Tag Archives: Islam

Charisma Magazine, Islam, & Racist Op-Eds #CancelTheCrusades

Why Gary Cass Is Absolutely A Fascist

Trigger Warning: White Supremacy, Islamophobia, Orientalism

Recently as “not a reflection on the views of Charisma Media,” Charisma Magazine published an opinion piece entitled, Why I Am Absolutely Islamaphobic (do not link edition linked)  [update: Charisma has deleted the post, here is the Google cached: here and here is the original author’s post on his site here ] where the “Reverend” Gary Cass advocated for the complete elimination of all human beings who are from Arab countries (Cass’ phrasing, not mine).  Time to rebuke each argument Mr. Cass gives.

Opening Paragraph:

“I confess: I’m “Islamaphobic,” but for very good reasons.

My fear is not an irrational fear based on uniformed prejudice; rather it’s an historic, clear eyed, informed, rational fear. ISIS is doing to American journalists what every true follower of Muhammad wants to do to you and yours—subjugate or murder you. They believe they have been given a mandate by Allah (Satan) to dominate the world.

Fourteen years of history, both ancient and modern (i.e. the 1 to 1.5 million dead Armenians at the hands of the Muslim Turks in 1915) tell us that Muslims are deadly serious about their infernal goals. Now we get to watch their violent, demonic fanaticism on YouTube videos.

History shows that when Muslims get the power and means to subjugate and behead Christians, Jews, et al, they do it. Why? “

I confess: I have a phobia of Euro-Centric Christianity. My fear is not an irrational fear based on uninformed prejudice; rather it’s an historic, clear eyed, informed rational fear. Police Departments empowered by U.S. Congress are doing to black and Latino U.S. citizens what every true follower of White Supremacist Churchianity wants to do to you and yours- subjugate or murder you. They believe they have been given a mandate by White Supremacist Godhead to dominate the world.

Four hundred years of history, both ancient and modern (between 1885 and 1908, the Butcher of Congo, Leopold II of Belgium murdered an estimated 13 million Congolese persons) tell us that White Supremacist are deadly serious about their nefarious goals. Now we get to watch their violent, demonic rationalism on television.

History shows that as White Supremacists have remained in power and maintained the means to subjugate and murder People of Color, the poor, et, al., they do it. Why?

Next Paragraph:

“Conversion. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Muslims turn from Satan (Allah) to Christ? But, I agree with Phil Robertson: This is not biblically doable. Why? God has a plan and he revealed it at the birth of Ishmael, the father of the Arabs.

“The Angel of the Lord said … He [Ishmael] will be an ass of a man; His hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him” (Gen. 16:11-12). The Arab Muslims are God’s sworn enemies and are ordained by God to be against everyone.”

First of all, Cass is making a reality tv show star a biblical authority? I guess that’s what happens when any Christian celebrity can have devotional bibles made in their honor. Quoting other persons who are devoted to a White Supremacist God should come as no surprise. “Reverend” Cass insists that his racist eisegesis is the correct reading of Genesis 16. I beg to differ. First off, Cass is reading rather subjectively his racist views into the Bible. Rather than having Christ at the center, Cass has placed Europe as the locus of Scripture, and displaced actual biblical truth to the margins. In fact Ishmael really is not the focus of the conflict between Sarah and Abraham, rather it is the presence of Hagar. As I argued in my post Ishmael & Immigration: A Postcolonial reading of Genesis 16:

“First, let us start with Ishmael’s mother’s name: Hagar. Hagar resembles the Hebrew term hager, meaning “resident alien” “stranger” or “sojourner.” In the context of Genesis 15:13, whereby God promises Abraham’s offspring will be “ger” or aliens in a foreign land for 400 years is a reminder for the Jew in exile that part of their covenant with YHWH entails justice for the resident alien. Fast forward to Genesis 20 , and Abraham himself is considered a “ger” (20:1; 21:23; 21:34), and receives hospitality and compassion from Abimelech king of GERar. This treatment should be seen in stark contrast to Sarah’s banishment of Hagar and Ishmael. Finally, Clare Amos, whose article “Genesis” I am depending upon in the translation of the Hebrew noun “ger,” suggests that Genesis 16:12 is fraught with ambiguity, and that it really does not have to mean that Ishmael “would live at odds” with Isaac’s children. She prefers to hold this reading in tension with another possible translation that Ishmael would live “alongside his brothers.” This allows us to understand the image of Isaac and Ishmael burying Abraham in Genesis 25:9, in Hebron [the city where David begins his reign as king, btw], as a kind of closure. 

