To the editor:
I am very concerned about the continuing demonization of Islam by Diane West and the letter of support by Bob Grubb.
This concerns me because such attitudes lead directly to wars and hate crimes. I certainly cannot defend violence and oppression that comes from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nor can I defend the millennium of oppression of Europe that came from the Christian church leadership in Rome. I cannot defend the amputations and stonings that are called for by some implementations of Sharia Law. But then, I can’t defend developing torture to an art form by the centuries of inquisition used to enforce purity of Christian dogma.
It was necessary to define separation of church and state with the First Amendment before this country could be formed. This was done to protect citizens from the excesses of Christianity. This same principle works equally well to protect citizens from the excesses of Islam. Mostly, Christianity has stopped trying to be a temporal power but largely Islam has not.
Violence and oppression are no more an intrinsic part of Islam than they are an intrinsic part of Christianity. It is especially important in this country to distinguish between Islam and Islamic extremism because any Muslim that you are likely to meet is just as appalled by Islamic extremism as any Christian.
Theology is a subject best resolved in a peaceful and civil matter. We have enough war and violence and hate without making enemies of people who could be our friends. It is very unlikely that most Muslims will ever convert to Christianity. It is very likely that we can live under a system of democratically developed laws free of religious extremism. It can be hoped that we will learn that war is not the answer.