I’ve previously blogged about parents in Georgia freaking out because their children learn in public schools some basic facts about Islam in their social studies classes. I’ve also written about how the Georgia Department of Education has apparently caved to these bigots’ demands to change the curriculum to preserve their ignorance.
The point which seems to bring about the most horror is that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God. One of the Christian Right’s leading legal organizations, the American Center for Law and Justice, has already published two terrifying articles on its web site about the indoctrination of children into the religion of Islam.
Both articles practically convulse in horror and disgust at the statement that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same deity:
Some schools in Georgia reportedly went as far as to tell students that Allah is the same God worshipped by Christians.
Amer Zahr has written a pretty good article that should set this factual matter to rest. Here’s a couple of other tidbits to support Amer’s article.
This is a picture of an inscription in a Christian church in Egypt. The inscription includes the word Allah. Here’s another pic from a church in Cairo which shows the inscribed word Allah. The Pope of the Coptic Church, Baba Tawadros, spoke in Atlanta, Georgia, United States this week, praising the nuns at the local monastery for “serving Allah.” In September, Baba Tawadros said that the Nile River was a “blessing of Allah.” Do you wonder if the Pope was misquoted in the news articles I cited? Here’s a video recording of a sermon dated August 19, 2015. The first words from his mouth are bismillah (in the name of God.)
Yes, indeed, Jews, Christians and Muslims do worship the same deity.
Yet I realized there are at least two reasons Christian dominionists and others fear their children learn this basic fact, and I hope I can put their minds at ease regarding at least one.
The first reason is that simple knowledge that non-Christians in the world share (positive) traits in common with Christians undermines their attempt to indoctrinate their own children into Christianity as the only ethical path in life. Since I believe public schools exist to enable students to learn facts and not establish Christianity or any other religion, I suggest parents who find this troubling to enroll their children into the private Christian school of their choice or home school them into their brand of ignorance.
The second reason is that these people want to do nasty things to Muslims and People Mistaken for Muslims (PiMMs), and they are worried that knowing anything about Muslims that doesn’t make them seem as world-class trained ninjas for evil will make doing these nasty things harder. Knowing some history, I can help with this!
Since most of these parents don’t seem to have a problem believing that Jews and Christians worship the same God, I should remind them that less than 80 years ago European Christians rounded up millions of Jews, took their properties, enslaved them and killed them when they could no longer work. Having the same deity didn’t prevent genocide. Yippee!
Nor did worshiping the same God prevent various denominations of Christians from fighting nominally religious wars through much of European history.
Of course, one can completely ignore religious commonalities and do nasty things to others. For example, the United States enforced racial chattel slavery on peoples of African descent, even though most were Christian. Later, it enforced racially-based apartheid. Today, institutions such as the criminal justice system perpetuate racial hierarchy. Yet, most blacks in the USA remain Christian. With the Monroe Doctrine, the United States decided that the Americas were its special sphere of influence and military intervened numerous times, directly killing rebellious Americans sometimes, but more frequently supporting puppet regimes which served United States corporate interests. Of course, most peoples in the Americas are Christian. When children flee terrible conditions in Central America, the United States imprisons them in detention facilities, despite the fact that their families are Christian. Many Christians in the United States don’t want to provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, despite the majority of them being Christian.
Looking at personal crimes such as murder, assault and rape, since most perpetrators choose victims who are either family members or neighbors, whom we can assume to share religion with the perpetrators, we can again happily cease worrying that we need to distort Muslims’ religious beliefs to do violence to them!
I hope that I’ve convinced you that you don’t have to oppose the fact that Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same deity just to make yourself feel better about the nasty things you want to do or you want your government to do to Muslims. Just make peace with your human-rights-disregarding self and run with it!
Updated October 12, 2015. Maureen Dowd, the education reporter/columnist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, wrote an introduction to a convincing editorial on October 2 on error of those opposing teaching about Islam in public schools. The editorial’s author is Linda Wertheimer, the author of Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Intolerance. Here’s her website.
Updated January 14, 2016, another column by Linda Wertheimer.