Where are the “Good” Christians?

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Right-wing Christians lament the lack of “good” Muslims in the world, all while ignoring groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that are doing great work in pushing back against extremism.

When self-identified Christians fight to keep even refugees from war-torn Syria away from our shores, we have to ask how “good” these Christians actually are. Unfortunately, their Islamophobic ideology paints all Muslims as complicit with extremist perpetrators of terrorism and keeps these Christians from actually acting as Jesus taught toward our neighbors.

As a Christian seminary student and religious pluralist, that is, someone who has a commitment to respect all distinct religious perspectives and believes there are multiple paths to the divine, I honor the full humanity of my Muslim brothers and sisters. I also recognize that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam stem from the same place.

By dehumanizing Muslims worldwide and denigrating their religious beliefs, the Christian Right traffics in the politics of fear, compelling Americans to argue against the founding documents of this country they so laud and revere.

President-elect Trump has called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and implied that he would support Muslim registry.

The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah discussed the registry and suggested a clever show of solidarity from non-Muslim Americans.

The First Amendment to the Constitutions says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”, yet some scholars argue that Trump’s plans are legal.

To the Christian Right, who claim the moral high ground, I have to ask: is a Muslim ban Christian? Is a Muslim registry moral? Even if it is constitutional, there’s no escaping Jesus of Nazareth’s words.

Conservative firebrand and evangelical leader Franklin Graham says, “Every Muslim that comes into this country has the potential to be radicalized — and they do their killing to honor their religion and Muhammad.”

Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44)

Christian leader Pat Robertson says Islam is a “political system that is intent on dominating you and killing you.”

Jesus said, “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

Instead of trafficking in fear, Christians have a moral responsibility to love our Muslim brothers and sisters as Jesus loves us.

Rather than making lists of people to target, Christians must reach out to Muslims in our communities, extending the hand of hospitality Christ modeled again and again.

Instead of asking, “where are all the good Muslims” and sharing racist memes on social media, perhaps “good Christians” could assist in promoting projects like #notinmyname.

Actions like these help dispel fear and illustrate the neighbor love we are called to model.

As I reflect on the contrast between Jesus of Nazareth’s “love thy neighbor” command and the dehumanization of Muslims from the Christian Right, I am left asking, “Where are the good Christians?”

It is time for Christians to cast out fear and show up in perfect love for our Muslim neighbors.

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