Recently politicians have been talking about ISIS and Islam. We don't allow religion to define politics, why should politics define religion?
Religions have been used and co-opted by evil for centuries. KKK members promise to uphold American values and Christian morality. In the 1920s one political leader said, "We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity. Our movement is Christian." It was Adolph Hitler.
Like Hitler, ISIS is evil hiding behind religion.
Omid Safi, director of Duke's Islamic Studies Center, recently wrote: "Yes, the members of ISIS come from Muslim backgrounds. No, their actions cannot be justified on the basis of the 1400 years of Islamic tradition. Every serious scholar of Islam has confirmed this clearly, and unambiguously. ISIS is about as Muslim as the KKK is Christian."
When is religion legitimate? The Christian scriptures say the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Religion must show these proofs of God's presence.
ISIS's fruits are terror, fear, anger, and despair.
Second, religions follow their founders. WWJD, "What Would Jesus Do," can apply to Buddha, Moses, Mohammed or any religious leader. None of these leaders would spray bullets randomly into crowds.
Finally, religious leaders don't ask disciples to do things the leader didn't do first. Gandhi and Rev. Dr. King were such leaders -- at the front of marches, often receiving the first blows. No religious leader orders others to sacrifice themselves without the willingness to do the same thing.
Young followers are the ISIS suicide bombers; the leaders hide in safety, revealing they are cowards and political opportunists. Their aim is political, not religious. They want to control a nation and its wealth and justify it from behind the mask of Islam.
Rev. Brian Bagley-Bonner