As anti-Muslim rhetoric hits a fever pitch in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, people are rightfully afraid for the lives of American Muslims. These fears are not unfounded; in just ONE recent incident, the decapitated head of a live pig was left on the steps of a mosque in Philadelphia.
Much of the anti-Muslim hate is coming from Christians, but at least one Christian minister is fed up.
Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, who hosts the State of Belief radio show, railed against the radical edicts of Donald Trump and others, who wish to prohibit Muslims from enjoying the same rights in America that the rest of us do.
At the Muslim Advocates Annual D.C. Area Dinner, Gaddy warned against the hateful ideas that are circulating so freely at this time, saying that “the most fundamental values of both religion and democracy … are under siege.” He also issued a dire warning against using one’s religious beliefs as a weapon against others and said that when this happens, “a justification for hate and discrimination, the health of the soul of our republic needs to be re-examined.”
Here is a transcript of his full remarks, courtesy of Media Matters for America:
REV. C. WELTON GADDY: Gratitude for this honor this evening comes to mind easily. But negative emotions also disturb my heart and mind tonight. Not all is well with our nation, and our world, understatement. The most fundamental values of both religion and democracy, so prominent in our work together, are under siege to an extent that the meaning, integrity, and quality of freedom in religious freedom — for all Americans — are seriously threatened.
When candidates for the highest office in our land sound like bigots, with favor anarchy over democracy, something is bad wrong. When any person’s religious identity can be considered a justification for hate and discrimination, the health of the soul of our republic needs to be re-examined. Having spent most of my adult life promoting, protecting and defending religious freedom, I must tell you that I do not think we could pass the First Amendment to the Constitution today. Extremely short-sighted people are seeking to change the definition of liberty in order to claim a freedom for themselves that they refuse to extend to others.
I hurt with you, as well as stand beside you in support, knowing that Muslims are under a severe attack that includes despicable violence by people who don’t understand either the Constitution or Islam. I’m reminded of the dark days of the civil rights movement, when under threats of danger, devotees of basic constitutional rights had to seek protection through lobbying for new laws or insisting on the enforcement of laws already on our books — while at the same time trying to change the hearts and minds of the American people. We want to change those minds. We have to have those laws.
Thankfully, Muslim Advocates is aware of that strategy. You’ve heard it. Legal initiatives are imperative. No office in our nation is superior to the guarantee of the issues of freedom and justice for all people. When it comes to issues of the heart, and I’m speaking now to the Muslim community, when it comes to issues of the heart, you should not have to go it alone. It is far past time for all religions in this land, majority religions and minority religions, to position themselves alongside you as Muslims and to remain alongside you, tirelessly advocating for eradicating hate and practicing injustice as you’re having to experience. What Farhana and I had the honor of doing together, along with other colleagues, sitting at a table with the Attorney General of the United States, seeking wisdom that would move us through crises with no abdication of support for the Constitution, testifying in Congress to expose the lies being told about Muslims, and clarifying the difference between a religion of peace and a sick organization perpetrating violence, and encouraging the White House to highlight the plight as well as the benefits of all minority religions in our nation. That work was fulfilling and fun for us. It is work that needs to be done. No, it is work that has to be done in media, coffee houses, humanist gatherings, board tables, universities, atheist organizations, and houses of worship all across this nation. If Muslims are not free in this nation, none of us are free in this nation. [C-SPAN, Attorney General Loretta Lynch At Muslim Advocates Dinner, 12/3/15]
Watch the video below:
Featured image via screen grab