June 5, 2009
That was some speech President Obama delivered to the Muslim world yesterday in Cairo. There was much to admire in it. There were also some things not to admire.
Let’s leave aside the theological references and the claim we are all God’s children. The onus is not on the shoulders of Israel or the United States to prove peaceful intentions and objectives that include equal rights, tolerance and religious pluralism. Those values are practiced in America. They are not practiced in much of the Muslim world, where country after country denies rights to women, Christians and Jews. Try building a church or synagogue in most of these nations; try sharing your faith in Christ as the messiah with a Muslim. Well, you know what would happen because you can see what is happening right now.
A faith that relies on threats, coercion and punishment for choosing another faith is a weak religion founded on error, not truth. Jews and Christians in America are free to convert, even to Islam, without penalty or prejudice. But if one converts from Islam, he risks his life. Attitudes must be changed and platitudes won’t change them.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.