Pennsylvania Church Harassed After Wishing Muslims A Blessed Ramadan

636017790693237889-YDR-sub-061716-ramadan-signIn a true sign of our times, a Pennsylvania church and its pastor in Dallastown have been harassed after a message was added to the church sign wishing neighboring Muslims a “blessed Ramadan.” Trump supporter Matthew Jansen, an elected delegate to the Republican National Convention, is one of the irate people who called to denounce Rev. Christopher Rodkey and St. Paul’s United Church of Christ. So a demonstration of tolerance and civility became a rallying cry of religious hatred.

The church has been inundated with hang up calls and Jansen left a voicemail that called Rev. Rodkey “godless” and the sign “despicable” for simply wishing Muslim neighbors a happy holiday. Jansen said “It is unbelievable that … you would wish them a blessed Ramadan.” Well, it is really not that unbelievable for most people who value neighborly kindness and acceptance.

Jansen said later that he had driven past the church many times and has seen “disturbing things” on its sign. However, this one in his view “was over the top as far, as I was concerned.” He added “I don’t see Islam — or the Muslim belief — I don’t see it as legit.” Of course, that attitude puts him in the same intolerant mindset of some Islamic extremist groups that reject the faith of others (here and here and here). While Jansen did not threaten anyone, his response captures the rising intolerance and prejudice against Muslims in the country. The positive element of course remains this pastor and this church which took an opportunity to reach out to their neighbors on their common element of faith.

37 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Church Harassed After Wishing Muslims A Blessed Ramadan”

  1. I wish more churches were like this church.

    There is an interesting book, “losing my religion” by William Lobdell. He lost his christian faith after reporting on Christianity on the religion beat. Many Christians don’t realize how their own hate and intolerance, violence and cruelty is not exactly a shinning light to the world.

    This church is doing good things and I hope they keep it up!

  2. On the one hand, I don’t have any problem with a Church wishing other denominations joy in their own religious holidays. It’s like my Jewish friends wishing me a Merry Christmas, while I wish them Happy Chanukah. (Which I cannot spell.) So happy ramadan.

    But as for the push back on moral relativity, and how all faiths are just as bad when one misbehaves, I have this to say. All faiths reflect the actions of the members, which reflect the framework of the society in which they lived. We are all the same species, with the same genetic predisposition for good and bad. It is society and religion that either restrain or encourage those predispositions. The Aztecs engaged in human sacrifice, because they did not value individual rights and had a decidedly skewed position on the sanctity of human life. The Crusades are often listed as how Christianity was just as bad as Islam in terms of warfare. However, do people understand that Spain alone fought more than 200 battles against Muslim invaders? Perhaps they no longer show a map of all the battles that took place during the Muslim Expansion in history class. Because it is sobering. The Muslim Expansion put everywhere within reach to the sword to try to forcibly convert everyone to Islam. It swept over the entire Middle East and Northern Africa. Islands were just overrun. Italy was hit hard. They enslaved Christians and other faiths, and pillaged everywhere. The Mongols, apparently, gave them a hard stop at the border of China. They were successful taking France for a while, and all that lovey Moorish architecture in Portugal and Spain is from their occupation. The Reconquista finally drove them out. If not for the Crusades, our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters would be thrown off of buildings here, there would be no women’s rights movement, and all us ladies would at the very least have to wear hijab. And the number of Crusade battles is laughingly small compared to the number of battles of the Muslim Expansion that conquered all of the Middle East, North Africa, and hammered Europe for hundreds of years. And that’s not even taking into account the Barbary pirate slavers, who kidnapped European Christians and sold them into slavery in the ME.

    The very existence of a free West, with our Western values, is why moderate Muslims have the freedom to live in peace and coexist tranquilly with other religions. Extremists have taken over the ME. (See Saudi Arabia, etc.) Turkey had a good run after Ataturk, but Erdogan has seen that reversed. And the Shah was making headway before we managed to help screw that up. Even Saudi Arabia, though ruled by hedonistic royal men, has a strict, hardline take on religion, and no Jew is allowed to set foot in the country.

    Everyone can live here and enjoy Western freedom, prosperity, and individual rights. We all know what happens to moderates and critics of extremism in the ME. (See all the articles on imprisonment or murder of apostates, anyone who criticizes religion, or the government.) Because we pushed back the Muslim Expansion of extremism, modern, moderate Muslims have a place to go where they will not be persecuted. Where they can interpret their religion any way they please within our laws. And no imam or government official can force them to follow any extremist form of religion. I still have hope that moderates will reform extremist Islamic governments from within, and we won’t have any more barbarism like murdering gays or mob killings of women for supposedly insulting the Prophet. But they are severely outnumbered and outgunned. Here in the West, we have places like Dearborn, where moderate Muslims are as American a apple pie. So it is the existence of the free West that allows moderate Muslims a place to live in peace, and the West exists because of the Crusades. I suppose the closest analogy would be if an entire continent was controlled by the Puritans, if they were more warlike, and the moderate Christians needed a place to live in freedom from the Puritans.

