All American Muslims, Meet Un-Christ-Like Christians

Perhaps nothing has helped the ratings of The Learning Channel’s new show, All American Muslim, more than the Florida Family Association, the group at the heart of protests against the show.

According to FFA’s website (not to be confused with Future Farmers of America), the nonprofit “…is an organization that is made up of THOUSANDS OF SUPPORTERS across America who share in the same goal of improving America’s moral environment.”

Translated: Fundamentalist Christian activists using their social capital to sway the culture around them.

So the object in the cross-hairs of FFA’s recent outlash is the reality show about everyday Muslims, set in the heavily Muslim community of Dearborn Michigan. Their objection to the show is as follows, taken directly from their website:

“TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim’ is propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda.”

More specifically, David Caton, Executive Director of FFA, objects because he feels that Muslims are normalized in the show. He claims that the show is propaganda because they do not depict jihadist radicals anywhere in the show. Though it’s my suspicion that if a radical terrorist cell were unearthed in the heart of Dearborn, it would make the very next episode.

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart succinctly, and humorously, nails down the absurdity of the whole protest in the clip below. In short, he points out that Caton objects to having an educational show on television that butts up against his own stereotypes of Muslims.

Yes, Caton and his crew of activists are welcome to wallow in their own bigotry, and yes, they’re even entitled to share that bigotry with the rest of us. They’re even within their rights to use their “thousands of supporters” to influence either the network or their sponsors. And they’ve done just that.

As most have likely heard by now, FFA has threatened boycotts against all advertisers on the show, prompting Lowes Hardware Stores to pull their ads from “All American Muslim.” Again, the company is within their right to place their advertising dollars where they see fit, and to allow themselves to be swayed by the disproportionately shrill voice of a handful of fundamentalists. In deference to Lowes’ corporate autonomy, I think that politicians who are calling for legal action to force the stores to apologize or to renew their ads are out of line.

Lowes has made their own bed; they don’t need legislative nannies to wield consequences over them for their cowardice.

That’s our job as consumers.

None of this is headline-grabbing news today, given the breakneck news cycle of web-based media. This story is literally HOURS old by now. However, my specific concern has to do with the implicit subtext at the heart of this conflict that reflects much worse on Christianity than it does on any Muslim.

In railing against the depiction of Muslims as mainstream Americans, the forces behind FFA expose in their own ranks the very fundamentalist type of aggression they claim to fear. Normalizing the “other” against which they happily define themselves muddies the waters in their war against culture (read: a war against anything that does not conform to our narrow expectations for culture). After all, if there is no clear enemy, how can a fundamentalist be clear on who they are?

Lowes will either reconsider their hasty decision to pull ads from the show, and consumers likely will direct their dollars accordingly. Hopefully TLC will not bow to such pressure and yank the show all together. Amid the scads of sensationalist shows on the network hiding under the guise of “educational” television, “All American Muslim” actually has one of the greatest opportunities to truly educate that TLC has.

Meanwhile the majority of Christians in the United States who do not share the narrow, bigoted, hate-driven views of the Florida Family Association have the responsibility to speak publicly about their values of compassion, mercy and reconciliation. In a world where the loudest voice often is the only one that is heard, the still, small voice of justice as inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus has an opportunity amid the noise to present an alternative view.

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • Rjdrjd2

    Why arent American Muslim groups Agressively and Publicly Protesting against Hamas, Hezbola, the Muslim Brotherhood, and all the Bigotry and Murder and imprisonment of Innocent Christians, Jews, and Hindus Only because of their religion ? They know whats up but muslims ALWAYS remain Silent on these issues BUT God Forbid that someone publishes a cartoon of their prophet ! Wake up America !!!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6BCR5H6RLMZZOZNCNJNXKZZ4JI Sharia Shiite

      GOOD POINT!  GOOGLE THE FOLLOWING FOR YOUR ANSWER!

      “HUMAN EVENTS SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT AMERICAN MUSLIM”

    • Yotap

      Are you publicly protesting against child abuse within the church? Are you publicly apologising for the crimes committed by the church throughout history? Do you apologise for the daily murders committed by so called Christians across the world? No. So why is it you seem to expect one Muslim to be held accountable for the actions of every other follower of his religion?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5Q5YZG6MVFM234ICQ3JRFWMZ44 Nah

    Where are the Christians out protesting against the Lord’s Resistance Army, or Operation Rescue, or the Catholic Church? They always remain silent on these issues, but god forbid someone show Jesus dipped in urine at a museum.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6BCR5H6RLMZZOZNCNJNXKZZ4JI Sharia Shiite

    aPPARENTLY, THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE IS UNAWARE THAT PEOPLE APEPARING THE SHOW MAY BE TERRORIST SYSPATHIZERS AND THE SHOW IS NOTHING MORE THAN PROPOGANDA WITH DOUBLE-SPEAK!

    DO YOU KNOW WHAT ISLAM TEACHES? ITS PRINICPLES ARE IN DIRECT CONFLICT WITH THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. 

    THIS SHOW IS IN DIRECT CONFLICT WITH AMERICAN VALUES! PERIOD.

    MUSLIMS FOLLOW THE TEACHINGS OF MUHAMMAD.  MUHAMMAD WAS VIOLENT AND CRUEL.  TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT ISLAM TEACHES, GOOGLE:  AMERICAN THINKER TOP 10 REASONS SHARIA IS BAD FOR ALL SOCIETIES

    ALSO GOOGLE: HUMAN EVENTS SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT ALL AMERICAN MUSLIM

    • NobodobodoN

      Sorry, I’m a trifle deaf in this ear, could you please speak up? 

      • Christian Piatt

        I may have to borrow that response some time.

  • Gratispoorboy

    The author of this is obviously a giant douche and doesn’t take tge time to do research before spouting out vitriol. Get a life you giant douche why should Americans support a hate group like Muslims. I don’t even like to refer to them as a group more like a pack of rabid dogs.

    • Mcrtom

      I found myself actually cringing for you whilst I read that comment.

      This whole story caught my eye and has lead to me visiting a lot of American sites for the first time. As a British person seeing some of the comments it’s quite shocking. Obviously we have our own small minded Muslim haters but they don’t seem to be the loudest voice like I’ve found on these sites.

      The funny thing is ive come across lots and lots of angry, misinformed, ignorant comments from so called Christians. And yet Ive not seen one similarly resentful and scathing comment from a Muslim.

      • Christian Piatt

        Thank you for your comment. I think this observation speaks volumes. I’m also disappointed not to see any comments from Christians refuting such hate speech or affirming the humanity of the Muslim people.

        We still have much work to do.

        • Mcrtom

          I fully agree and also should have mentioned that I enjoyed reading your article.

    • Christian Piatt

      Gratispoorboy, your comment embodies irony so clearly that it ought to be considered for inclusion in the dictionary under the word.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Christian,
     Are these All American Muslims; Shiite, Sunni, or Imam directed Muslims? Will Louis Farrakhan’s brand be represented?
     This is as important as the distinction in Christianity between the “Bible based” followers of Christ, and the followers of the doctrines and traditions of the “Church” described in Foxes book of Martyrs**. Have You read Foxes? You can bet this book was on all the founding fathers minds(US), and I would bet they could quote from it as well as the Bible. It was after all Bible reading by William Penn, long before our constitution, that resulted in the lion share of our civil rights and liberties being framed there.

    ** http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22400/22400-h/22400-h.htm

  • Faisal Mahboob

    There is still some hope with people like you. However, the comments section still has me worried. Some people seem to be still living in the middle ages with the “class of civilizations”  mentality.


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