The Tar Pit

Friday, January 21, 2005

National Clergy Council Chairman whitewashes President's Inaugural invocation of the Koran

Rev. Rob Schenck, Chariman of the otherwise conservative National Clergy Council, has defended the positive invocation of the Koran by President Bush in yesterday's Second Inaugural Address.

In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character -- on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before -- ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Schenck (, described in the article as helping to "lead a dialogue with Islamic leaders in Morocco this spring," explained:
"Nothing the president said is untrue," said Schenck after attending the swearing in ceremony at the Capitol.

"The Koran contains words directly reflecting Biblical material. This is a wise way for our country to build bridges of understanding to the Islamic world, and like St. Paul did with the pagan Greeks, it's a even way to gain a hearing on Judeo-Christian concepts of liberty."


Schenck will host a celebration for religious leaders tonight on Capitol Hill. He is available for further comment at 202-546-8329 ext 106 or on site at 703-447-7686.

President Wisely Notes Koran in Inaugural Speech
Christian Wire Service | January 20, 2005

If a future version of the New Revised Satanic Bible has a chapter or two on family values, would a future President be wise or truthful to cite it as supporting "America's ideal of freedom?" Would an older Reverend Schenck say so?

After all, doesn't the Satanic Bible, however darkly, "directly reflect Biblical material?"

The New Testament instructs that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)

Mohammed and the Koran aren't mentioned or prophesied in the Book of Hebrews. It's not clear how President Bush or Reverend Schenck can make a truthful case that Mohammeds's Koran (which calls for Allah to curse Jews and Christians in Sura 9:30) reaffirms "ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever."

Oh wait, I overlooked the very next sentence of Hebrews 13:9, which does allude to the Koran: "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines."

Schenck clumsily tries to draw a parallel between a President touting the Koran in his Inaugural Address and an Apostle evangelizing the Greeks. In Acts 17, Paul visited Athens and in the midst of an idolatrous pantheon on Mars' hill observed an altar to an "Unknown God." He instructed the Stoics and the Epicureans that were with him that the Unknown God they worshipped in ignorance is the God of the Bible, but that the time of God's winking at their ignorance was over. Paul did not tell the Greeks that their idolatry and false doctrines reaffirmed anything "yesterday, today, and forever," yet this is what President Bush told the world about the Koran yesterday.

With that in mind, it would be a gross oversight to overlook Mohammed's Koranic curse against Christians and Jews in Sura 9:30 without noting God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed;" and also the Apostle Paul's instruction in Romans 4 that Christians are counted as heirs by faith to the promises God made to Abraham in Genesis.

One can have the Bible or one can have the Koran, but one can not have the two together. It is both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible that reaffirm the personal character on which America's ideal of freedom depends, not the words of the Koran, and President Bush erred greatly, and not for the first time, in promoting confusion on that point.