Posts Tagged Islamaphobia
The other day a friend of mine said that, although she didn’t agree with his theology, Mark Driscoll was a pretty smart guy. I agreed. Boy, were we wrong:
‘Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots? Totally. Yoga is demonic,’ Driscoll said. ‘If you just sign up for a little yoga class, you’re signing up for a little demon class.’
I guess he’s an expert. Right. Better warn those taking the weekly yoga class in my church. They have been acting sort of…spooky.
I’m not saying that Driscoll has a low I.Q. – I’m sure that’s not the case. But the above statement sure doesn’t make him sound very smart. It’s the kind of thing that a lot of religious people are saying these days about other traditions, practices and beliefs that they apparently know next to nothing about. It’s the kind of remark that someone who thinks he has all the right answers will make. Stupid and…bigoted.
I suspect that Driscoll (like his fellow Calvinist, Al Mohler) is sure that yoga is demonic because of it’s “non-Christian” roots in Hinduism. (Though he just might feel that yoga is not ‘macho’ enough for him.) To folks like this, any spiritual (or psychological) practice not based on the Bible is demonic, so it only follows that it’s practitioners are worshiping and serving Satan. A major problem with this position (aside from the arrogance) is that many, if not most, of the critics’ own beliefs and practices are not strictly Biblical. At least that’s what the majority of their Christian brothers and sisters think, even if they are too polite to say so. Some, who are not so polite (like me ) might suggest that it is Driscoll and friends who are actually following Satan, since Satan is a clever Hebrew metaphor for the selfish and frightened ego.
This idea that yoga is a way to allow demons access to our minds has been a staple of Christian pop-culture for some time and it’s a mainstay of Christian suspense fiction. But is it any coincidence that in the past few months ‘evangelical’ leaders have begun speaking out against a practice that is so closely identified with Hinduism? I don’t want to sound cynical, but have the hordes of Christian Islamophobes softened up the playing field for a more spirited condemnation of other non-Christians? (If so, then their fellow-traveling Jewish Islamophobes might want to be careful.)
Many of the people who have taken hip-shots at other religions really should know better. Graduates of divinity schools, colleges and universities – you wonder if any of them had ever taken a comparative religion course. But then some of those who teach comparative religions at the college level can miss the forest for the trees when it comes to faith. Though not bigoted they may be prejudiced, tending to see every religion as monolithic (or almost so) – each devotee devoted to the same set of doctrines and imagining the same image of God: all Muslims striving for world domination, all Hindus as polytheists, all Christians believing Jesus is the sacrificial Son of God etc. Certainly a minister like Driscoll should know better -he just needs to look around at his fellow Christians. Consider how there is such a diversity of theological opinion and such a lack of consensus on who Jesus was and what he said and did. How some Christians might even accuse Driscoll of idolatry – an artist’s conception of Jesus on his tee-shirt. He should ponder that a while before he gives into the temptation to tilt at other spiritual windmills.
Actually, maybe a little yoga would help. He’s already hooked into the Christian pop-culture passion for avatars
An American Muslim going by the name of Saladin left a very brief (and the only) comment on my post comparing Right-Wing Islamaphobic blogs to Mein Kampf: ” So few people remember that is past is prologue.” I am glad for the comment because I ended up visiting his blog, “Reflections on the Straight Path”, where I read an excellent piece about New York mayor Michael Bloomburg’s profound speech on the proposed mosque at Ground Zero. With Saladin’s permission, the article is reprinted here:
Yesterday, in a moment of statesmanship that would shame many presidents, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the commission that designated landmarks voted against extending that status to the building located where the Park 51 community center would go. He gave an incredible speech. He stood up for the US constitution, a piece of paper that is our truest national treasure. Many people were overjoyed, many others were outraged. Bloomberg was simultaneously hailed as a hero, a champion for civil rights and all that is good in the United States and condemned as a spineless politician bought off by special interests, if not an actual traitor. None of these reactions are unexpected when dealing with an issue this complex and close to peoples’ hearts and passions.
For those who support the Park 51 Islamic Center, now is the time to speak up, now is the time to reach out. Those who are in pain over the choice, who are righteously indignant–they are the ones we must connect with. They demand to know that “these Muslims” won’t support terrorism, DO condemn the attacks on 9/11. So tell them. Nearly a hundred Muslims died on 9/11–their deaths are equally tragic, equally outrageous. More Muslims have gone off to serve their country, died in wars they may not have fully agreed with but they served their country loyally. American Muslims are not a separate nation nor a fifth column.
For those who oppose Park 51, now is the time to remember what is under attack. It is our nation, it is our strength, and our freedom to choose that the terrorists resent. They think us immoral and corrupt. Some of us are. Most of us aren’t. As long as you do what they say, when they say, how they say, Al-Qaeda really doesn’t have a problem with you. The minute that changes, you change from ally to enemy. The issues that drive that organization are both simple and Byzantine, all at once. What you must remember is that whenever we turn against each other, whenever we choose to marginalize one group or try to curtail their constitutional rights, the terrorists wet their pants with glee. They want us divided, they want us willing to sacrifice our most basic principles. I’ve seen it. I know.
All of us, regardless of our religion, nationality, or any other distinguishing characteristic, are sisters and brothers of this world. We all love, we all bleed, and we’ll all die. The only thing we can change is how we treat each other.
“ We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. ”
—United States Constitution, Preamble
“Repel (evil) with what is better. Then will he, between whom and thee was hatred, become as it were thy friend and intimate. And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint.” The Qur’an – Surah 41, Verse 34 and 35
These people are whacked. Isn’t it bad enough that Geller and Spencer have plenty of other internet orifices from which to spew their filth, do they have to go and join forces with their cause Stop the Islamization of America?
If you aren’t too concerned about the growing Islamaphobia in America, if you think it’s merely just a matter of opinion or that there might even be some justification for it, then I suggest you check out these websites. People like Geller, Spencer, Coulter are courted every day by “news” programs on Fox and MSNBC. If you are fond of spittle-flinging hysterics then you have probably already seen and heard them. But if you prefer politer company and have been fortunate enough not to run across their angry, fascist notions, then do yourself a favor and check them out. Hitler was a wack job too. If only more people had taken “Mein Kampf” seriously.
“Fore warned is fore armed.”