    I hope one day, moderates will prevail and people around the globe will have strong individual rights and freedoms, regardless of their religion of lack thereof. It’s the loss of individual rights that allowed extremists so much control over the population when they controlled the governments of the ME.

  3. KCF,

    A lot went on in the 1990’s when Bill Clinton was in office.

    Worldwide U.S. Embassy bombings, USS Cole suicide attack, 1993 WTC bombing and a bunch of guys from Saudi Arabia learning how to fly air planes, but not take off or land on student visas.

  4. “Each era provides a different radicalized bigot functioning as the self-serving slaughterer.

    This appears to me a curious and badly mistaken view of history.
    Any references to back up this theory?

    For example, what ‘radicalized bigot functioning as the self-serving slaughterer’ was at work in the US in the 1970s?
    What slaughter was taking place, and what slaughterer?
    What about 1950s in Britain?
    1850s China?
    Rome 200 AD?

  5. “the fallacy of religious bigotry

    How is it a ‘fallacy’?
    What failure in reasoning is shown that renders my argument invalid?
    Be explicit, and show your work.

    “radicalized bigot
    You must mean the Anti-Christian left, which is simply the other side of the Anti-Christian Muslim coin.

  6. KCFlemingisms reflect the fallacy of religious bigotry. Each era provides a different radicalized bigot functioning as the self-serving slaughterer. But that’s politics as usual. Eh, KCFleming?

  7. 1. Not in any numbers like Muslims, no.
    Jihad Report Jun 11, 2016 -Jun 17, 2016
    Attacks 51
    Killed 427
    Injured 288
    Suicide Blasts 9
    Countries 16

    2. Not in numbers greater than atheists or agnostics.

    3. “Religious issues motivate only a small minority of recorded wars. The Encyclopedia of Wars surveyed 1,763 violent conflicts across history; only 123 (7 percent) were religious. A BBC-sponsored “God and War” audit, which evaluated major conflicts over 3,500 years and rated them on a 0-to-5 scale for religious motivation (Punic Wars = 0, Crusades = 5), found that more than 60 percent had no religious motivation. Less than 7 percent earned a rating greater than 3.

  8. Check your history KC, radical christian fundamentalists don’t kill?

  9. There is absolutely no fairy tale that can be imagined that is any more valid than another. In one a pedophile-the only way to god-rides a horse to heaven and dozens of virgins, or perhaps vegans, depending on the mode. In another a guy walks on water and rises from the dead, etc.

    What is obvious is that the essence of all these fables is to teach and control society, to keep people from killing each other as well as to justify killing others, and sometimes each other. As a comfort, religion has its uses. As anything more it is dangerous. If a person needs to understand common sense through fables and far fetched explanations or mysteries, then they are a potential tool to be wielded for bad as well as good. Time to move on to the basics. Let’s pick it up in Greece 2500 years ago.

  10. You’ve been warned: June 9th. U.S. gov’t warns of ISIS violence during Ramadan

    The State Department is urging Americans abroad to stay vigilant amid ISIS calls for a wave of lone-wolf attacks during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan.

    In a report from the State Department-led Overseas Security Advisory Council warning that “martyrdom during the month may hold a special allure to some,” security officials urged U.S. organizations around the globe to “remain aware of the persistent threat of (ISIS) attacks, both inspired and directed,” .

  11. Belief, Faith, and other such words describe the mindset of those who believe in some religion. Let them learn science. Scientology would be a good first step out of the sewer.
    Oh, my wife says I am wrong– that Scientology is some sort of Faith based thing.
    Ok, a ladder would be a good first step out of the sewer.

  12. “Where God Went Wrong”, “Some More of God’s Greatest Mistakes” and “Who is this God Person Anyway?” – Oolon Colluphid.

  13. Are there any mosques with messages of support for Christians?
    Are there any mosques with messages of support for the Orlando murdered?

  14. Important background:
    The United Church of Christ has a history of being exhaustively liberal over the years, ordaining first women and then LGBTQ people as ministers, and denying the infallibility of the Bible.
    So not surprisingly,

    “UCC is hemorrhaging members…[according to an internal report predicting an 80 percent decline in membership by 2045.

    According to The United Church of Christ: a Statistical Profile (Fall 2015), the denomination had last year 5,116 congregations and a U.S. membership of 943,521 persons. Founded in 1957 as a merger of the Congregational-Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church, the United Church of Christ has lost more than half of its membership in the intervening years.

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