No Need to Ask About the Moderates

Response to Chicago Sun-Times’ “Pastor’s Sign Rubs Salt in Wounds of Downtrodden”

When Dr. Wiley Bennett, pastor of a Baptist church in Texas, called Hurricane Katrina “a warning shot” and claimed that New Orleans was targeted for punishment from God because the United States “‘right now is in a deep state of sin,’” there was no mistaken demand made that all Christians worldwide rise up and deny these statements (“Pastor’s sign rubs salt in wounds of downtrodden,” Sept. 16). People did not ask, “Where are the moderate Christians?” even though it is a reflexive question asked today whenever something is said or done by people claiming to be Muslims.

There is an understanding that this pastor does not represent the majority mainstream Christian community even though he is a religious leader. Just as Christians were not called upon to denounce statements made by Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell after the 9/11 attacks, once again people correctly realized that Christians should not have to prove themselves to be moderate because of the offensive remarks of a few of their leaders. Hopefully the next time a Muslim fanatic makes hateful comments, people will treat the greater Muslim community like they have treated the Christian community now and in the past: realizing that every community has its radicals and that not all members of a community need to step up and disassociate themselves from those fanatics to prove they renounce extremism.