients and their families too, who wanted me–the chaplain who wears the cross around his neck on hospital duty for all the world to know he is a Christian–to pray with them. I don’t look at “those people” as Muslims. They’re just my friends and colleagues. Some of them were practicing medicine and medical care, right here in ultra-conservative and mightily Christian Dallas, Tx, many decades before 9-11.
My one regret about what I posted a couple of weeks ago on my Facebook is that I said the doctors and nurses just “grin and bear it” when they hear patients or their families or people in waiting rooms trashing Muslims. They hear it, and the fact is, they are hurt by it. They do grin and they do appear to bear it with winks and nods, but a couple of them have told me since they saw that posting on my Facebook that it really does cut pretty deep to pass through a waiting room, or step onto an elevator, or draw some patient’s blood and hear the very person you are helping and caring for trash your peaceful religion.
And Islam is a peaceful religion. (I probably just lost several more Facebook friends with that assertion.) It is, at least, as peaceful as Christianity, which is not a very peaceful religion all in all. Turn on your teevee and watch all that throttling rage on Fox “News” before you argue to me that Christians are peaceful.
It’s been especially hurtful lately, with so many fearmongers fanning the flames over the bizarre turn of events at Ground Zero. Maybe there is a legitimate debate to be had about the appropriateness of the plans for the Islamic Center and its location, but the hatred and raw emotion and outright bigotry arising from what has become just another hot potato in the ridiculous “culture war” makes me sick.
It’s amazing how many experts and theologians there are on Islam these days. The pool of experts and Islamic theologians includes the usual suspects: self-serving politicians and pressure groups, most of the self-serving, power-mad pundits and theologians(?) like Sean Hannity at Fox “News” Network and, well . . . even too many Christian clergy who’ve never met a Muslim in their life, unless they were maybe unknowingly treated by one at a hospital when they went to the cath lab for emergency heart treatment and received a new lease on life from a Muslim doctor who didn’t look like a Muslim.
But then, what does a Muslim look like?
You may very well have your life saved someday by some Muslim doctors and nurses and other medical caregivers.
If you don’t want a Muslim medical caregiver saving your life–or even a Muslim paramedic on an ambulance crew–you might want to put that in writing and make sure you carry it pinned to your chest.
Meanwhile, I would invite you to read this “fair and balanced” news story from the always fair and balanced United Methodist News Service.
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