If you ever needed proof that we’re living in a post-Christian society, a recent blog post by my friend Rod Dreher drives this fact home in a powerful and surprising way.
A reader wrote Rod to tell him about an experience she had with her daughter, who is spending most of the summer at a gifted and talented program at a non-Christian university.
When she moved her daughter into the dorm, she was, in her words, “startled” to see that the Resident Advisor was a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, the head-covering that pious Muslim women wear outside of the home.
Rod’s correspondent continued: “I liked her right away, but I have to confess that as a conservative Christian from a non-diverse part of the country, it made me nervous to think about my Christian daughter in the care of a Muslim woman, even a Muslim woman that was really nice.”
Now if we’re honest, many of us will admit to perhaps feeling something similar. But the story doesn’t end there. The nervous mom now says “Thank God for the Muslim.” Why? Her daughter has told her about the other kids in the program, and it’s comforting to know “that there is at least someone in her dorm who shares her belief in God . . . [and] whose moral instincts I can trust.”
It’s been an eye-opening experience. She never imagined that, “as a conservative Christian in America . . . when it comes to the care and raising of our children, I have more in common with believing Muslims than I do with seculars who look like me.”
She does, and I would guess so do you.
Now unlike Rod, I wouldn’t go so far as talking about an “ecumenism of the trenches”—not quite. The theological gulf separating Christians and Muslims isn’t only wide, in some ways it’s unbridgeable.
But that doesn’t stop us from recognizing that when it comes to social and cultural concerns, Muslims like that RA can be our co-belligerents.
Given the booziness and sexual debauchery that characterizes much of what passes for “higher education” in the United States, we should welcome the presence of anyone whose moral instincts are trustworthy on campus.
In many instances, that “anyone” will be wearing a hijab or a yarmulke. Likewise, the times may and probably will require us to make common cause with Muslims, as well as observant Jews, in our efforts to uphold the traditional family and protect religious freedom. Our faiths are different, but not all of our interests are.
Now before anyone gets upset and writes me a letter, please understand I’m not talking about making common cause with jihadists or those who support violence—of course not, not for any cause or any reason.
And I’m not 100 percent sure I agree with Rod when he writes: “I am more concerned today . . . with secularist threats to religious liberty and religious tolerance than I am with Islam in America.”
But I am ready to say that there are people of good will—including Muslims—who do not share our faith in Jesus but are just as concerned about the decline of the family and sexual morality as we are.
Working with them to preserve the family and religious freedom is not only prudent; it’s also a Christian witness to our Muslim neighbors. We recently asked you to join in prayer for the Muslim world. Living out the truth of our convictions complements our prayers like little else can.
— by Eric Metaxas
Metaxas is currently the voice of Breakpoint, a radio commentary (www.breakpoint.org). Copyright© 2015 Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission. BreakPoint is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries.