Thursday, June 25, 2009

Respecting other Religions

Ken Blackwell's latest article takes Obama to task for a certain phraseology he used in his recent speech in Cairo, where he said "So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed."
The liberal press may have been too deep in its collective salaam before Obama, their Expected One, to notice the critically important turn of phrase Obama employed in Cairo. He did not say the Middle East was the region where Islam began. No, he would say nothing so pedestrian as that. Nor did he say that it was there, in the shadow of the pyramids where millions first received their inspiration from the man they revere as the prophet of God. Nothing so poetic.

No, what he said was he was now visiting the region “where Islam was first revealed.” Could an informed Christian say that? Christians believe that Jesus Christ is “the alpa and the omega,” that Jesus is Lord. If you say that Islam was revealed, you are saying that Jesus is not Lord, that there was someone or something necessary to complete what Jesus failed to complete. And that something is Islam.
I think that Blackwell is reading too much into Obama's words. Obama was clearly crafting his speech to be palatable to his audience; approaching it with an attitude of Christian Dominionism would not have played. And of course it goes without saying that many Republicans believe that all Democratic/Liberal Christianity is suspect; one cannot be true to Jesus without being Republican/Conservative.

That said it does raise an interesting question; what does religious respect require? In this case, I'd say, it requires quite a bit. Obama was not speaking for himself but for America; he has a duty to represent us well. And whatever Blackwell's or Obama's position on Islam, America does not have and should not have a set position on the truth or falseness of any particular Religion.

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