I like my church. The reason that I like it is because engrained in my church is the expectation of God showing up and being real, an expectation that is often met.
That said, the 9/11 sermon delivered by our pastor was a bit off. Our pastor generally made some points about fear and people being people no matter what the color of their skin that are certainly true in the broadest since. But to get there he made some statements about the moral equivalence of Christianity and Islam that are just wrong, and gave off the vibe of the whole diversity nonsense that is being pushed so absurdly in public schools and in public service announcements.
The way that our pastor drew up moral equivalence between Christianity and Islam was to talk about the terrorist attack in Norway that was committed by a christian. He admitted that he didn't know the details of that attack, so as someone who does, let me fill you in. The attack had two parts, a car bombing and a shooting.
The car bombing did cause some damage killing 8 people, but it was the shooting that really was a disaster killing 69 people. The shooting was carried out at a political camp for youths active in the Labour party. The motivation for the terrorist was to effect political change by killing off as much of the future party leaders from the Labour party as possible. He's specific reason for hating the party was for their immigration policy. He believed that Muslims were invading his country through immigration with the goal of taking over the country. He was identified in the media as a Christian, but in his manifesto stated that he was a cultural Christian which he differentiated from religious Christians in that the latter have a relationship with Jesus Christ, something that he did not have. He goes on to say that he is not excessively religious.
So was he a christian terrorist? I would not call him a christian, as having a relationship with Jesus Christ is one of the most central things to being a christian. That and acknowledging Jesus' godhood and accepting him as lord. Those three things define what a christian is. Anyone else who calls themselves a christian is just identifying with their parents beliefs without actually following them, or is just plain crazy.
Its important to know what kind of Christian the Norwegian terrorist was because of how our pastor drew the moral equivalence. For Islam he showed a slide on the projector that had a line between secularists and jihadists with marks like moderate in between. The point from this being that there is diversity in beliefs among those who call themselves Muslims, just as there is diversity in belief among Christians. The interesting thing about this graph is that it is the people who are most into Islam that plot and execute acts of terrorism. But for the lone example of a christian terrorist, it is the opposite. It is a guy who is mostly not religious.
The truth is that serious Muslims would not accept secular Muslims as one of their own, just as I don't think of people who say that Jesus was just a great teacher as being Christian regardless of how they self identify. So after getting the facts that our pastor readily admitted that he didn't have, its pretty clear that there is no moral equivalence between Christianity and Islam. In Christianity it is the real Christians disavowing the actions of a fake Christian, in Islam it is the fake Muslims disavowing the real Muslims. Any drawing of equivalence here is absurd. As a Christian I make no apologies or excuses for the fact that my religion is superior to others, to would be cowardly and wrong.
The second point that ruffled me was made about diversity. Now he didn't come out any say anything directly, it was more aesthetic things like a montage of smiling faces of people from all different cultures backed by music that make any healthy adult want to throw up.
Now for full disclosure, I'm fairly sensitive about these things after hearing so many radio ads that go something like: “This is the sound of one voice singing. This is the sound of many voices in harmony. Yay diversity, now go move into a black neighborhood. (This message was paid for with your tax dollars)”. But with that in mind, I still think that a message on 9/11 about how prejudice is evil and people everywhere are people is at best pretty weak.
Where Christians and Liberals tend to go wrong on diversity is by ignoring readily observable reality. And not only that, but also telling people who don't ignore reality and draw obvious conclusions, that doing that is wrong. This is silly. It is not in the Bible or remotely christian. The truth is that Judaism was all about cultural and genetic purity. With the wholesale slaughter of many neighboring nations and the forbidding of intermarrying and procreating with them, the Jews were just as opposed to some silly idea of diversity as anyone. This was at God's direction. It only changed in Acts chapter 10 when God gave Peter a vision saying “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”which he later interpenetrates: “Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” You can readthe whole thinghere.
The point is that it is through Christs redemption that we are able to have a healthy diverse society. Take Christ out of the mix and you have race wars. Diversity is not a virtue in and of itself. It's not even a very good idea. It is only in Christian communities that you can have large groups of people from different racial backgrounds without having race riots. And even then I doubt its any better than an equally large community of the same racial background that is all Christian.
The other silly notion is that we are all prejudiced. There is this stupid notion that making snap judgments about people based on race, sex, clothing, whatever is prejudice. Really its just common sense. You make this kinds of judgments because for the most part they are accurate. You'd be stupid or remarkably unobservant to not make these snap judgments about people. Where it gets into anything evil is when you use those snap judgments to make up you mind about someone. For example, when I go to a public basketball court and join a bunch a black people, I assume that they will have no respect for me being a white man until I score on them a few times. Even then, particularly with younger players they still might write me off based on my race. However if one of them starts passing to me right away and actually does a pick and roll play with me (almost never happens) I'll re-evaluate. If I didn't re-evaluate I'd be a bigot, as it is I'm just going off of past experience.
So if your in an airport and you see a guy with a turban, and he makes you more nervous than the guy next to him who seems to be dressed as a Mennonite (making you wonder why he's in the airport) your not a bigot. You just happen to have a brain. Don't apologize for it.