“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” – Isaiah 6:8, King James Bible
Not likely will you hear this verse uttered at a memorial service by a Muslim, and it would be less likely that you would hear them spoken by someone who has contempt for the people they memorialize. But this was the verse that was quoted by President Obama this Memorial Day as he laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Why would I refer to the President as a Muslim or as someone who holds our soldiers and this country in contempt? I wouldn’t, I’m merely offering a bit of satire to the propaganda that is often preached by a certain ilk in this country. Propaganda claiming that the sole intent of our President is to undermine the strength and unity of this country because of his Muslim heritage.
Now, I’m not ignorant enough to believe this rhetoric, which is often repeated by those that are spiteful of our sitting President, but I’m amazed at how many people repeat this message as if it were true – or even believe it is true.
I’m no expert when it comes to religion, but even I realized that these were the words of a Christian, and one that meant to honor those they were spoken about. Though, I do recognize that Isaiah is also a Prophet that is taught in the Muslim religion as prophesying the coming of both Jesus – yes the Muslims recognize Jesus Christ as a prophet – and Muhammad, I think it’s a far stretch to tie this quote to Islam since the Quran does not quote Isaiah or even include mention of Isaiah.
So, when hearing the President had quoted this verse, I asked myself, “Who could actually believe this man is a Muslim?” I guess the answer can only be given by someone who thinks it.
I’m also reminded that those people can’t find it in them to act or speak as their Lord Jesus Christ would. These people who fight against social programs that would benefit the less fortunate forget an important verse in the book of Matthew;
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” – (Matthew 25.35-40 ESV)
Jesus was not speaking of himself, he wasn’t saying, “give me what I need to survive and I will give you passage to heaven.” He was saying when you serve others you serve Him. So why is it that many of those who fight so dastardly against social programs often relish in their own holiness? – Not to say that all who are religious are this way, just that many that are this way are speaking as Christians.
I’ve written about the hate and intolerance often spewed out by these same people towards Muslims – not wanting a mosque near ground zero, or even in their city, and burning Qurans to defile the muslim religion. Hell, the man that did that was a pastor…had he not read his own teachings?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” – (Matthew 5.43-45 ESV)
This man prayed for the death of our President, he speaks words of hate for Islam and he burns their holy book. Yet I didn’t see a public outcry by the Christian community to condemn his actions, and I remember some saying that it was “stupid that the Muslims are rioting over this…” I’m not a religious man, to say the least, but I recognize that if I were, and people hiding behind the values of a nation and the virtues of a religion burned my holy book, I’d be upset by the action as well.
But speaking outside of this one man’s actions, think of how many people in this country blame Islam for 9/11. - “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” * – Think about how many people hold open-contempt for American Muslims or just Muslims in general over the actions of only a few men? – “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”* – How many of these people do you think claim Christianity as their religion?
I’m ready to see more Christians openly speak about the needs of the poor again and defend much needed programs. I’d love to see more Christians come out and defend Muslims and Islam against the hate and persecution of the extremist…I’d love to see the real Christians regain their voice. And for the record, you can remove the word “Christians” in this paragraph and replace it with “Muslims” or any other religion and I’d still love to see it.
President Obama stood before that memorial to the men and women who have died for this nation and he commemorated their sacrifice with Christian words, with honorable words, doing so without condemning the enemy of those fallen soldiers. He reflected the true values of a virtuous Christian; yet, this man himself has been criticized by the Religious Right as an unholy man and enemy of this Nation…
…makes me think maybe that “snake” in their new party symbol has more meaning than “don’t tread on me”.
* Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5.3-12 ESV).