Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dick Durbin stands alone for American Muslims

As noted here and elsewhere over the course of the last few months, the future of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) remains tenuous at best.

The commission's governing mandate originally expired in September, only to be renewed in an overall federal budget resolution that expired November 18th.

The stalemate over USCIRF's future occurred as it was part of an omnibus Senate bill on the 2012 fiscal year's budget appropriations and it is a lone Senator, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) who halted that vote.

While Christians, in particular, are leading the outcry, the senator's reasoning seems to be firmly rooted here.

Mr. Durbin's entire opening statement from that March 29, 2011 hearing is worth reading (again), but here's the gist of it:
"I had my differences with President George W. Bush, but he showed real
leadership after 9/11, when he made it clear that our war was with the terrorists
who perverted the teachings of Islam, not with Muslims who were faithful to
what he called, quote, “a faith based upon love, not hate.”
Congress too spoke with a clear voice. I cosponsored a resolution with John
Sununu, who was then the only Arab-American in the Senate, that condemned
anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry and said that American Muslims “are vibrant,
peaceful, and law-abiding, and have greatly contributed to American society.” Our
resolution passed both chambers of Congress unanimously.
Today, President Obama continues to speak out as forcefully as President Bush,
even though President Obama is challenged by a chorus of harsh voices:
• A leading member of Congress states bluntly, quote, “There are too many
mosques in this country.”
• A former Speaker of the House falsely claims, quote, “America is
experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine
and destroy our civilization.”
• And a prominent religious leader says Islam is, quote, “wicked” and “evil."
Still, should such compassion for American Muslims really be the point when it comes to the much bigger picture; that of religious freedom worldwide? 

Senator Durbin, you've clearly stated your reasoning on your support for American (and non-radical) Muslims as well as your generally bipartisan approach on the matter and are hence to be congratulated.

Of all the items within any of the budget debates today,  surely you might agree that freedom itself remains uniquely priceless. Further, the principle of upholding freedom, particularly religious freedom, as it infuses the dangerous and fragile world arena currently, overrides all such considerations of either partisan or even deeply personal convictions regarding civil or societal liberties.

Therefore, please seriously reconsider your support for the omnibus bill that includes funding for the USCIRF.

This is no time for silence.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Chinese Jack-o'-lantern

(Red) Chinese origins?

Three representatives of China's house church movement in exile and Chuck Colson's musings on recent tricks amidst the treat of an exhibition of Bibles currently touring the U.S., reinforces the idea that Red China remains a land of contradiction, deception and foreboding, particularly for Christians (and other faiths, too).

Sadly, it also adds fire to those who would seek nothing better than to deter, downgrade and ultimately destroy any and all American moral stature on that most fundamental and essential freedom; that of religion.

Have we come so far as to yet be so deceived?

As ever, make up your own mind.

Read of the tour's "background," here and of its inexorable, ripening conclusion here.