Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Islamicizing Christmas?

From the December 16, 2006 edition of the Tennessean:
Gov. Phil Bredesen [Democrat, Tennessee] has given an unusual twist to his family's Christmas card: He is marking a Christian holiday with a card depicting a Muslim girl.

The card's cover is a print of a painting by the governor of a young woman he met when he toured Afghanistan in March.
The following is the complete text of the card, from this source:
I met the teenage girl depicted in this painting in March of this year at a primitive school on the Shamali Plains Road outside of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Until recently, under the Taliban, education was forbidden to her. She is now learning to read, and on the day I visited, was studying geography.

While it may seem odd to put a portrait of a young Muslim woman on a Christmas card, this Season reminds us that He loves His children most of all.

May the miracle of Christmas help bring peace and hope to this young woman and her wounded land.
What is Governor Bredesen's intended message? Perhaps he's trying to link "the Abrahamic faiths." Perhaps the card is a subtle evangelical message. Or perhaps the card is a reflection of the governor's interest in education. His web site states,
"A quality education is the difference between a healthy, happy life for a child or a lifelong struggle to stay ahead."
No argument with that statement. Nevertheless, according to the article in the Tennessean, the governor's choice of depiction on the Christmas card has caused one minister to question the appropriateness of using a Muslima:
A local conservative Christian minister also wasn't sure [of the intended message of the governor's card].

"If he is saying Christmas is about honoring all religions, I don't agree," said the Rev. Maury Davis of Cornerstone Church in Madison. "If the message is to love all people, that is Jesus Christ's message. The governor's message is just not very clear."
And at least one Muslim has criticized the card. In happy-holiday wishes for Christians, Khaled Sakalla, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Nashville, has voiced criticism of the card:
...[I]f the governor saw a Muslim woman in Afghanistan as depicted — with her head partially uncovered — that's not the Muslim dress code.

"Women shouldn't have their faces fully covered, nor should they have their hair half-uncovered," Sakalla said.
At Christmas time, we speak a lot of the love of God. Many Christians talk about how He loved us so much that he sent His only Son to be born in a lowly manger and later to die as the propitiation for our sins. Is Governor Bredesen trying to send that message in a subtle way, or is he bowing to interfaithing? Something else? Your thoughts?

Addendum: See Bear Creek Ledger's post on this same topic.

[Hat-tip to Nanc, who sent me the article from the Tennessean]

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posted by Always On Watch @ 12/19/2006 11:20:00 AM