Friday, July 31, 2015

Interfaith Dialog 101 - Muslims and Evangelicals seek common ground.

 Interfaith Dialog 101 - Muslims and Evangelicals seek common ground. (CSMonitor).

Pastor Bob Roberts is a committed evangelical Christian, a barbeque-loving Texan, and head of a large conservative congregation just outside Dallas with an essential mission to plant new churches around the world.

So he’s the first to say that it’s sort of odd that his 30-year journey as an evangelical minister would lead him to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most prominent Muslim clerics in the world. He prays with them in their mosques, “breaks bread” with them, Texas-style, at his home, and has become one of the leading Christian ministers of any persuasion in what he calls the fight against Islamophobia.

“I never dreamed I’d ever do anything like that – I had no desire to,” says Pastor Roberts, head of the 3,000-member NorthWood Church in Keller. On Monday, he traveled to the White House with other religious leaders to be briefed on the situation of Christians in Iran and the recent nuclear deal. “You have to understand my background and how we view things like that... But right now the biggest challenge in fighting Islamophobia is my tribe – the Evangelicals.”

last week, Roberts joined Hassan’s organization and other Muslim advocacy groups to speak out sharply against the recent words of Franklin Graham, son of the evangelistic icon Billy Graham. On his Facebook page, the second-generation evangelist responded to the attacks on the nation’s military in Chattanooga, writing: “We are under attack by Muslims at home and abroad. We should stop all immigration of Muslims to the U.S. until this threat with Islam has been settled.”

At a press conference on July 23, Roberts expressed “disappointment” with Reverend Graham’s words, saying that religious freedom should be a value Americans fight for both locally and globally. “Standing up for the rights for Muslims to Worship impacts the rights of Christian to worship around the world, as well,” he said.

But Roberts had another reason to speak out. Three weeks ago, he traveled to Doha, Qatar, after helping to organize a meeting between Christian pastors and Muslim clerics. At the meeting, five American imams and five American pastors joined together with local Muslim clerics and seven Pakistani Christian ministers. They discussed the enmity that often exists between their faiths, and what they could do.

At the end of the meeting, these ministers made a pact: “We agreed that we would watch out for the Muslim minority here and deal with Islamophobia, and they said they would watch out for the Christian minority there. And so, that’s where the Franklin Graham statement came from. We had to respond to it.”Hmmmm......"There's a sucker born every minute" is a phrase most likely spoken by David Hannum, in criticism of both P. T. Barnum and his customers..

Read the full 'story' here.

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