Duke University and the New Normal – Action and Reaction

By Nathan Barton

Huh?

Duke University will broadcast Muslim call to prayer across campus. That was Thursday’s headline, but Friday’s was different: Duke drops Chapel Muslim call to prayer. What does NOT make sense is the Daily Beast’s claim that Franklin Graham’s tweet (actually a Facebook posting) was “hateful.”  Read it and decide for yourself: ““As Christianity is being excluded from the public square and followers of Islam are raping, butchering and beheading Christians, Jews and anyone who doesn’t submit to their Sharia Islamic law, Duke is promoting this in the name of religious pluralism.”  If the truth is “hateful,” then I guess he’s being hateful.

What ALSO doesn’t make sense is that Duke explained their reason for dropping the plan was “credible concerns about safety and security…”  They didn’t explain, but we can look at several possibilities:

  1. The “call to prayer” could anger non-Muslim students and cause them to violently attack the Muslim students.
  2. The “call to prayer” could invoke the wrath of other gods leading them to descend upon Duke.
  3. The “call to prayer” could inflame radical Muslims and lead them to violently attack non-Muslim students.

Now, the second possibility is almost certainly NOT what Duke was worried about: Thor or Kali is probably not what worries them.

Obviously, Duke isn’t really wound up about the third possibility, either.  And I am sure that the great majority of the 700 Muslim students (out of 14,850 students, or less than 5%) are peaceful and kind and don’t even kick dogs, much less beat up their women for not wearing a burka or wearing a bikini.  I am sure that many of them actually drink beer and even shave.  And if they move to one of a dozen countries in the Ummah, they’ll probably find themselves shortened quickly enough.

So, I’m left with the first option: it seems to imply that the 700 Muslim students in the 14,850-student body, or at least those few dozen that would have been involved in making the prayer call, were at risk of being attacked by… whom?  (I admit, this is a serious concern: we are all aware of the radical extremist Christians which killed a bunch of people in a famous satirical magazine’s offices in Paris, and the Christian death commandos who opened fire on Belgian police a few days later, as well as the “lone wolf” attack by a devout Christian with links to either the Vatican or Salt Lake City on a Jewish supermarket in Paris, or the burning of thousands of buildings and killing of 2,000 people by a Christian “missionary” army in central Africa. [sarcasm alert!] Duke officials must be very worried indeed to deny the free speech rights of 700 students!)  What is NOT pointed out in the stories is the following.

The Muslim call to prayer, the “Adhan” consists of the following (Arabic, English translation):

Allahu Akbar God is Great (said four times), Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah I bear witness that there is no god except the One God. (said two times), Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasool Allah I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God. (said two times), Hayya ‘ala-s-Salah Hurry to the prayer (Rise up for prayer) (said two times), Hayya ‘ala-l-Falah Hurry to success (Rise up for Salvation)  (said two times), Allahu Akbar God is Great [said two times], La ilaha illa Allah There is no god except the One God (From this site).

It takes approximately 3 minutes to recite or sing it.  I think this is correctly considered to be a form of evangelism for Muslims, for this to be heard in public and broadcast over the university’s chapel loudspeakers.  One person suggested also having the Lord’s Prayer similarly broadcast.  Now, Duke is a “private” university but receives extensive federal and state education aid and has many, MANY millions of dollars in research contracts by federal agencies (such as the EPA, to my personal knowledge).

The Lord’s Prayer (HCSB version) (correctly the “Model Prayer”) goes like this: “Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

Is that “evangelism?”  Maybe.   It also requires about 20 seconds to repeat (in the more common King James version, it takes about 17 seconds).  It is ASKING God to do things and NOT TELLING PEOPLE to do something. AND most important, Duke University (along with EVERY public institution of higher education and most private institution in the Fifty States) does NOT allow that or anything like that to be broadcast – or indeed to be said in virtually ANY public venue, because THAT would be a “violation of the separation of church and state.” So why did they even suggest broadcasting the Muslim call to prayer?

And from a “christian” meetinghouse (cathedral)?  What’s up with that?  Again, draw your own conclusions.  But I point out that NOWHERE in Biblical christianity is there any sacredness or special meaning or reverence attached to a building.  (Under the Tanakh, the Temple was, but its relevance was eliminated with the death of the Christ.) Making “sacred buildings” or “sanctuaries” or temples is something added by Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Protestantism, and Joe Smith Jr.  Having a Muslim prayer blared from the spires of this cathedral no more desecrates a physical building than teaching a math class or sex education or having a jazz concert does.  Of course, the public perception of it is much different.  And I have not heard of anyone (at least not recently) killing someone else for that evil “sin.”

Decide for yourself.  Frankly, I think that the people (including Franklin Graham) that complained so bitterly and got Duke to change did it wrong.  They should have simply asked for exactly the same privilege, of blaring one of their own prayers across the Duke campus, and of evangelizing by what they put into their prayers.  Not DENIED opportunity, but EQUAL treatment.

You can come up with your own answers.  I point out that once upon a time, “christianity” was outlawed, in favor of other religions.  I sometimes think we’d be better off if it WERE illegal, instead of just being “controlled.”  Once upon a time, free speech was outlawed.  Again, would we be better off if it were that, instead of just being controlled?  At least in both cases, we’d have a better idea of who stood where on those vital issues.

About tpolnathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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One Response to Duke University and the New Normal – Action and Reaction

  1. Pingback: RRND -- 01/21/15 |

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