For the fourth straight year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation chapter in Chicago has put up an atheist display at North School Park in the city of Arlington Heights. It will be alongside a Nativity Scene also on the property. This year, the atheists put up a five-foot-tall Scarlet A:
Michael Epperson‘s sensible piece on Friendly Atheist, about whether we should refer to Islam as a “religion of peace,” ends with an editorial note: “The opinions expressed here are those of the author.”
Well, for the record, they mirror mine almost exactly. This part was especially good, I thought:
We can’t afford pet names and word games. I understand that [Hillary] Clinton would play the “religion of peace” game even if she viewed Islam as horrific, but this carelessness shut downs the conversation. We need sophisticated conversations about a complicated religion. If your contribution to that conversation is limited to five letters, you’re not doing Muslims, the vast majority of whom are peaceful and tolerant, any favors.
It seems that many people think that they are doing Muslims a favor. But those good intentions foster bad thinking. Some people praise Islam for being a religion of peace and, without coming up for air, condemn critics of Islam for generalizing the faith. The irony is lost on these people.
Unfortunately, Epperson’s opinion, and mine, won’t really matter. At the highest level of government, and throughout most of academe, we’ll all be bombarded for years to come with the mantra that Islam equals peace.
Consider this: My oldest daughter, who is a very mature 13 and interested in becoming a judge or a diplomat, this year learned the following about Islam and its prophet in her blue-ribbon school:
Fernando Alcántar grew up as a poor Catholic boy in Mexico and soon became a rising star in the Christian world… that is, until he came out as a gay atheist. That didn’t go over so well.
His new memoir, with a foreword by Dan Barker, is called To the Cross and Back: An Immigrant’s Journey from Faith to Reason (Pitchstone Publishing, 2015):
In the excerpt below, Alcántar details all the difficult “divorces” he’s gone through, but says he’s not angry about it:
It’s time we acknowledge — and time for conservatives to acknowledge — that the radical rhetoric of the pro-life movement isn’t just hyperbolic; it isn’t just dishonest; it isn’t just fanatical; it’s dangerous.
When presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina misleadingly says she “watch[ed] a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain’,” that’s dangerous. When politicians like Mike Huckabee suggest that abortion is worse than the Holocaust, that’s dangerous. When people like Ben Carson equate abortion to slavery, that’s dangerous.
Why? Because some people take those lies, those exaggerations, that extraordinary rhetoric seriously.