Cass’s Third Paragraph on Deport All Muslims Now? I recommend you go back and read my post linked on Genesis 16.

Cass’s last paragraph, his call for genocide reads:

The only thing that is biblical and that 1,400 years of history has shown to work is overwhelming Christian just war and overwhelming self defense. Christian Generals Charles Martel in 732 and Jon Sobieski in 1672 defeated Islamic Turks and their attempts to take the West. Who will God raise up to save us this time? Will God even intervene or turn us over to the Muslims for turning against Him?

Either way, we must be prepared for the increase of terror at home and abroad. This is not irrational, but the loving thing we must do for our children and neighbors. First trust in God, then obtain a gun(s), learn to shoot, teach your kids the Christian doctrines of just war and self defense, create small cells of family and friends that you can rely on if some thing catastrophic happens and civil society suddenly melts down.

Cass goes back and forth between using Arabs, Muslims, and Radical Islam interchangeably. One could call this lazy writing, but the author does not even care about distinctions at this point. So, I will call it what it is: racism. It is very important to note, as other have on Twitter, that what Cass is doing is not calling or practicing Just War/Self-defense. Just War is about having to maintain peace, not escalating violence. He asks, “Now the only question is how many more dead bodies will have to pile up at home and abroad before we crush the vicious seed of Ishmael in Jesus’ Name?” Cass is calling for the Final Solution for people based on their ethnicity and religious orientation. He is committing himself to the sin of Haman, the infamous Agagite and genocidal politician described in the book of Esther. The New Testament is clear: Christ has reconciled Jew and ALL Gentile nations, that EVERY tribe and nation will make up what Cass called “the indestructible Church”, and that it is the Triune God’s will for ALL persons to repent and be saved. May the Church raise up women and men in the spirit of Esther to resist and condemn voices such as those at DefendChristians.Org.

For other perspectives, read Fred Clark’s Charismanews.com goes full on Hutu radio and David Hayward’s Charisma News, Islamophobia, Jesus, and Guns

Islam, Inerrancy, and Progressive Christianity: A Postcolonial Response

Are Muslims Our Neighbor? Are Inerrantists?

Lesslie Newbigin was Moderator of the General ...

Lesslie Newbigin was Moderator of the General Assembly of the URC in 1978/1979. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Given my past posts on my questions on biblical inerrancy, one might say I am the least likely candidate to be “taking” the side of inerrantists on this one, but I do have questions that I seek to ask; if I apply one criticism to one side (the conservative side), it should be only fair that that same question is applied to the other (the liberal side.).  Like I have argued in the past, I have major problems with the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy,  but that in no way shape or form means I have some vendetta against the humanity of inerrantists themselves. Not all inerrantists hold to the same interpretation of Scripture, not all inerrantists are bullying dissidents out of their church. In the U.S. context, there have been small groups of inerrantist Christians, the John Browns and women evangelists such as Zilpha Elaw, who was both a fighter for social injustice and an inerrantist.

In other words, the path of “anti-inerrancy” progressive, missional Christianity does not necessarily lead to “heresy” or liberal versions of neighborly love. Take for example this quote by Lesslie Newbigin, how inerrantists are more “Muslim” than Christian. One simple question: what does this actually mean? No really, what does this mean? That inerrantists are some how “sub-Christians” i.e., less neighborly in a white Christian liberal sense? Is it not so easy to make this very argument in a post-9/11/2001 world which is still filled with Islamophobia, where Muslims (and sikhs who only ignorant folk mistake for Muslims because of racial+religious profiling) to primarily white liberal Christians? Does not this type of argument benefit from liberal forms of Islamophobia and Orientalism? What if an ierrantist just said, so what? Are not Muslims children of Abraham too? What would the missional response be? So my question is, other than being used as a personal attack against inerrantists, what’s the point of comparing fellow Christians to Muslims? In a post-9.11 world, it’s to Other inerrrantists, that they are less than white/Western/civilized than missional/progressive Christians.

