Brian McLaren: Anti-Evangelical Hysteric

Brian McLaren took his “thank you, Lord, that I am not like other evangelicals” routine to CNN this week. In a post artfully titled, “It’s time for Islamophobic evangelicals to choose,” he writes:

I was raised as an evangelical Christian in America, and any discussion of Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations around the world must include the phenomenon of American Islamophobia, for which large sectors of evangelical Christianity in America serve as a greenhouse.

At a time when U.S. embassies are being attacked and when people are getting killed over an offensive, adolescent and puerile film targeting Islam – beyond pathetic in its tawdriness – we must begin to own up to the reality of evangelical Islamaphobia [sic].

The film in question was made by a Coptic Orthodox Christian, and has been supported by a cultist. I’m not sure what it has to do with evangelicalism, but McLaren will make any leap of logic or evience, no matter how ridiculous, to bash his erstwhile brethren.

Many of my own relatives receive and forward pious-sounding and alarm-bell-ringing e-mails that trumpet (IN LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!) the evils of Islam, that call their fellow evangelicals and charismatics to prayer and “spiritual warfare” against those alleged evils, and that often – truth be told – contain lots of downright lies.

Many of his own relatives—well, if that’s the case, I can see why he’d want to tar “large sectors” of American evangelicalism with his broad brush, especially in connection with—gasp!—emails. Reminds me that I need to write that post declaring the entire nation of Nigeria an Internet scam.

For example, one recent e-mail claimed “Egyptian Christians in Grave Danger as Muslim Brotherhood Crucifies Opponents.”  Of course, that claim has been thoroughly debunked, but the sender’s website still (as of Friday) claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has “crucified those opposing” Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy “naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others.”

The specifics have been debunked, but are Copts persecuted in Egypt? Are they killed? Imprisoned without cause? Have their homes and churches destroyed? Their children forced to convert to Islam under threat of their lives? From McLaren’s post, you’d never know that any of that was happening, but he does reject those fallacious emails, by George.

Janet Parshall, for example, a popular talk show host on the Moody Radio Network, frequently hosts Walid Shoebat, a Muslim-evangelical convert whose anti-Muslim claims, along with claims about his own biography, are frequently questioned.  John Hagee, a popular televangelist, also hosts Shoebat as an expert on Islam, as does the 700 Club.

It is true that some of Shoebat’s claims have been questioned. Disproved, I’m not sure about. But in any case, he’s one guy. Does an occasional interview with Walid Shoebat really qualify one as an Islamophobe?

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