For some time now, prescient cultural observers have been warning that militant Islam willÂ take our nation’sÂ obsessiveness aboutÂ multi-culturalism andÂ “tolerance” and use it as a club for beating Christians.
It’s already well underway in the UK andÂ EuropeÂ where people tend to be even more terrified than liberal American elites of being labeled “insensitive” to other cultures. A priest in the Netherlands the other day suggested that Christians start referring to God as “Allah” out of sensitivity to their Muslim neighbors. (Sadly, I’m not making that up.)
Muslim pressure groups in Canada have already become quite skilled at using that country’s broad “hate crimes”Â lawsÂ to cow or silence Christian groups that voice biblical cultural values. Now this brand of intimidation has claimed one of its first Christian victims in the U.S..
A Christian television ministry program has been dropped from a CBS affiliate in Tampa because of complaints from CAIR, The Council for American-Islamic Relations.
The “Live Prayer with Bill Keller” program ran afoul of the pressure group by labeling Islam a “false religion” and suggesting that Islam is about “hate and death.” These are characterizations that may indeed hurt Muslims feelings, but, as Christians well know, there are no constitutional guarantees in this country against having your feelings hurt. At least there didn’t use to be. In fact, Christianity is mocked, derided, criticized and slandered publicly all the time. We Christians are used to it.
Nevertheless, as they’ve done with great success in the UK and Canada, CAIR is using the spectre of potential “hate crimes” to justify its concern:
“It is our belief that anti-Islamic rhetoric like that used in ‘Live Prayer with Bill Keller’ is exactly the type of language that is likely to incite hate crimes against the American Muslim community,” the letter said.
Now, Rev. Keller has stated that he won’t back off of declaring biblical truth on the air, and I believe he means it. But you have to wonder,Â human nature being what it is. . . The next time the topic of the claims and nature of Islam comes up on his program, it will surely cross Rev. Keller’s mind that last timeÂ he was kicked off of a network affiliate for speaking his mind. Might he possibly be tempted to temper his words a little? To soften his rhetoric? To get aÂ little more subtle and euphemistic?
I know I would. And what about all the other Christian broadcasters who are know aware of Keller’s experience? Will they tread a little more cautiously? Choose another topic, maybe?
Of course, this is precisely the effect C.A.I.R. is hoping for.
We’re frogs in a kettle of water. The heat just went up a little. But I’m sure we’ll get used to it.