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September 1, 2009

Obama's Ramadan Dinner

Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter attended President Obama's Ramadan dinner tonight, another instance of an evangelical commemorating the Muslim holy month.

Brian McLaren is fasting in observance of Ramadan. However, Hunter, who has reached out to Muslims in the Orlando area in the past, attended due to his role on the faith-based office's advisory council. Ramadan commemorates the month during which Muslims believe the Quran was revealed to Mohammed.

Portions of Obama's remarks from t he dinner can be found after the jump.

(As provided by the White House)

Indeed, the contribution of Muslims to the United States are too long to catalog because Muslims are so interwoven into the fabric of our communities and our country. American Muslims are successful in business and entertainment; in the arts and athletics; in science and in medicine. Above all, they are successful parents, good neighbors, and active citizens.

...One of those values is the freedom to practice your religion -- a right that is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

...Of course, we know that when it comes to athletes who have inspired America, any list would include the man known simply as The Greatest. And while Muhammad Ali could not join us tonight, it is worth reflecting upon his remarkable contributions, as he's grown from an unmatched fighter in the ring to a man of quiet dignity and grace who continues to fight for what he believes -- and that includes the notion that people of all faiths holds things in common. I love this quote. A few years ago, he explained this view -- and this is part of why he's The Greatest -- saying, "Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams -- they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do -- they all contain truths."

They all contain truths. Among those truths are the pursuit of peace and the dignity of all human beings.

...So tonight, we celebrate a great religion, and its commitment to justice and progress. We honor the contributions of America's Muslims, and the positive example that so many of them set through their own lives. And we rededicate ourselves to the work of building a better and more hopeful world.

Comments

How strange that all the comments above are bollixed up....

My only comment: Joel Hunter doesn't just lead a Florida megachurch, Joel Hunter is a Florida megachurch???

We love our neighbors of all faiths -- Muslims, Hindus, atheists, whatever. Paul gave us freedom to eat or not eat meat offered to (demonic) idols, as conscience permits. That doesn't mean, however, that leaders of Christ's church should make a point of practicing the religious fasts and rituals of other religions. Honestly, I'm torn by this article. If a Muslim friend invited me to a dinner that included religious elements, I would go and not ask questions for conscience sake (1Cor 10:25). I would love and care for my neighbor with the love of Christ.

On the other hand, Paul warns us not to fellowship at the table of demons (1Cor 10:21). The danger is that we give a false impression of a UNITY that doesn't exist. Christians bow the knee to a God who is a Trinity, and whose divine/human Son redeemed the world through his Cross. Muslims call that blasphemy. How can we show unity when unity doesn't exist?

While I have no issue with reaching out to Muslims, I do find it highly unfortunate that President Obama could not make time to attend the national day of prayer, yet he was able to find time to celebrate Ramadan.

So how then do you account for American Evangelical Christians current close relationship with Catholics and the Republican party?

Last time I checked catholics still worship Mary and have several heretical practices.

And the Republican party is as vile as any other.

Ah but I forget, I guess as long as anyone comes out against abortion and homosexuality - they are Christian, huh? And to be welcomed into the fold, huh?

"Ah but I forget, I guess as long as anyone comes out against abortion and homosexuality - they are Christian, huh? And to be welcomed into the fold, huh?"

Good questions, Justin! One need not be a Christian to recognize that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life. The former abortion provider Dr. Bernard Nathanson was an atheist who eventually became a pro-life activist after the development of ultrasound convinced him that the unborn fetus is a human life.

In addition, there have been atheists and non-Christians who have come out against homosexuality, including Ayn Rand if I'm not mistaken. While I may not agree that the Bible condones homosexual activity, I would never consider anyone who is cruel to homosexuals (such as Fred Phelps) to be a true follower of Christ.

I wonder if Obama is going to observe Rosh Hashanna on the 18th with the Jews. I, for one, was extremely disappointed that he did not observe the National Day of Prayer.

Christians should not be surprised that America is dying. It has been dying for 100 years as we have collectively honored the one true God less and less. President Obama, in honoring Islam, is bringing God's judgement on himself and this country. The intelligent thing to do in his position would be to remain silent on religion altogether. He is not doing good this country any good by perpetuating lies.

