The incoming administration of Donald Trump has placed itself in opposition to Islam, a religion with an estimated 1.7 billion adherents worldwide.
Donald Trump has named retired general Michael Flynn as his national security advisor. Flynn has said Islam poses an "existential threat" to the United States. "Islamist militancy poses an existential threat on a global scale, and the Muslim faith itself is the source of the problem, he said, describing it as a political ideology, not a religion." (See The New York Times, "Michael Flynn, Anti-Islamist Ex-General, Offered Security Post, Trump Aide Says.")
Read those words again: "[T]he Muslim faith itself is the source of the problem."
Now would be a good time for people in the US to learn some facts about Islam, and about its followers (Muslims), and to reflect on the adversarial position the new president has promised to adopt toward it and them.
|Muslim prayer rug, Turkey, 18th c.|
(The arrow points the way)
Islam is a verbal noun originating from the triliteral root s-l-m which forms a large class of words mostly relating to concepts of wholeness, submission, safeness and peace. In a religious context it means "voluntary submission to God". Islām is the verbal noun of Form IV of the root, and means "submission" or "surrender". Muslim, the word for an adherent of Islam, is the active participle of the same verb form, and means "one who submits" or "one who surrenders". Believers demonstrate submission to God by serving God, following his commands, and rejecting polytheism. (See Wikipedia: "Islam: Etymology and Meaning")This reminds me of the words in the Lord's Prayer: "thy will be done," and of Jesus' words on the cross: "yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).
I can understand people who say, "You know, putting God's will before your own -- that's really the hardest part of all this. The temptation is to just turn your back on the 'thy will be done' part. But if we're serious about our faith, we actually have to try to ask what God wants, for us and for everyone else, and to begin to see how small our own personal desires are in comparison."
And I can also understand a government that says, "If people start taking their faith in God seriously, their priorities are going to change, and they're certainly going to be a lot less in awe of us!" and "Hey, I'm the boss around here!"
It occurs to me that a lot of people of faith -- Muslim and non-Muslim -- are going to see the posture the US government is adopting, and they are going to say, "Does this government oppose anyone who has devoted themselves to serving God? How about me?"
A lot of people are going to be thinking about those words: "thy will be done."
I've got a feeling he's gotten a lot of people to ask themselves, "What is my theology?"
(See It's a Matter of Theology)
We live in a 24/7 entertainment and media culture, and it is a constant struggle to shift from being a passive participant in the dominant cultural narrative to being an active influence on the ideas circulating in our communities.
(See In 2016, Walk the Talk: "Anti-Islamophobia." (You can do it.) )
I wonder if the outrage that many Muslims seem to feel at the suffering of other Muslims doesn't put us Christians to shame.
(See Fighting Back: It's alright as long as you're a Christian, right? )