Sunday, April 10, 2011

Musings on an Email Received

It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.

— G.K. Chesterton

We should be tolerant towards our fellow men, whatever be their mistakes, provided their mistakes be not injurious to the common good, or to the peace of society.  But such tolerance does not oblige us to admit that their mistakes are not mistakes.  Truth excludes error.  And he who wants the truth will not get it by tolerating error.  Tolerance does not mean that one must agree that the ideas of others are right when he believes them to be wrong.'

— Fathers Rumble and McCarthy.  (Radio Replies vol. 3.  Page 52)

I received an email I have seen come and go during the years, which makes the rounds on "Whether a Muslim can be a Good American."  The anonymous author of the piece argued they could not, listing several grounds, largely based on how Islam is a foreign religion with foreign loyalties.

I felt a sense of déjà vu when reading these statements – These statements were commonly used up to 1960 (and are still used by a minority today) as reasons to claim that a Catholic could not be a good American. 

I feel no need to defend Islam, which I believe to be contradictory to the Revelation of Christ and therefore false.

However, it is disturbing that some individuals cannot distinguish between the error of Islam and the people who practice it and whom we are commanded to love by our Lord even if some of them hate us.  It is not acceptance of Islam as equal to Christianity to state that we must treat persons who believe in Islam the way God commands us to.

As Christians, we are forbidden to bear false witness against our neighbors.  Therefore we must determine whether an accusation is true, not merely assume the worst of those who do not share our faith.

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