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Mosque outrage in Murfreesboro lampooned on Daily Show

Jon-and-Aasif__TDS-17034Aasif Mandvi, the muslim correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, recently made a trip to Murfreesboro to cover the outrage over a planned Islamic center. While the coverage, aired on August 25th, is definitely intended to be humorous, it sheds light on the bigotry and ignorance of those voicing their opposition to its construction.

Mandvi spoke with Laurie Cardoza-Moore, a staunchly pro-Israel advocate, who is leading the opposition to the building of the Islamic center. Cardoza-Moore is also the president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, a pro-Zionism organization with a strong conservative Christian membership. “This has nothing to do with religion. It’s about stopping the advancement of radical Islam in the United States,” said Cardoza-Moore in her interview with Mandvi. Cardoza-Moore apparently doesn’t realize that opposing a religion’s right to free worship has everything to do with religion.

She also makes the fallacious supposition that all Muslims are members of “radical Islam.” She is even quoted saying, “30% based on the numbers that were done are terrorists.” There isn’t much context for that quote, but one can assume that she is implying that 30% of Muslims are terrorists. Whatever the context may be, it is clear that she is using every opportunity to draw links between Al Qaeda and Muslims in America.

Cardoza-Moore admits that the Murfreesboro Muslim community has already had a mosque in place for decades. It is clear by her all-too-timely opposition to their expansion into new quarters that she is capitalizing off the rampant anti-Islam sentiments drummed up by the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque”, a building that would be 2.5 blocks from Ground Zero on the same hallowed ground where there is currently a strip club (only one block from Ground Zero). Mandvi points out that in all the years of the mosque’s existence there have been no episodes of violence from the Muslim community. Cardoza-Moore replies, “None yet.” Cardoza-Moore is calling her shots directly from the religious right’s book of fearmongering tactics.

Cardoza-Moore also stated, “Islam is a political system of global domination.” One could argue that Christianity is as well, though the language of the Great Commission is certainly less colorful that the similar proclamations in the Quran and Hadith. Like Christians, there are cafeteria Muslims as well that do not follow their religion’s holy book to the letter. On a personal note, I have had many different varieties of Christians knock on my door trying to recruit me, but I have never once had a Muslim knock on my door. Christian missionary tactics are widespread and seek similar aims of global spread. One would have to be blind to not see their belief system injected into our political system from all angles.

Like Jon Stewart said, “One side says our wekness emboldens jihadists. The other side says our strength embitters jihadists. How about we try a new system where we don’t give a f*** about what they think?”

View the video on The Daily Show’s website.

Pastor Maury Davis quick to condemn others considering violent past

207e348a0aec955a57199199b26dc1acSenior Pastor Maury Davis of Cornerstone Church, a megachurch in Madison, today condemned President Obama on his Twitter feed for being “pro-Islam.” He went on to say that he “can’t imagine Christ saying one good thing about any other faith.”

Without pointing out the most glaring things that are wrong with this man’s statements, it should be noted that Pastor Davis was convicted of first-degree murder at age eighteen, a fact he openly admits in the bio on his church’s website (NOTE: Cornerstone has a new website with no bios for their core pastoral staff as of this time.). What was that one line Christ said about casting the first stone?

Davis has created a false dichotomy by contrasting his personal anti-Islam beliefs with the supposed active support of Islam displayed by Obama (presumably with regards to the Ground Zero real estate). Davis even goes so far as to say that Jesus called other faiths “evil.” Not only are there no examples of this anywhere in the New Testament, there are plenty of examples where he preaches the exact opposite.
In Luke 6:37, Jesus says, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”

The much-hyped “Mosque at Ground Zero” has been a favorite talking point among Republican politicians hoping to galvanize Christian voters. What these truth-stretchers would have you believe is that exactly where World Trade Center Twin Towers once stood there will be a mosque built by the same radical Islamists that destroyed the towers. In truth, what is being built is an Islamic Cultural Center (whatever that is) which will in fact contain a mosque. What they don’t tell you is that on this hallowed ground (about six blocks from where the North Tower was located) in what used to be a Burlington Coat Factory store, these Muslims are already praying. They just want to have a slightly better building to do it in. The only thing President Obama has said is that, this being a country that reportedly embraces religious freedom, they are quite free to do so.

Read more fact checking at Islam already lives near ground zero.

Are atheists empty shells with no moral compass?

862de0b3b7f46bc1ffa71493f31539c1The Faith section of the Bradenton Herald recently published an article with the headline “Atheist may be sunny on outside, but feel empty inside.” A reader wrote the Billy Graham Evangelical Association for some advice from their “My Answer” program. The reader asks how it could be possible that her friend, whom she describes as the “kindest, most thoughtful person” she knows, could be the way she is being an atheist. The answer provides deep insight into the rhetoric that resonates within Christian households regarding morality and kindness.

Why is she such a kind and thoughtful person? I don’t know the reason; perhaps she simply has a sunny personality (as some people do), or perhaps her parents taught her to be kind and considerate when she was growing up. But I do know this: She’s not this way because she’s an atheist. In fact, she’s this way in spite of her atheism — because a true atheist has no real reason to believe in right and wrong, or to behave sacrificially toward others.

It is a commonly accepted belief, though erroneous, that to be moral, one must be a Christian. Many people of faith in the United States believe that their particular religion has a monopoly on morality and that an atheist, with no supernatural deity to answer to, can behave however they wish. This is true of anyone. Anyone may act however they choose, but it is true that an atheist does not adhere to any religious belief with specific behavioral condemnations. What then prompts an atheist to act with kindness and regard to others?

When people live in a society, there are benefits to acting positively towards others and ramifications for acting negatively, regardless of any notions of a postmortem judgment. Stealing, lying, and certainly acting violently towards others results in negative social capital. Fostering positive relationships and acting kindly towards those with whom you share your community creates positive social capital. While there is no standard for how an atheist acts, this easily explains how an atheist can act kindly and thoughtfully.

Let’s examine the inverse of the question presented. What reasons do Christians have to behave kindly and thoughtfully towards others? Many would say that to live a life like Christ, one must act amicably towards others. Mark 12:31 instructs believers to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” but what motivation is there to heed this commandment? Eternal damnation in a lake of fire. Underlying all of Christianity’s messages of love and hope is the constant reminder that if you do not achieve salvation in their prescribed manner, you will burn for all of eternity. Atheists have no such fears to motivate their positive actions towards others.

Besides, when read without rose-colored glasses, one can find many examples where the Bible is a less than optimal source of moral guidance. With issues like slavery, incest, rape, torture, and murder being committed by individuals through the Bible (sometimes acting on direct orders from the Big Man), can we at least agree that times have changed and maybe the lessons put forth in this ancient text aren’t as applicable in modern society?