I Am a Conservative Western Christian

by Dr. Gary Welton

christians vs muslims
I Am a Conservative Western Christian

The Center For Vision & Values

Grove City, PA -(Ammoland.com)- In my political views, I consider myself to be a conservative American. In my religious beliefs, I consider myself to be a conservative Christian. I am a conservative Western Christian. Sometimes, however, my two conservative bents seem to be in conflict with one another.

I was particularly conflicted when George W. Bush invaded Iraq. Because of my conservative political bent, I was inclined to support the Republican president’s decision. However, because of my Christian faith, I was against the war. The evidence indicated that Iraq was perhaps the most religiously open Arab country, allowing Christian churches to meet and worship without threat of attack. Indeed, the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq was Tariq Aziz, a member of the Chaldean Catholic Church. The American attack on Iraq, however, had serious consequences for the churches in that country. America’s war on Iraq quickly evolved into Iraq’s war on Christianity, in a very predictable manner.

Once again, I am very conflicted, as I consider the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris, the Western response, and now the Muslim reactions. Some Muslim protestors have chosen to express their frustration by attacking Christians in Muslim countries. CNN has reported that the violence to date has been most severe in Niger, where churches and Christian homes have been destroyed. Thus far, at least 10 have been killed. Yet, I wonder, is their frustration with the realities of Christianity, or with the realities of Western secularism?

I understand that much of the world sees the West as Christian, yet it can be argued that Christianity is on the decline in the West, while it is expanding in Africa and China. It is a stereotype to think that the West portrays the essence of Christianity. In fact, the West provides for a rather free expression of faith. Granted, Christianity has been the dominant faith in the West, but I am not willing, as a Christian, to take the blame for Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of Muhammad. Charlie Hebdo is a reflection of the secular West, not particularly a reflection of Christianity.

I am not Charlie Hebdo.

Salman Rushdie wrote, in his novel “Midnight’s Children,”: “It’s a dangerous business to try and impose one’s view of things on others.” I value the freedom to practice my Christian faith. I also value the freedom of others to practice their various faith traditions. I value the freedom of others to practice no faith tradition. I personally disagree with other religious traditions, but I do not make fun of them or ridicule them. I do not seek to impose my view of things on others.

Christianity and Islam have not always been civil to one another; we all know the history of the Crusades. Nevertheless, I contend that the current disagreement is not a disagreement between Christianity and Islam. Charlie Hebdo was not reflecting the dominant Christian view of freedom and respect. Charlie Hebdo, rather, was reflecting the secular view against Islam (and, to some extent, against Christianity).

Because the West is often seen as the bastion of Christianity, the church is now under attack in Muslim countries. This disappoints and saddens me at many levels. Most relevant to this editorial, Charlie Hebdo does not reflect my Christian views; I am disappointed that Muslims are attacking Christians and their churches. We are not Charlie Hebdo.

Western and Muslim countries have not always been civil to one another. I am not always in agreement with the decisions that my politicians have made. Nevertheless, I freely admit that the issues are complex and difficult.

Physical and verbal assaults do not facilitate a path forward. We need a civil exchange of ideas. This civil exchange is a conversation worth having.

 

–Dr. Gary L. Welton is assistant dean for institutional assessment, professor of psychology at Grove City College, and a contributor to The Center for Vision & Values. He is a recipient of a major research grant from the Templeton Foundation to investigate positive youth development.

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    DaveTRUTH BE TOLDRDNKTom KMorey Recent comment authors
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    Dave
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    Dave

    Fairly obvious that he has no conception of what the qur’an says about religions that differ from islam…especially Christian and Jewish. He doesn’t understand that islam IS at war with anything that is not islam…and will stop at nothing to destroy all other religions or faiths…unless islam is stopped…first.

    RDNK
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    RDNK

    The U.S. is by majority a predominate Christian country. I am a Republican/Conservative because that is the party that supports traditional American values,supports the US Constitution (all of it,esp.the 2A),swears to defend her.. agains’t all enemies both foreign and domestic,is the party for pro-life,supports marriage between a man and a woman only !!!,respects our military service members,its the party that has common sense and love of country !…etc Muslims are are NOT the people of peace regardless of what obama and the leftist socialists try to convince us otherwise ! They are terrorists who support terrorism through terroristic means at… Read more »

    Tom K
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    Tom K

    Perceiving Charlie Hebdo as a representative of All Christians, is like saying All Muslims are terrorists, representative of ISIS..

    Morey
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    Morey

    Dr. Gary L. Welton, Go live in the city of Mecca for 6 weeks with your beliefs. Practice them openly and see where that gets you. I challenge you to to live by words in a far off land. I wish you luck.

    Dan
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    Dan

    I disagree with this live and let live, that is a Western Construct. The Muslim is just like the Liberal and the Communist. They only seek my surrender, they do not seek to live peacefully with me, they have never sought to live peacefully with me. For whatever reason, Christians in this Country, want to blame our actions/reactions on our enemies actions. I.e. during the Crusades…We invaded the Middle East…We conquered America…Therefore we are always bad and they are good. Muslims stripped the Italian coast for slaves, Muslims invaded the Holy Land and slaughtered Christians, Muslims invaded Spain, Muslims invaded… Read more »

    Paul Harmon
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    Paul Harmon

    “…we all know the history of the Crusades.” Wait, what? In Muslim Christian conflict, how about the 7th century invasion of Syria, the taking of Asia Minor and the Greek civilization on its western shore, the taking of North Africa, the invasion of Iberia, the invasion of France, the invasion of the Balkans, the rape of Constantinople (by the Muslims, in 1453, rather than the earlier Crusader invasion), the invasion of Austria, the genocide of the Armenians? If you’re a Conservative Western Christian, don’t become a self-loathing leftist who can’t see that there are two sides to the Christian/Muslim confilct.

    TRUTH BE TOLD
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    TRUTH BE TOLD

    Get your fact’s straight….that was ALL CATHOLIC CHURCH

    Dean Weingarten
    Guest

    I do not know where Dr. Welton obtains his information, but he seems uninformed. Attacks against Christians by Muslims have been increasing as Muslilm Jihadists see the west as demoralized and weak. The Doctor cites 10 people in Niger, and claims it is the worst case. Hundreds of Christians were killed in Nigeria in the last six months of 2013, according to this source:
    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/hundreds.of.christians.killed.in.nigeria.in.last.six.months.reports/35119.htm

    here is a story of 28 Christians killed in Nigeria in the last week of 2014:

    http://morningstarnews.org/2015/01/attacks-by-islamic-extremists-in-nigeria-leave-at-least-28-christians-dead/

    Boko Haram is actively killing Christians on a regular basis:

    http://christiannews.net/2014/12/09/boko-haram-kills-more-christians-as-it-expands-caliphate-in-nigeria/

    Isaiah
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    Isaiah