Thanks to Islam in Action for this story from Broward County, Florida:
Fifty of the county’s 290-bus fleet have been chugging around area streets for the past several weeks with a message that might seem more oblique than inflammatory. Black letters on a white backdrop proclaim, “ISLAM: The Way of Life of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.”Joe Kaufman is a writer for FrontPage Magazine and spokesperson for Americans Against Hate, who lives in Coral Springs, FL, and is trying to get the ads pulled down. “The group says the ad is misleading because it implies that Abraham, Moses and Jesus were Muslim.”
The $60,000 ad was paid for by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The ad certainly does imply that. And I couldn’t disbelieve it more. There’s no way that Jesus of Nazareth was a Muslim. Nor Abraham, nor Moses.
But I don’t agree that it’s misleading, necesssarily. Islam does teach that all human beings are born Muslim:
The Prophet Muhammad said, “No babe is born but upon Fitra (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6426).Which proves not only that Mohammed was Allah’s Prophet, but that he was the inspiration behind the National Education Association, which also believes that every child’s worst influence is its parents.
But to return to my point, as a religious claim, even though I consider the statement about Abraham and Jesus untrue, I don’t think it’s misleading. It doesn’t misstate what Islam actually teaches, exactly. (Okay, it's somewhat misleading, but I'm trying to make a point here).
On the other hand, the truth of the statement: “Islam is a religion of peace,” is another kettle of severed heads all together. That's misleading, and qualifies as the whopper of the 21st century.
Regardless, as someone who believes that the Constitution forbids the government from weighing in on the truth or falsehood of any religious claims, I’m going to have to say that I don’t think the Broward County Transit people should take down the ads just because Jews or Christians don’t believe the message is true. The government is not in the business, in fact is forbidden, from testing the truth of religious claims.
I also wouldn’t support them pulling down Christian ads saying that Jesus is the Way the Truth, and the Life, just because Jews and Muslims don’t accept that as true, or because others find it deeply hurtful, like all those delicate suburban ACLU contributors who find it physically upsetting to think there’s a bus rolling around the inner city somewhere with a message on it that excludes them.
I’m with Kaufman all the way in wanting people reminded that CAIR is a terrorist-supporting organization, and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case of sending millions on charity donations to Hamas. CAIR’s response to Kaufman's charge on that is typical:
“As to CAIR's alleged ties to Hamas, Ali said: ‘There is no credible evidence that that is true. Unindicted means unindicted.’”Ooh, well played, Ali. Oh, and wouldn't “co-conspirators in contributing to Hamas” also mean “co-conspirators in contributing to Hamas”?
But I digress. The issue is religious bus advertising. And I think Kaufman is a bit off-base to rally to “send a message right to the commission that it’s not right to legitimize this organization.”
Because in this context "legitimize" only means to sell ad space for a religious message. Now, naturally, the commission is going to try to wimp out and ban all religious advertising:
"We have restrictions on cigarettes and adult entertainment, and we should eliminate religious ads hereafter,” County Commissioner Suzanne Gunzburger said at Tuesday's commission meeting. Or at least print a health warning!
My suspicion is that CAIR, as crafty as they are cagey, are placing the ads to exploit the serious--and tragic-- confusion in many black Christian communities about the relationship between Islam and the Christian gospel (namely, that they are mutually exclusive).
Many black clerics have taken to conflating disparate religions, religions that can’t rationally be admixed together, in order to increase the reach of their own private huckstering operations. (I’m not picking on blacks, nor all black clerics, many of whom are straight down the line. I simply haven’t seen anything like this among white evangelicals. When white evangelicals go off the rails, they usually rocket directly into the New Age clouds).
The usual recipe in the black religious community is a spoonful of Christianity, a few pinches of Islam, and 3 quarts of radical Democratic politics, maybe with some black liberation theology thrown in. This syncretic approach is why Baptist ministers can say that it’s time to “move beyond theology and embrace” people like Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Moving beyond theology is the only way a Baptist can embrace Farrakhan. The problem is that once a Baptist has moved beyond theology, all he has to teach his flock is a lot of incoherent gibberish.
One of my favorites examples of men of the cloth “moving beyond theology” is the Rev. William Revely. I wrote about him in December 2007:
Sure enough, he calls himself “a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. King.” He is pastor of Holy Hope Heritage Baptist Church in Detroit, But though a Baptist he somehow straddles Christianity and radical Islam as an active supporter of the public antics of Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan.See what I mean? I noted the same problem here: Detroit Clergy Look Forward to Ecumaniacal Embrace of Nation of Islam and here: When it Comes to Role Models, Allah Knows Best.
(If you're a Christian and you think that’s not possible, Rev. Revely also supports Rev. Moon’s Unification Church, as revealed in his testimony at a Moon event last January, where “He commented that Jesus himself was not a Christian and that it is Rev. Moon’s movement that is truly bringing all peoples of faith together.”)
Personally, I’m not sure which of the false gospel being peddled to the literacy-challenged residents of Broward County is more upsetting: the one that says Jesus was a Muslim, or the one that say Obama is the Messiah.