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Some folks talk about "tolerance." TOLERANCE! Here in Wisconsin, we LOVE the Green Bay Packers...but we tolerate Chicago Bears fans.
That doesn't mean we have to like 'em.
As former conservative Christian Congressman and ex-Islam-basher Mark Siljander explains, mere tolerance isn't enough. We need to reach out to people from other religions and worldviews with love, appreciation, and celebration of our common values.
That's what Mark is doing with Bridges to Common Ground, an outreach project that has scored huge peacemaking successes.
Mark Siljander, former congressman (R-MI) is the author of A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman's Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide. Congressman Mark Siljander once despised Islam so much he walked out of a White House prayer breakfast because the prayer was being led by a Muslim! Later, after deeper study of Christianity as well as Islam, he realized how much these two religions have in common, and became a bridge-builder between the faiths and a sort of unofficial (but extremely well-connected) U.S. envoy to various hot spots in the Islamic world. Among other diplomatic miracles, his intervention apparently helped convince Libya to give up its (innocent) Lockerbie suspects and later its nuclear weapons program. The secret? Siljander spoke from the heart and told the Libyans how sorry he was that the US had murdered Col. Qaddafi's baby daughter.
Siljander was later framed by the neocons (who want war between Christians and Muslims - think "9/11 inside job"). He was subjected to an unbelievable Stalin-meets-Kafka show trial. As Gordon Duff wrote in March 2012:
Editor’s note: We are unable to mention why former Congressman and UN Ambassador Mark Siljander became a target of the Neocon Mafia/Bush and Company. Suffice it to say, if Mark’s advice had been followed, 7000 American soldiers would be alive today and 500,000 disabled veterans would be whole. Instead, Mark is heading to prison. You have never seen me ask for a red cent. Send what you can to my good friend Mark Siljander. Do not let those worthless bastards win. Send this request to every patriot, every Christian, Muslim and Jew.
Gordon Duff for Veterans Today
Sentenced to prison and then diagnosed with an "always-terminal" cancer, Mark was told he would never get out alive. It is a miracle that Mark Siljander is free, healthy, and peacemaking harder than ever. Indeed he is a walking, talking miracle. If you know of any Christian congregations, please talk to the person in charge and try to convince them to bring in Mark Siljander as a speaker.
Labels: a deadly misunderstanding, bridges to common ground, christianity, interfaith, Islam, mark siljander, peacemaking