Obama's quote about all religions containing truth mirrors his progressive view of religion, that all religions are good insofar as they lead to progressive notions on peace, human dignity, justice, etc. This totally ignores the fact that religions are often neutral or against progressivism; a glance at the Bible and Koran both make this obvious. So Obama yet again shows his Christianity is more based in progressivism than the teachings of the Bible alone.


And Gregory, you're out of line bashing the Dobsons. They're not perfect, but they're not "notorious bigots" and Focus on the Family is by and large a force for good; anyone who looks at the breadth and depth of their work knows that. It's a damned shame that just because James Dobson speaks his mind on Same-Sex Marriage, he's the target of so many vicious and unmerited attacks. The worse shame is that so many Christians stand aside and let the attacks stand because they are afraid of receiving the same criticism. Well, somebody has to say something.

Gregory, care to share any Specific points on the FoF website that are racist? Who are the scapegoats, and how are they scapegoated?
Being socially conservative in and of itself does not make him guilty of racism.

In regards to those parts of the president's speech carried in Ms. Pulliam's article I agree wholeheartedly with the president when he reiterates such platitudes as ..."the freedom to practice your religion"; and the "pursuit of peace and the dignity of all human beings" being values cherished by all religions.

I respectfully differ with the president in his effusion over the words "Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams -- they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do -- they all contain truths."

If the above is supposed to mean, essentially, that all roads lead to "God" then I must part company with him and all who believe it, because that does not hold any water. Because if all roads led to God then it would not matter if I tried to get you to walk on my road, would it?

In almost all moslem countries however, it is a sin as well as a crime to convert from Islam to any other religion, particularly Christianity. Why would that matter if all roads led to God? I could walk your road, and you could walk my road, since in the end we would both reach the same destination.

The fact of the matter is that as nice as the "all roads" theory sounds, no self-respecting religion really believes it to be true. The three major religions, Jews, Christians, Moslems are all exclusive religions with seperate and distinct roads to salvation. This is an indisputable and incontrovertible fact.

The other area in which I part company with the president is on the issue of "peace and human dignity". It seems to me that the president is looking at Islam through rose-coloured spectacles, spectacles he seems to discard when dealing with Christianity.

As far as I am aware, and someone who knows better may correct me, in Islam "peace" always comes at a price. So does "human dignity". The president says, all religions are after peace, I have no doubt about that; but my question is through what means and at what price?

The president, in my opinion, needs to ask a tiny bit more from moslems. He needs to ask them to practice in their territories some of the "freedoms" they take for granted and clamour so strongly for in the USA and Europe. He ought to ask them to extend freedom to other religions to practice and propagate their faith the same way they can in the West. They ought to allow other religions to build churches like they do.

Moslems in the West ask for and receive all manner of concessions; then they ask for more. Could not the president kindly ask the leaders of moslem countries, who all regard him highly, to treat US and Western citizens with the same "dignity" he is constantly dishing out to them?

I am also asking him not to take sides in religion, as it appears he is doing, but to use the goodwill he has with the Islamic world to put in a good word for other religions.

However, I suspect the president will not be open to this suggestion since he is on record as saying that the USA is not a Christian country. That must have gladdened the heart of all the moslem faithful, who I am positive have no doubt what the religion of their countries is.

It must seems to the ummah that religion in the USA under the current president is up for grabs. The brother may have started to believe, and who can blame them, what with the president and some evangelical leaders celebarting Ramadan, that they are probably best placed to grab it?


I wouldn't call FoF racist but they are frequently inappropriate. Last years letter describing in detail the future they predicted if Obama was elected was an example (it predicted the nuclear destruction of several US cities, making home schooling illegal, shutting down Christian radio and boy scouts, etc.)
http://www.wnd.com/files/Focusletter.pdf

Collen Gast

Oh dear heavens!!!!!!!! You watch Glen Beck - and expect to feel like a Christian?!?!?!?! Are you kidding me?!?!?!

Clearly your feeling of doom and gloom is because you have been spending too much time on things that are not spiritually edifying. And not enough with the Master.

This is also brought out in your slandering of our president. Like it or not God put him there and you've just slandered him and bore false witness to his character. You've sinned and according to the bible you had better repent.


Doesn't your church teach you to only fill your mind with things that are good. I know that's what my bible teaches.

Here's a solution for you:

Immediately stop watching Glen Beck and that crap and search the word of God. You'll be amazed at how much of a Christian you start feeling. And even if you don't feel like one- well they are just feelings - let the Holy Spirit do His work in you.