Interestingly, Enns’ ends his quote with a somewhat cheery, whitewashed view of missions:

“The half-serious joke I heard while in seminary (as a student and a professor) was, “Heresy begins in missions.” That’s where you have to deal with actual people. When you do, you may find that you will actually be changed in the encounter at least as much as they, and that your theological system, as airtight and divinely endorsed and immutable as you might think, often does not work when you wander away from home. And so you need to learn to think differently about yourself, your world, the Bible, even God.”

The Missional/Progressive church is no different than its conservative counterpart in its refusal to discuss the nexus between colonial history and the history of missions. To ignore this truth, and to not speak of it, is to give silent approval to the ways in which white supremacy has spread. A person can adopt all the liberal “heresies” she wants, but she can still be committed to staunch anti-neighborly stances like imperialism. Heresy does begin in missions, but so does colonization. One African proverb from a wise man goes like this, “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.” It did not matter if the missionaries were inerrantists or not; what matters was in that in the colonial moment, the missionaries, nice people as they might have been, rejected our Savior’s Golden Rule.

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

In the late 1960’s, James Cone in his Black Theology And Black Power briefly discussed the differences between conservative biblical inerrantists, “liberals [who were] freer in their treatment of the bible” and the neo-orthodox theologians in the mid-20th century who worked to make Jesus the central religious authority. What Cone suggested back then, we can apply now, that all Christian doctrines, even the doctrine of the Bible, must come under scrutiny to speak to the experience of blacks [read: oppressed people groups, not African Americans] “who are living under unbearable oppression.” (for more, see Black Theology and Black Power, Chapter 5, “On Religious Authority.” While persons may object to Cone’s language of experience, oppression, and otherwise, what Cone is doing is not simply “black” theology, it is Christian theology in that oppressions are major, systemic violations of Christ’s Golden Rule, and so in the final analysis, taking Cone seriously, we see that Christ is the final judge of theology and doctrine. So, with this I ask, does your argument benefit from hatred towards your neighbor [in this case, Muslims]? If so, it must come under the utmost scrutiny. Does your argument benefit from hiding truths like the colonialism and missions? If so, it must bear the brunt of anti-imperial critique, like it or not.

Again, this is why I prefer the language of Scripture as fully-trustworthy,  because it recognizes that a hermeneutic is required to read this text. Not only does this trust require a faith, but also an understanding of love (we experience in Christ), and a hope, we will one day see at the New Creation.

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Absorbing Blasphemy: Forgive Abu Islam!

Christians at this moment have a unique opportunity. We have an opportunity to show exactly how we respond when people blaspheme our God. Will we stand up for God and God’s kingdom? Or will we let our God be insulted yet again?

If you watch this video, you will see Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah, AKA Abu Islam, ripping pages from a Christian Bible. In a second video, he is caught on tape saying that, “Next time I will urinate on it.”

The twist is that this took place in Cairo, Egypt during the recent riots. As a result, Abu Islam is now facing charges and will go before an Egyptian court on September 30 on charges for breaking Egypt’s anti-blasphemy laws. If convicted, he faces 5 years in prison for this act.

Are we going to stand up for our Christian principles here? If so, we MUST act. We must plead on behalf of Abu Islam. We must pray that he is not convicted. The true blasphemy would be to not do so. Does not our scripture say to love our enemy? We must practice love for this man, and forgive him.

Except, what if there is nothing to forgive him for in the first place? Why would Christians be offended at this in the first place? They shouldn’t. You see, the Bible is not our god. The Bible is not an idol. The Bible is not even perfect. In fact, to claim these things would be to place them on the level that is reserved only for the Divine. Our Bible bears witness to God’s actions and to the history of those who have attempted to follow God throughout history. It is not Jesus. It is not God. In fact, it is through the witness of the Bible that we find this on the lips of Jesus, “Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” Without getting into a debate about what it means to blaspheme against the Spirit (which probably doesn’t mean what you think it does), one thing we can clearly tell is that blasphemy against the Bible will clearly be forgiven, since the Bible does not equal the Spirit.

In fact, if we do nothing, or worse, if we endorse the punishment of this man, we break our covenant of love with our God, and our witness to the love of God, never mind the witness of the Bible, will be lost, and our God will truly be blasphemed.

So please, go on Facebook. Go on Twitter. Shout it from every rooftop. Simply this: Forgive Abu Islam! Egypt, let Abu Islam go!