Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Faith Line - Eboo Patel on Pluralists versus Totalitarians

This article by Eboo Patel at the "On Faith" forum at the Washington Post on-line hits the nail on the head:
Tim LaHaye’s endorsement of Mike Huckabee for President took the form of a battle cry.

“America and our Judeo-Christian heritage are under attack by a force that is more destructive than any America has faced (since Hitler) … Defeating the radical jihadists will require renewed resolve and spiritual rearmament by the evangelical pastors in America.”

Is Mr. LaHaye’s notion of America’s ‘Judeo-Christian heritage’ expansive enough to include the tens of millions of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Bahai’s, secular humanists and others who live here?


Like Mr. LaHaye, I believe the central challenge of the twenty-first century will be the question of the faith line. But in my view the faith line does not divide Muslims from Christians, or Jews from Hindus, or believers from nonbelievers.

I think the faith line divides pluralists from totalitarians.(emphasis added)

And who are these two groups?
Pluralists are people who want to build societies where people from different backgrounds live in equal dignity and mutual loyalty. Totalitarians are people who want only their group to dominate and everyone else to suffocate.

That is the divide. That is the challenge we face - do we embrace a new, even more sinister totalitarianism than any devised by Lenin, Stalin, Mao, or Hitler, or do we accept the differences among us as just that, seeing in others not a threat, but a challenge to learn and grow.

Do we stand ready to fight in a Clash of Civilizations? Or do we seek to learn from others something we may not have known otherwise?

Virtual Tin Cup

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