But He can't do it if you are so caught up with Glen Beck and that nonsense.

Steve, Obama's speech in Cairo earlier this year did many of the things you asked for. As to whether the US is a Christian country, I would agree that it is not. In many countries that we view as Muslim, it is illegal to be Christian or convert to Christian. That is not something that I think we should emulate. So we do not have a state religion (which is what I it would take to be a Christian nation.)

So are we suppose to defend Dobson solely because he comes out against same sex marriages?

I'm afraid I'm going to need more than that.

I'm always somewhat concerned about people who are so focused on this one topic exclusive of all else, As Mr. Dobson and another poster seems to be. It borders on either the pathological or such persons have things in their closets...

And while we are at it - it is not ok to criticize Mr. Dobson, but it is ok to vilify and slander the president, huh?

=====================================================
Brendan stated"...And Gregory, you're out of line bashing the Dobsons. They're not perfect, but they're not "notorious bigots" and Focus on the Family is by and large a force for good; anyone who looks at the breadth and depth of their work knows that. It's a damned shame that just because James Dobson speaks his mind on Same-Sex Marriage, he's the target of so many vicious and unmerited attacks. The worse shame is that so many Christians stand aside and let the attacks stand because they are afraid of receiving the same criticism. Well, somebody has to say something.

But Julie that is my point

From what I can see of postings here and other blogs.

Certain sect of the Christian community give a pass to anyone and anything as long as you come out against homosexuality and abortion.

But while we are fighting for the unborn - who fights for the born once they get here? Or are they no longer important?

Who fights for the children who have been brought into this world and are now abused in every which way possible?

Who fights for the widows and orphans and the poor?

Who fights for the broken homes and families that have been placed on the alter of a man's lust?

I look around and I see people like Mr. Dobson spending his energy on gay people, while adultery and divorce among Christians are skyrocketing. Not to mention the non Christian population! I know of at least one website that caters to married people who want to cheat on their spouses! Where is the railing against this?

I look around and even pastors who are supposed to be the shepherds, are themselves caught up in this mess. And we turn a blind eye to it.

And we turn a blind eye, because apparently God has said only same sex marriage and abortion are the things that will destroy our nation and determine who is or isn't His child.

I was agreeing with you, Justin. I was trying to say that being pro-life or against gay marriage does not necessarily make one a Christian. And by the way, I don't like James Dobson and never even mentioned him, so I'm not sure why you brought him up. Perhaps you just like to argue, even with someone who is agreeing with you. Sigh...

Justin, re your comments that:
>

You've got it upside-down: I defended Dobson because he is attacked by some people who are obsessed with same-sex marriage, when he does all sorts of other good work; I defended him precisely because I care more about his other work, because I do not think that one issue is the end-all-be-all. And if you're going to call me borderline pathological or hypocritical, at least call me out by name directly instead of implying it in a note at the end of the post.

re your comments that:
>

First, I think it's perfectly healthy to criticize Dr. Dobson when appropriate, just not when it becomes a single-issue fount of unbalanced vitriol.
Second, where have I vilified and slandered the president? I reject slander, including but not limited to false claims that he is a Muslim (he is a Christian), a communist (he is a liberal democrat), and a non-native born citizen (he was born in Hawaii).
Can we agree to keep personal criticisms based on what a person actually says?

whoops- my responses were to justin's comments as follows. First:
"So are we suppose to defend Dobson solely because he comes out against same sex marriages? ... I'm always somewhat concerned about people who are so focused on this one topic exclusive of all else, As Mr. Dobson and another poster seems to be. It borders on either the pathological or such persons have things in their closets..."
-
justin's second comment:
"And while we are at it - it is not ok to criticize Mr. Dobson, but it is ok to vilify and slander the president, huh?"
-
and I agree with Adam S that FoF is often inappropriate, but the point stands that they do a lot of good in many, many realms.

justin, I totally, 100% agree with you that many Christians focus way, way too much on homosexuality and abortion and miss out on the holistic call of the Gospel. The poor, the widow, the orphan, the alien, the abused, the most vulnerable people in our society - these are the people who pro-choice, proudly liberal Ted Kennedy defended when many conservative Christians were silent. Indeed, today it is common even for those who claim to love Jesus to hate their brothers and, in so doing, hate God.
FoF has much work to do to emulate groups like Sojourners and Plowshares in embracing a much larger God and Gospel than they have hitherto done; I myself have much to do. And Christians need to hear your perspective on this.
But at the same time I have to defend Dobson for the good work he and FoF have done over the years, from their outstanding Adventures in Odyssey program to serious family counseling. Just as you would not have us see the sins of a great man like Ted Kennedy eclipse his work for the poor, I would not have you miss the great work of James Dobson because of a focus on same-sex marriage and abortion.

