I started today’s blog last Thursday, but didn’t post it Friday as I wanted to really think about this topic. This may be long-winded, but I don’t think I can tell the story in 50 words or less. So here goes …
We’ve all heard, I think, about the National Day of Prayer. Former President Harry Truman declared a National Day of Prayer 59 years ago, and this year, May 6th is the day set aside for this observance.
This year’s event, scheduled to take place at the Pentagon and the Capitol, was being organized by a task force headed by Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family’s James Dobson. The Pentagon was working with Mrs. Dobson’s task force to broadcast the event worldwide. The invited speaker was to be Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham. I say “was to be” because the military has now “dis-invited” Graham. Why, you ask? The Military Religious Freedom Foundation received complaints from Muslim military personnel who are upset about Graham’s comments following 9/11 in which Graham stated “Islam is a very wicked and evil religion.” Graham has said, “he does not believe Muslims were evil because of their faith, but as ‘a minister, I believe it is my responsibility to speak out against the terrible deeds that are committed as a result of Islamic teaching.”
Are those who profess to be Muslims and commit acts of terrorism representative of all Muslims? Is Franklin Graham representative of all Christians?
Pastor Bill spoke yesterday of those times when we compromise. Of those lines that are crossed and we say nothing. After being notified that Franklin Graham was no longer to be the speaker, Mrs. Dobson’s group has decided not to participate in the Pentagon event. Mrs. Dobson says, “Enough is enough.”
Let me tell you a little story … which I may have told before, and if I have, please have patience with another retelling of the event. Linda S. and I both lost infants, both of whom were born in the old Copley Hospital in Aurora. For my Christmas present one year, she purchased a painting she then donated, in honor of our Becky and Brian, to the hospital with the understanding that the painting would be displayed on the maternity floor. Years later when the hospital was going to move into its new facility, Linda called to see if the painting was making the move, too, or if it wasn’t going to fit in with the new décor, if she might be able to have it back. Long story short, the painting turned up missing. We were told if we purchased another painting it most definitely would be displayed at the new hospital … in the Chapel. The President of the hospital even gave his approval. Imagine our surprise and our displeasure to be told by the Chaplain that the painting would not be displayed, because it was offensive. Some of you might have noticed that this painting now hangs just outside the Family Worship Room at Plymouth. The offensive painting depicts Jesus with two children and the verse “Let the little children come unto me.” We were told it was offensive because it was blatantly “Christian” and would be upsetting to their Muslim, Jewish and Catholic patients. Mind you, they had other symbols of other faiths in the chapel including an open Bible-type book (of what faith, I can’t recall). When I called the Chaplain’s attention to that fact, his response was “a person would actually have to make an effort to go up to the book to read it while our painting would be “obvious” – everyone could see it.”
I am not picking on the Muslim faith. I am, however, getting a little bit tired of Christians having to tolerate other religions while our faith keeps getting ignored. We no longer have Christmas parties or programs at schools because they’re “religious” in nature. Hello? Would there be a “Christmas” without Christ? Our kids learn of other religious celebrations in school, so why can’t they also learn about Christianity?
If the invited speaker to this event had been someone deemed “offensive” to those of the Christian faith, would there have been the same outcry, would the speaker have been uninvited in favor of a more suitable speaker?
Take a few minutes to read both articles covering this subject and let us know what you think …