Yesterday I listened to part of the Sean Hannity radio show. He had a guest on of the Islamic faith to give his perspective on the hostilities in Syria. However, much of the conversation consisted of Hannity not letting the man speak, and constantly asking him if he approved of the killing, whether he agreed with Sharia law, whether he thought virgins awaited Muslim martyrs, and so forth.

Much of my life I have thought of myself as a sort of “defender of religious liberty” because I would stand up for Christian causes. A perfect example is when a father sued to have “under God” removed from the national pledge, because he was an atheist. Christian backlash nationwide was strong, and again, I agree that just because someone wants “under God” removed from our pledge, it doesn’t mean we should have to do it. He and anyone else have the freedom to not say that pledge, or that part of it if it bothers them, just like you have the freedom to say it if you so choose.

What I want to suggest is that many of us in the USA may have a one-sided religious freedom paradigm. Whenever Christian beliefs are challenged publicly, we cry foul, but if someone else is oppressed, we are less likely to be bothered by it. In fact, since 2001, there is a strong anti-Islam wind blowing in this country. We are suspicious of Middle-Eastern looking people and think they should be screened more closely at airports. A mosque goes up near your house and you think “Oh no, what’s next, prayers over outdoor loudspeakers?”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not changing religions, nor do I think Christians should be silent about our own threats to liberty, but those of us who claim to believe in freedom of worship ought to start practicing it more consistently.

Sean Hannity would claim to defend religious liberty and tolerance, yet he became an example of the intolerance many of us have toward those of differing faiths. If you truly believe men and women should be free to worship as they choose, I challenge you to stop criticizing their beliefs. I didn’t say you should believe “all roads lead to heaven” or that any one faith is as good as another, but rather to be respectful. You might even win someone over to your side in the process.

Grace and peace to all.

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