As a side note to my halal post yesterday, I’m posting a comment I received from my brother-in-law on the subject. In the interests of furthering the education of those who don’t know (including myself), I yield to those who know more about Islam than I do:
Just read your blog post, and yes, the double standard of many in America on the issue of religious freedom is troubling. I’ve never been quite sure why it’s so offensive for stores to sell items if there’s a market for them. It ties in to capitalism as well as religious freedom….
Also, I know it comes as a shock but the chain e-mail you received might contain an inaccuracy or two (yes, I know, it’s hard to believe that of a chain e-mail :-). I could be wrong, but I believe meat can be considered halal if slaughtered by people of the book, e.g. Christians or Jews. So some Muslims will eat kosher meat since the physical process (for example, care taken in blood draining) is similar. Anyway, I think this is true of at least some Muslims–there are different schools of thought on lots of things in Islam, of course, so I’m sure some insist on the butcher being a Muslim. Not sure which standard Costco is using.
Finally, I find the letter’s idol comment to be ridiculous. I staunchly disagree with Islam as you know, but Muslims aren’t idol worshipers. In fact, idols are exactly what their prophet eradicated from the Kabah where the black stone is located. Sadly, Muslims have a wrong understanding of the Person and saving role of Jesus Christ and are trusting in their works to save them instead of repenting and trusting in Christ. But they do sincerely profess to worship one God.
I have to add that any comment on the person and role of Jesus Christ doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of the blogger, but I think this underlines the point I was trying to make yester-eve. I can exchange commentary with (nay, even learn from) people who disagree with me on points of religious import. I can also respect opposing viewpoints without compromising my own integrity. Indeed, to demand respect from others while failing to return the favor is a good way TO compromise my integrity as a person who claims to honor human rights and reason above all else.
The moral of the story is this: don’t just pass random information along to the gullible and less-informed. If you do, you become one of them. Instead, if the matter is really of such terrible importance to you, make sure you understand it yourself before hitting the forward button. Otherwise, you perpetuate ignorance over knowledge, and this helps no one and harms us all. The shame is, I know personally and well some of the people who participate in this mindless exercise, and I know better than to think they act out of malice, or would act this way if they truly understood what they were doing. So think before you send, people. Because, to rip off one of my favorite 80s cartoons, knowing is half the battle…