‘A Common Word’ — Inter-Faith Dialogue Or Propaganda Tool?

SAINT PAUL, Minn., Feb. 16 /Christian Newswire/ — Last November, many of America’s top Christian leaders and scholars signed onto a response of support to “A Common Word Between Us and You.” “A Common Word,” as it has come to be called, was a letter sent to Christian leaders and signed by 138 Muslim scholars and clerics calling for “Inter-Faith” cooperation to help achieve world peace. This past week some of these Christians, like the officials of Wheaton College, are retracting their support of “A Common Word.”

“A Common Word between Us and You,” was developed out of a September, 2007 meeting in Amman, Jordan, and was penned by some of the world’s most Anti-Israel Christians and Muslims. It was presented to the world as a Muslim Letter to Christians, though both Christians and Muslims crafted it. It was followed up by a conference organized by the writers of the document in January, 2008, also held in Jordan, which was billed as a meeting for Inter-Faith dialogue.

Reports published about the meeting by Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center said that,

“... as people who believe in the One God, and as people of the same legacy of coexistence in this region, Muslim and Christian, they seek in this difficult era, to build together their present and future society in a spirit of mutual responsibility so that comprehensive peace and real justice prevails in the region and in the world as a whole.” (1)

The primary outcome of the “Inter-faith” discussions this past January was the development of a list of things that these Muslim and Christian leaders agree about. The only problem is that the list is more about pushing forward a strategy for their long-standing radical anti-Israel agenda than it is about peace in any sense of the word.

As it turns out, Jews were the only people not present at this “Inter-Faith” dialogue so focused on the future of Israel and Jerusalem.

The intent of these religious leaders is clear- evidenced by their own words: as Muslims and Christians they seek to build together their present and future society in the region (and the world).

Their sense of “real” justice is a justice that does not include the Jew. The Jew is just not a part of their vision for the future.

This “Common Word Between You and Us”, complete with its own website and heavy hitting endorsements from the misguided likes of Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Leith Anderson, and Jim Wallis of the religious left, has proven to be more of a sophisticated anti-Israel propaganda tool than legitimate Inter-Faith dialogue.

After all, how can it be a dialogue when the people you are coming together to talk about are not invited to the table?

And if the world peace that is to be led by this coalition of Muslims and Christians is to be built on love of the “Other,” you would imagine that they would start by loving the Jew.

And I’m no relationship expert, but I’m not sure how you can love somebody if you won’t talk with them. I’m not certain how you can have peace in a household if your plan for the future doesn’t include those you have lived your whole life with. I am at a loss as to what you contribute to peace and security as a religious leader if you can’t unequivocally reject terrorism and homicide bombing against the “Other” with no qualifiers.

And this is why Christian leaders in America should take a moment or two to think twice next time before jumping on a bandwagon of this sort, with Christian leaders in the Middle East of whom they know nothing about.

It is also why more of those Christian Leaders who have signed on to support this movement should follow in the footsteps of the fine men of Wheaton College- who seem to have finally done their homework.

Of course, one can only pray that they would be as brave to retract their support of “A Common Word” as they thought themselves when they first signed on.

Rev. C.J. Conner is the Author of “Jesus and the Culture Wars: Reclaiming the Lord’s Prayer”

1. Final Communique 3rd International Conference “Coexistence and Peace Making” The American Muslim, Feb. 11, 2008