Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pluralism and the Duke University Chapel

Sometimes the desire for pluralism goes a bit too far. This happened at Duke University recently. The school, which has a Wesleyan (Methodist) heritage, decided to allow a Muslim call to worship to be announced from speakers in the chapel bell tower on Fridays. This was done in the interest of “pluralism,” but because of numerous complaints, the university reversed its decision.

The chapel is an interfaith place of worship, so what’s the problem? There are a number of issues I have with Duke permitting a Muslim call to worship from its chapel.

(1) The chapel is not a mosque, and it is not appropriate to announce a Muslim call to worship from a building that is primarily Christian. Duke was, in essence, turning it into a mosque.

(2) Pluralism, whatever that means in the wacky world of political correctness, is already present in the university by its diversity, religious and otherwise. There’s no need to broadcast a Muslim call to worship that would be heard all over the campus in order to foster “pluralism.”

(3) The religion Duke wanted to elevate is the very religion that suppresses and oppresses women, persecutes and kills Christians, kidnaps children in Nigeria, and burns churches in Egypt and elsewhere. I know, I know, the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, you say, but remember, they are still free to practice their religion in the United States. All I’m saying is don’t convert a church into a mosque to accommodate a religion in whose name terrible things are done. It sends the wrong message.

(4) We should also remember that while Muslims are free to worship as they please here in the U.S., Christians and other religious minorities do not enjoy such freedoms in many Islamic countries. While we don’t want to stoop to that level in the United States, we don’t need to celebrate a religion that is essentially at war with Christians, Jews, and the West.

Don’t miss the meaning of that final point. We are at war with Islam whether we want to admit it or not. While it is a small segment of the Muslim population that commits terrorist acts, their radicalism is based on the Qur’an’s teachings, which most Muslims are familiar with. In one part of the Qur’an, it refers to Christians and Jews as “People of the Book” who should be treated with respect. However, in other parts the Qur’an suggests harsher treatments of these “infidels.” Those parts of the Qur’an seem to be the ones that Muslims pay attention to, not the “People of the Book” sections.

More about the spiritual aspects of this struggle in a future post. Also, more about pluralism and diversity in universities in a future post.

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