confronting intolerance

How do you respond to lies and bigotry?

Today I received a troubling email from my uncle. You may have seen it, it’s the one spreading lies calling Barak Obama a radical Muslim.

This is wrong on so many levels:

1. Barak Obama is not Muslim. The email is full of fabrications.

2. The dream of the United States is one of religious freedom, not religious intolerance

3. There is nothing wrong with being a Muslim

So, how to respond?

You can read my response below. I tried to touch on common themes, especially Biblical teachings,  to create a common ground and a basis to reject the bigotry.

I confess, it’s a bit snappish, and it does nothing to defend Islam as a religion. Anyone have other suggestions for how I could have responded?


This email says:

> We checked this out on “”. It is factual. Check for yourself.

Well, according to, this email is false. Here’s the link:

After reading that, it might be good to read Exodus 20:16, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

Dr. Martin Luther said: “I’d rather be ruled by a competent turk, than an incompetent Christian.”

Remember, when Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan, there was considerable tension between his Jewish audience and the rival Samaritan religious community (

Therefore, when Jesus extolled the virtue of the Good Samaritan, he was teaching the goodness and mercy can come from people of all faiths and backgrounds. Jesus himself taught that people of all faiths and backgrounds are our neighbors.

Senator Obama is a baptized Christian in the United Church of Christ. He writes and speaks beautifully of his faith. (see below). The Apostle Paul taught that we are “one body in Christ” and nobody can say “Christ is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. In that spirit, it is unseemly for those of us who follow the life and teaching of Jesus to denigrate the faith of our fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Yes, there are other Christians with whom I disagree vehemently regarding faith and politics, but I will not betray the body of Christ to demean their faith or spread mistruths about them.

Check the facts. Reject religious intolerance.


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