Brendan

Perhaps Dr. Dobson has focused on other things that are family related - and I truly hope so. However my exeperience of him from radio programs and being on the organizations's mailing list was a concentration of stopping the red tide of gays who are trying to steal our children.

I literally do not recall hearing him ever make one statement concerning divorce or adultery

The USA is not a Christian country.And as a Christian I find theocracies quite scary.

Freedom to practice the religion of your choice is in my opinion the right choice of how a country should be constructed.

Julie

Sorry for not wording my post better. I wasn't actually arguing with your agreement. My apologies if that's how it was taken.

I was attempting to further point out the inconsistencies that trouble me with some of my Christian brethen.

For Justin

You write:'Last time I checked catholics still worship Mary '

I will be glad if you could tell where you 'checked' (Catechismm teaching of the popes...)....

It would be very sad and anti biblical to slander your neighbor...

Ben

Per Webster ~ worship~

1.Reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.

2. Adoring reverence or regard: excessive worship.

http://www.catholic-pages.com/dir/coredemptrix.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blessed_Virgin_Mary

gregory,
Briefly: the racist quotations you mentioned superficially resemble FotF's headline, but they also resemble many activist groups' headlines against "commies" or "fascists" or the like, and so show no substantive link between the two.
Also, Dr. Dobson's opposition to same-sex marriage is fundamentally different from racism. First, he opposes homosex, because 1) the Bible consistently says it's wrong (whereas the Bible encourages racial equality), and 2) sexual behavior is a willful, moral choice (race isn't). Since same-sex marriage conveys moral blessing to homosex, Dr. Dobson opposes it.

As for equating the Civil Rights movements to the Gay Rights movement, I think the overwhelming majority of African-Americans would beg to differ on that.

So now we have a president who went to the American people as a Christian. Yet he won't support the National day of Prayer, celebrate Christmas, or go to Celebrations that are Jewish, and mocks the Bible on Youtube.
Yet he fasts during Ramadam, bows before the Saudi King who is the custodian of Islam, and praises the Koran as a holy book, and is overflowing with praise for Islam, despite that every war in the world at the moment is Islamic Jihads.
He is a Muslim, he always was a Muslim. He is the wests most dangerous man. He did what the Koran instructs every Muslim. And that is to lie if it will further the aims of Islam.
Wake up America. You are in bad trouble.

Justin:
The Catholic faith is not found in Webster but in the Catechism wich states:
'971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration'

Yes, Catholics(amd Orthodoxs)revere Mary but do not adore her.
You may disagree with the reverence (pretty biblical nethertheless) but you cannot claim that Catholics "adore" Mary. That would be a blatant slur...

In Christ

Obama is a racist - look at the church he attended for over 20 years - white-hating racist, even having ties to Islam. What kind of "Christian" church is that to begin with? And he only quit when it became an embarrassment during his candidacy when the kind of hate that Rev. Wright (Wrong) was preaching.If that had come out about McCain, he wouldn't have had a chance - he would have been run out of candidacy, if allowed that far at all!

As to his being a Muslim, it concerns me how he is kow-towing to them - refusing to participate in the National Day of Prayer (and he /or others - say he's a Christian? If he was, he would have participated) yet being part of a Ramadan celebration. I agree with the person who said that if he is going to keep religion out of things, then he shouldn't be promoting Islam while refusing to participate in other religious celebrations. Someone said that he won't celebrate Christmas? I hadn't heard about that but find it interesting in light of the rest we have heard about.

Him praising Islam doesn't make sense anyway - it's their stated goal in the Koran to either convert or kill all "infidels" and to lie to them first in order to fool them. Lying and killing are accepted values in this faith. If he is even leaning in their direction, how can we trust him?

Ben

You are being disengenous. Webster defines the word worship.

Name one other "christian" faith that prays to Mary or revere Mary to the extent that the Catholic religion does?

Jeanne

Obama is no more racist than you and this website. You for spouting such hatred. And this website for allowing so many posters to vilify the president without deleting their posts.

