In the last two weeks, Facebook has taught me that there is a Christian church where the folks who attend, and the pastor who preaches, are nude. A nudist church.
“Not mine,” you say.
The Westboro Baptist Church members carry signs at funerals saying: “God hates fags.”
They also picket Jewish institutions, children, and even have a “Thank God for Dead Soldiers Campaign.”
“Wait,” you say: “I am a Baptist they don’t represent me!”
Or maybe you are a Christian and a Michigander and you read this: “Christian protesters traveled across the country to Dearborn, Mich., where they taunted attendees and held a severed pig’s head for three days at the annual Arab International Festival.”
“Not representing me,” a Christian and a Michigander says you.
And yet, often, I also receive either an e-mail forward, or Facebook text that routinely says “ALL Muslims … or ALL Islam” and what follows these “all” pronouncements is invective, hate, fear and lies.
Some of you say “all” is justified because moderate Muslims do not challenge the radicals (they do; however, that’s another letter).
But, let’s turn that around—when is the last time you have repudiated the KKK, Westboro, or those who traveled to Michigan to protest, in the most ugly ways, a long held festival for the residents.
So next time you see an “all” Muslim or “all ” Islam message on your desktop, stop it.
Don’t forward it. Exercise responsibility, check the truthfulness of messages, and if is hate-producing or peace-destroying don’t forward. Learn about those groups who spread hate and fear in your name (because they and you are part of someone’s “all”) and challenge them. Words: forgive, grace, love, peace, justice. Practice them.