It is striking that, even after the 9/11, Fort Hood and Boston Marathon attacks (among others), hate crimes against Muslims in the United States are at lower levels than are those against Jews. We must be concerned about increased persecution of all peoples, as has occurred to our Muslim neighbors after September 11, 2001. However, the hate crime data speaks better of the tolerance and good will of the vast majority of Americans towards Muslims, including those living in Morton Grove and Lombard, than the ISN is assuming.
My concern is that it doesn’t appear to be showing Christian charity to neighbors by assuming the worst about them without clear, compelling evidence. I do not find information even remotely approaching this standard in the Our Common Ministry, Chicago Tribune and other articles.
When Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, was he teaching that our “far off” neighbors are of greater value / concern as compared to those “near by?” Or, was he teaching that our neighbor extends to those “far off” to the same extent as those “near by?” In my view it is clearly the latter. My concern is that the ISN may be behaving as if it is the former.
I have become concerned that, in their desire to befriend and support our Muslim neighbors the ISN has lost perspective regarding their non-Muslim neighbors. In particular, they have demonstrated a troubling presumption with regard to the beliefs and potential actions of non-Muslim Americans.
I can’t help wondering what unfair actions taken by churches in the Presbytery of Chicago do to harm our ability to spread the Gospel. When we accuse whole communities of “hate” and “violence,” based on the “fears” of our members, my guess is that many will simply close their ears to the Presbyterian Church (USA).
It would be comforting if the above discussion completely explained this behavior. For many Christians involved in these incidents that is the case. However, for those who set the strategy and tactics, I believe that something far more troubling and destructive is at work.