Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christians Forgiving Muslims. What's Next?

According to Dhimmi Watch Christian leaders recently signed a document in response to an open letter from 138 leading Muslim scholars, clerics and intellectuals affirming the common ground between the two faiths. The Christian response to this letter was to ask Muslims to forgive Christians for their past and present transgressions against the followers of Muhammed.

The Christian document started off saying, "We want to begin by acknowledging that in the past (e.g. in the Crusades) and in the present (e.g. in excesses of the “war on terror”) many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbors."

According to the description of the Muslim letter contained in this article, the Islamic authorities spoke of the common ground between Christians and those of the Islamic faith. The Christian letter goes on to say, "We receive the open letter as a Muslim hand of conviviality and cooperation extended to Christians worldwide. In this response we extend our own Christian hand in return, so that together with all other human beings we may live in peace and justice as we seek to love God and our neighbours."

It all sounds wonderful and warm and thoughtful. In fact, the signers on the document range from Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church to a Vineyard pastor. Jim Wallis of the left leaning Sojourners is included along with Robert Schuller and a host of other evangelical and liberal Protestant types. Most distressing is to see the names of evangelical greats like Bill Hybels noted pastor of Willow Creek Church, theologian John Stott of All Souls Church and the President of Fuller Theological Seminary, Richard Mouw.

I find this to be quite amusing since the Crusades did not happen under the auspices of the Protestant Church but the Roman Catholic Church. It was in 1095 Pope Urban II who preached the First Crusade and inspired the Crusaders to capture Jerusalem in 1099 from the Islamic Turks. Shouldn't the Pope be the one who is apologizing to the Muslims on behalf of the Roman Catholic militants who attacked Jerusalem?

Since these Protestant dignitaries feel the need to ask forgiveness of a religious faith (Islam) that attacked Western Christendom for centuries, how about these Christians ask forgiveness on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church for the way they mistreated and killed Jewish people during the Crusades? Synagogues were burned to the ground with Jewish worshippers inside while Crusaders sang Christian hymns. Rick Warren, Robert Schuiller, Jim Wallis, are you ready to ask forgiveness on behalf of the Catholic Church for their butchering of Jews during the Crusades?

Do these men have any idea of what they are doing? Have we now reached a place in evangelical Christianity that all we need to do is to say the word "forgiveness," and we have a willing crowd ready to sign on the dotted line? As a US citizen should I apologize to a Brit for the American revolutionaries rebelling against King George? I remember attending a Promise Keeper event where Christians were asked to stand and ask God to forgive us for the way we as Americans treated Native American Indians. I was bewildered. My Jewish ancestors didn't do a thing to Native Americans. I refused to stand.

If one reads Christian history, it is painfully obvious that Muslims need to apologize to the Christians for sacking Jerusalem over and over until it fell to Islamic rule. In essence it is the Islamic leaders who need to apologize for destroying all of Christendom in North Africa and the Middle East and Spain. It is the Muslim leaders who need to ask forgiveness for forcibly converting everyone in their path, from Berber pagans to Afghani Buddhists. For those who would not convert to the Islamic offer of an All-Merciful Allah, the alternative was death.

For the record it was in 807 that Caliph Harun al—Rashid orders the destruction of non—Muslim prayer houses and of the church of Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem. Has any one heard any Muslim apology for the destruction of a Christian house of worship. God to Jihad Watch and read the list of Muslim aggression against Byzantine Christianity that went on for centuries until the Christian Crusades rose up in response.

If anyone should apologize, it should be these evangelical leaders for putting forth such a preposterous offer of pardon to a bloodthirsty religion that has done far worse than Middle Age Christianity has ever done. At least present day Christianity has reformed itself and no longer seeks the threat of death as an evangelistic tool!

Don't forget that these Christian men also extended forgiveness for the "excesses of the “war on terror”". I want to fall over faint when I read that absurdity. Yes, there have been excesses at Abu Grahib and Guantanamo. But it was aimed against political prisoners and suspected terrorist not newspaper journalists like Daniel Perl. Where are the apologies for the televised Islamic inspired beheadings? Where is the outcry from Islamic clerics for the repeated car bombings against Iraqi civilians and persecutions against Christians in Iraq?

My Christian brothers like Rick Warren and Jim Wallis need a history lesson on what took place in the holy city of Jerusalem after the Romans razed the city. Where is the apology from the Italians to the Jews for destroying Jerusalem?

Why are Christians so ready to offer forgiveness when there is no repentance? Jesus said in Luke 17:3-4, "If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. “And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” The key motivation for forgiveness in these verses is repentance. Have I missed out on an Islamic request for pardon with a full on repentance for all its atrocities?

Also, I am waiting for an Protestant Christian offer of forgiveness to the Jewish people for the Catholic led Inquisitions during the Middle Ages which included forced conversions and baptisms, torture and massacres aimed at the Jewish inhabitants of Europe. Did I miss that too?

No comments: