headline: "Pastor bizarrely explains anti-Muslim church sign: I’m not politically correct, but I am biblically correct"
Here a supposedly responsible news outlet decides to frame the story in a certain way.
From Raw Story.
The pastor of an Oregon Baptist church is under fire locally for putting what critics call a bigoted message on his church’s sign board, KATU reports.
Pastor Michael Harrington placed the words on the reader board outside Belmont Drive Missionary Baptist Church. On one side it reads, “Wake up Christians, Allah is not our God, Muhammad not greater than Jesus.” On the other side, it says, “Only the Bible is God’s word, ‘holy book,’ Koran is just another book.”
“I’m not politically correct. I’ve never been politically correct, but I think I’m biblically correct, and that’s what matters to me,” Harrington told KATU. “It isn’t against any particular denomination. It’s just the fact that I have taught and will continue to teach that I have one God, one way of salvation and one Bible that’s holy.”
But locals, including the mayor, don’t want to see the signs. “I was really annoyed and sad,” Hood River mayor, Paul Blackburn, told KATU. “I am annoyed that in this political season there’s a solid case of ugly going on. I think it norms up this kind of behavior like ‘oh it’s okay to be a bigot now.'”
Another resident, Eric Cohn, said he was very upset.
“I literally had to stop and back up and make sure I saw what I saw, and I was profoundly offended and upset by it,” Cohn told KATU.
Harrington told the station he has no plans to remove the sign until the beginning of June, when he was planning to put a new one up anyway.
There is a companion article with video titled "Messages on church reader board stir controversy".
So it seems we are supposed to be upset that a Christian minister actually believes his faith is true and other faiths are not. This is an example of "bigotry" we are told. As an Anglican if I were to see a board outside a Catholic church that read "The Bishop of Rome is the vicar of Christ and leader of the One true Church" and "Wake up Catholics. The 39 Articles are just somebody's ideas" I wouldn't get upset. What do we expect Catholics might say? I may not agree with the statements but so what? They are stating what they believe.
We'll continue to wait for media criticism of the Islamic confession of faith, the Shahada: "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet." I think it will be a very long wait. But that is an astoundingly exclusivist statement isn't it? What about the feelings of all those Hindus and peoples of other faiths or none at all? Nobody complains about it though. Why not? Here it is chiseled in stone on the front of a Dubai Mosque:~
Secondly, isn't it funny how everybody suddenly becomes a scholar of Islamic theology when the subject arises of whether Muslims worship the same god as Christians? Ordinary people are deeply upset & offended over someone making the perfectly correct statement that Allah and Yahweh, Muhammad and Jesus are not the same. Frankly, any serious study of the natures of the two deities and the lives of each religion's central figures will quickly demonstrate that Islam's Allah is not at all the same god as the Jewish and Christian Yahweh. Beyond any shadow of doubt. For a Pastor, who would be expected to have a good knowledge of his God to state that Allah is not the same person is considered deeply offensive. Why? Based upon what, exactly? All the years of study the critics have behind them? No, based on "it's-not-nice-to-say-that-they-are-different-because-Muslims-say-they-are-the-same". So the imagined upset feelings of some Muslims are more important than research & demonstrable facts. Speaking the truth is now an incitement to division and enmity.
I think we're getting a bit carried away here.
Lastly, the Pastor is framed as some sort of bigot. Watch the video of the nice old chap. In what possible way could this bloke be any less a bigot? The sign is making simple, understandable (and correct) points that Allah is not the same as Yahweh and that the Qur'an isn't an inspired holy book. The sign is framed as being itself anti-Muslim (i.e. against the people not the doctrine). The minister's explanation that he is following the Bible is deemed Bizarre. The implication is it is un-Christian (again everybody is now a theologian) to make Christian statements of belief even when it is made clear that the ideology and theology are being called false and that Muslims as people are not being singled out for discrimination.
As the American Islamic reform group the Muslim Reform Movement states: "Ideas do not have rights, people have rights." Criticise ideas all you like as long as you don't advocate hatred for people. But this an apparently highly nuanced point and is too much for some in the current climate to grasp.
Just some things to be aware of when confronted with much current reporting on anything to do with Islam.