As a former pastor, I wanted to attend Tuesday's press conference held by our local Islam-haters and the school board meeting scheduled to follow. Unfortunately, our family is getting by with one car currently, and I needed to be available to pick up my spouse at her school. (She is a special education teacher in Ruskin.)
I am appalled by the behavior of my fellow Christians. The universal Biblical text last Sunday was taken from the seventh Gospel of Mark, the 24-37 verses. In this passage Jesus encounters a Gentile woman who desperately pleas with Jesus to heal her ill daughter. At first, Jesus appears to only be concerned about the salvation of his fellow Jews. Amazingly, his heart is touched by the cries of the Gentile mother, and he responds to her need out of his infinite mercy and compassion.
The irony here is striking. To think that Jesus loved these "dogs" (the term by which Gentiles were commonly referred to). Yet, on this past Tuesday, our fellow Christians engaged in a campaign of hate and intolerance for anyone who dares to embrace the God of Abraham. (Look it up.) They are apparently unaware of the merciful inclusion into God's Covenant of the stranger and the Gentile. How arrogant and self-righteous of Christians to think they can judge who is in and who is out in terms of God's salvation for his creation.
I would propose that these religious zealots rethink their misguided actions and take the time to reach out to our Muslim brothers and sisters in the same way that Jesus did to that poor, excluded and marginalized mother.
John R. Gallo