Friday, July 17, 2015

Demonizing "the Other" Never Helps

Today, in response to yesterday's shooting in Tennessee, Franklin Graham posted that the U.S. is under attack from Islam and that no Muslim should be allowed to immigrate to the U.S. "until the Muslim problem is solved." A resident of a "free" country in the 21st century posted that (with an alarming number of supportive replies). Mine, however, differed.

I am a gay man, and I have benefited from heterosexual allies standing up for LBGT rights. I cannot in good conscience remain silent when other marginalized groups are targeted and vilified.
My response to Mr. Graham on his Facebook page was as follows:

"While I disagree with almost everything F. Graham says and stands for, this xenophobic, Islamaphobic, racist, demonizing, dehumanizing, wholesale slander of an entire group of people is the most reprehensible diatribe in a long, sad history of reprehensible diatribes to come from Graham. "Muslims" are not any more likely to be "radicalized" than any other religion. I am a Christian pastor and I hope I am never lumped in with the same sort of racism, homophobia, and misogyny that Graham promotes as religion. Of course, just as there are dangerous Christians (and Jews and Hindus and Atheists), there are dangerous Muslims; however, those who disgrace and blaspheme their religion with violence (and violent rhetoric) never represent the best of their religions or the true intent of their religons nor are their acts of violence representative of the larger bodies of the faithful. Criminals must be held accountable for their individual actions, but others who share their faith or skin tone or ethnic heritage must not be condemned for the acts of individuals. "Radical" Muslims no more represent what Islam truly is than the KKK represents what Chrisitanity is. For all the whining about religious persecution on this page, it is beyond hypocritical to then attempt to persecute an entire religion. I hope good people of varying beliefs will challenge Franklin Graham for his dangerous, prejudicial rhetoric." Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

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