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Dear Charisma Media…

Dear Charisma Media… September 9, 2014

SteveStrangDear Steve Strang, Jennifer LeClaire, Shawn Akers, and Lee Grady,

We all make mistakes. As editors of Charisma Media, you may agree that you made one by posting a vicious Islamophobic article last week. It was good of you to take the post down. [For people who want to read it, it is available here.]

Now, many are calling for you to apologize. (For example, here’s one petition that’s being circulated, asking for you to do so.) I’m sure a lot of your customer base loved the article and would be dismayed if you apologize. (I’ve been told the comments section made this clear.)

You may be tempted to play to your base by refusing to apologize. Or you might even try to use this outcry against your magazine as many religious and political leaders typically do – as an attempt to raise money and portray yourselves as victims of some left-wing, liberal, pluralist, or Satanic attack.

You may avoid responsibility by saying the views expressed were those of the Rev. Gary Cass, president and CEO of DefendChristians.org, and that “Unless otherwise specified, the opinions expressed are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Charisma Media.” You may simply hope this blows over and do or say nothing.

I hope you will apologize. But not simply as a way to get yourselves out of a public relations fiasco. I hope the four of you will use this opportunity to really learn something – so that you can in turn help your readers. This is a teachable moment for them as well as for you.

I don’t normally read your magazines, but today as I scanned the headlines, it seemed clear that many of your articles lean in the direction of Gary Cass, and few if any offer a different perspective. (As examples of a different perspective, I’d recommend responses by Sarah Besseyand Brian Zahnd.)

How Christians relate to people of other religions is deeply important on many levels. I wrote a book on the subject, called Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? In light of the firestorm your magazine has entered on this subject, I hope you’ll take some time to read it and maybe discuss it among yourselves in the weeks to come. I would be happy to be in conversation in person or by phone to offer whatever help I could offer as a fellow Christian who found the piece, and your decision to post it, deeply disturbing.

Editors such as yourselves can no longer afford to be ignorant or uninformed about the subject of Christian identity in a multi-faith world. The consequences are much more serious than the success or failure of your media company.

We all make mistakes. And we all can learn from them.

Warmly, in Christ,
Brian McLaren


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