Pastor Ed Stetzer arrogantly takes it upon himself to declare that “this is not really about burkinis,” ignoring the fact that France has collectively faced the trauma of deadly, unprecedented jihad attacks that shook its citizens, so that when the burkini was sported on beaches, they were rightly taken as an assertion of Islamic supremacism, and the ban followed.
Stetzer further states: “So, why do I, an evangelical Christian, who wants to see women (and men) liberated from the oppression that the burkini represents and set free in Christ, write the RNS article and now this post?” He answers his own loaded question that the burkini is about religious freedom. He particularly runs to the defense of Muslim women whom he does not want to see “forced to strip off some of their clothes on the beaches of France under the watchful eye of the police.” He continues to preach:
When Christians demand religious freedom for ourselves and do not speak up for others, we miss the teaching of Jesus, who said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).
Stetzer’s unsettling dismissal of the millions murdered, raped, beheaded, dismembered, and terrorized in the jihadist global war against infidels and apostates is worsened by his misuse of “Christian love” to mask the truth. Stetzer zeroes in on a contrived proposition of human rights which is in stark contrast with what female coverings under Islam really represent, an issue of clear interest to Iranian columnist Rita Panahi:
I wonder how women who fled countries that require them to cover up feel about local government encouraging women to wear hijabs?
It was only late last year when women in Iran were disfigured and blinded in acid attacks for daring to contravene the country’s strict hijab code.
Shouldn’t we stand with disempowered women in Islamic countries across the world instead of celebrating an instrument that is used in their suppression?
For many the hijab, along with the dehumanising niqab and burqa, are symbols of oppression not some national costume to be worn for kicks and giggles.
Somalian born author and activist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, describes Muslim headscarves as a means in which a deeply patriarchal culture oppresses women.
“The veil deliberately marks women as private and restricted property, non-persons,” she said.
If Stetzer wishes to further the cause of human rights for women under a banner of “Christian love,” he should learn to empathize with real victims. But there is something important to note about the author Ed Stelzer in analyzing his integrity and trustworthiness: Last year, Stelzer attended a “Spread Peace Convocation,” where he focused on “views of Islam in two studies, one of Americans and one of Protestant pastors.” During the event, Stetzer also denigrated Franklin Graham’s so-called negative characterization of Islam as being influential among Christians.
According to a report which described the event:
Ed Stetzer spoke at an interfaith gathering with Islamic extremists, including known aiders and abetters of international terrorism. Stetzer provided Southern Baptist-owned Lifeway data to assist the Muslims in “learning how to relate” to evangelicals and how to “build bridges” with other faiths. Speaking with Stetzer at the ironically-themed “Spreading Peace Convocation” was Obama’s spiritual advisor, Joel Hunter, radical sheik Hamsa Yusef, cop-killer supporting Muslim and friend of Anwar Awlaki, Suhaib Webb. Stetzer was paid to hand over the Southern Baptist intellectual property to the Islamic extremists.
“Why Burkinis Should Matter To Christians Who Care About Religious Freedom”, by Ed Stetzer, Christianity Today, August 31, 2016:
Yesterday I wrote an article for Religion News Service about women and burkinis. But, it was not really about women and burkinis. It was about secularism and its march.
Before you go much further, click here and see this picture at the New York Times. It’s of the French police making a woman take off more clothes to stay on a beach.
So, this is not really about burkinis, but it is about the right of religious people to live out the implications of their beliefs, even in the face of the secular march of the Western world.
I’ve written on that before, talking about religions freedom in an earlier RNS column.
In “3 reasons Christians should back religious freedom for all,” I explained:
- The First Amendment does not protect certain faiths, but all faiths, and people of no faith.
- Minority faiths, like minority viewpoints, are the ones who need the most protection.
- When those of us who identify as Christians allow the government to pick whose freedoms are recognized, we undermine our own religious liberties.
So, why do I, an evangelical Christian, who wants to see women (and men) liberated from the oppression that the burkini represents and set free in Christ, write the RNS article and now this post? As I state in the RNS article, because of religious liberty.
If we don’t speak out, Muslims in France will not be the only ones stripped of their religious liberty. We can’t stand idly by today because it is not “our” religious liberty that is being trampled upon. Next time, as secularism continues its march across the West, it very well might be us.
Religious liberty for some soon means religious liberty for none.
I don’t want Muslim women forced to strip off some of their clothes on the beaches of France under the watchful eye of the police.
Or Catholic adoption agencies stripped of their participation in Massachusetts’ adoption system because of their views of marriage.
Or a baker stripped of her business because she did not want to participate in a wedding with which she disagrees.
Around the world, nations often deny religious freedom. We need to show the world a better way—the one our Founding Fathers laid forth. When Christians demand religious freedom for ourselves and do not speak up for others, we miss the teaching of Jesus, who said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).
These religion liberties continue to surface in the Western world, most recently in California where Christian colleges were threatened (see my article on an earlier version of the bill), but then the lawmaker relented and the bill was changed.
These issues keep surfacing because religious liberty always needs defending, even when it is not our own…