And if you and the owners of this website don't repent. You all will burn in hell.

So says the bible. For you all are full of hate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fBRglimkgo

I bet you and members of this website are members of this church

Jeanne and Carl, you're both going way overboard.

Since when has the National Day of Prayer been a litmus test for being a Christian?
Where does the Bible say hosts of open online forums are full of hate and will go to Hell?

...???

It is great when people comment. It is sad when people say someone's opinion will send them to hell. Disagree and you are a racist. I am so sick of racist talk. It gets so you cannot even disagree with a African American and you are a racist.

To Mark

Read the first line of the post made by Jeanne.
Then read the rest of her post.

Then read your post.

There seems to be something strange going on in America now. It seems people some people have taken leave of their senses.

You can of course disagree with someone and do so civilly. But what we have being posted on this site by some people who are supposed to be christians and condoned by the owneres of this site - go beyond the pale.

It is not that I say someone's opinion will send them to hell.

It is that the bible says this. Have you forgotten that "out of the heart the mouth speaks."

Have you forgotten that he who has hatred in his heart cannot see God.

So yes - if you or anyone spews these sort of comments that some "christians" are spewing then a big yes - then you and all others will split hell right open.

Brendan

When the bible was written they didn't even have paper much less the internet, so for literalists of course you will not find anything about online forums in the bible. However let me do something that many Christians are fond of doing.

Ephesians 4:31: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, `You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.


Matthew 5:23-24 So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your. As long as hatred predominates in your heart you can make no offering which will be acceptable to God.

Psalm 37:8.Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret-it leads only to evil

Galatians 5:19-20.The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions.


Colossians 3:8. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

2 Timothy 2:24: And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

The comments that are being made by some Christians posters here are chockfull of anger. Especially the ones being made of and about the president. A man who God obviously put in place to govern us.

The fact that the owners of this site see fit to remove posts that would challenge/combat posters who call the president all sorts of heinous names, but who at the same time leave posts that do call the president the heinous names, is a clear indication of where their hearts lie.

It is all sin and this is condemned in the bible. And if there is no repentance – then yes – there is burning ahead!

Carl,
"2 Timothy 2:24: And the Lord's servant must not quarrel"
Pot, meet kettle.

If CT was deleting posts, it was likely done to quell a quarrel. That hardly merits repentance, by your own standards.

I am very happy we all have a place to speak our minds and opinions. The devil himself is probably more happy depending upon our hearts when our opinions and comments are said.

My greatest concern for this country at this moment in time is the civil unrest that we are experiencing. I truly believe that we have come a great distance with race and hate. I for one am finally happy we elected a black man as president. I would have been just as happy if he were Asian, Hispanic, Indian or a woman. I just wish it had not been this one! That' right, I did not vote for Obama. I haven't been thrilled with a president since Reagan.

God may have allowed him to become the president of this country and I am suppose to pray for him and respect his position and not slander him or act hateful toward him, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN HE IS A GOOD LEADER OR A GOOD PERSON WITH THIS COUNTRY'S BEST INTEREST IN MIND. If you read your bible you might see a thread running through it regarding the Kings of power. They were all put there by God. Few were good for the people and the land.

There are many who spout that another's opinion is from hate when in reality it is righteous indignation. Even Christ Himself was angry and made comments to the money changers in the temple. They were defiling what was supposed to be sacred. This country is sacred to some, including me but whoa to those who forget that we don't worship this country. We are suppose to worship the ONE AND ONLY TRUE AND LIVING GOD, CHRIST JESUS, KING OF KINGS.

For me it all boils down to an issue of the heart. There are a lot of people out there that spout hate with a vote, their money, their deeds and words. It isn't always attached to verbal and/or physical emotions. I truly believe God is in control. I THINK HE IS TRYING TO TELL US SOMETHING. "Be careful what you don't pray for, you definately don't get it"

Brendan

Now you are just being disengenuous. And I'm being very charitable here

Carran

Well dear me... You lost all credibility when you stated: "I haven't been thrilled with a president since Reagan."

Thrilled with Reagan??!?!?! Oh my o my o my!

Justin:
Beside the Catholic Church, the Orthodox churches and the Anglican churches pray and venerate Maty.
You should also check what Luther and Calvin wrote about her:
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2004/02/luther-calvin-and-other-early.html
http://socrates58.blogspot.com/2008/10/mary-mother-of-god-theotokos.html

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