Last week a letter was delivered – anonymously, secretly, under cover of dark – to the Islamic Center of Des Moines. The letter was filled with hateful speech and threats. The Des Moines Register has reported on the content, and I will not give it space here. It is enough to say that any Christian should be outraged and grieved by such an attack. It is cowardly; it is of the darkness of the human heart, it is contrary to a faith rooted in the grace, mercy, peace and justice of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
There are many people who see all Muslim’s as potential terrorists and live in fear (fear is the root of hate, not love or courage). The perception is misguided. No one who is a serious follower of Jesus would wish to be defined by the Ku Klux Klan (who claim to be a Christian organization), or by the shameful acts of radical “Christians” who led the Inquisition, supported the Holocaust, and drank the Kool-Aid at Jonestown. Jesus said “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:12). We should then never ascribe to all Muslims the acts of the fanatical or the misuse of faith to justify politics and violence.
I have written to the Islamic Center on behalf of the congregation to express our support and concern. Muslim brothers and sisters are “children of Abraham” and “people of the book” – we share this in common. We must act accordingly for the sake of our faith and the sake of the world. Here is my letter to our friends:
As-Salamu Alaykum, our dear neighbors,
On behalf of the whole congregation of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Ankeny, I wish to express our solidarity and support for you in the face of recent hate mail you received. Through whatever differences we may have, we are children of Abraham and called to be a blessing to each other and the world. We desire to be your brothers and sisters in this world; to work together for the good of humanity; for peace and justice; for understanding and reconciliation.
We will be offering prayers for you in our worship. We offer our aid in any other way that you might need.Please be assured that such hatred is not held in our hearts and that such acts are not acceptable among us.
May God’s peace and love be yours.
Pastor Timothy Olson
2017 Timothy V. Olson. All rights reserved.