“All Muslims aren’t terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” A woman shouted these words into the camera in one of the many videos of Christian protests of Texas Muslim Capitol Day in Austin. During the over hour and a half event, Christians consistently shouted down Muslim speakers and at one point came close to assaulting some of the speakers. Muslim children from Texas were screamed at and told to return to their home country. If that wasn’t disgusting enough, Christian Texas Rep. Molly White posted on Facebook, “I did leave an Israeli flag on the reception desk in my office with instructions to staff to ask representatives from the Muslim community to renounce Islamic terrorist groups and publicly announce allegiance to America and our laws. We will see how long they stay in my office.” While there are some who might argue with my use of the word Christian to describe these protestors and Rep. White, I think it is important for fellow Christians to realize that this is a mess of our creation. Starting with our belief in an exclusionary God and our promotion of the idea that there are people who are damned for all of eternity, we have promoted theology that constructs a God that is identical to the Christian protestors. If we want to change the perception that people have of Christians, we have to promote theology that offers no quarter for those who believe God hates some people enough to send them to burn in hell for all eternity. If you need an idea of what a loving God looks like, look no further than the Muslim speakers who sought to love those Christians protestors that treated them with hate yesterday.
One of the speakers was Mustafaa Carroll, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Houston. Having no idea who he was, I first met Mustafaa about six months ago at an Iftar hosted by the Texas Muslim Democratic Caucus. I knew very few people at the event. While I was standing alone, Mustafaa came up to me and confirmed that I didn’t know many people at the event. I explained that I came at the invitation of my friend and that he was busy getting the event going. “So you really don’t have anyone to hang out with?” Mustafaa replied. “I guess not,” I replied. After the exchange, Mustafaa made sure I felt welcomed and engaged with everything that was going on for the rest of the night. I will never forget his kindness. I am thankful for his continued friendship. Yesterday at the Texas Muslim Capitol Day, a Christian protestor pushed Mustafaa and other speakers out of the way and spewed hate into their microphone (pictured above). When I saw the events transpire, my heart really hurt for my friend.
When I think about all that has happened over the last few days and consider that love is the core of what it means to be a Christian, I think that Texas Muslims are the real Christians.