I asked my Pakistani friend Amber if Muslims were evangelical and she said no. In fact it was quite the opposite. They have gone out of their way for some time to avoid the spotlight, and with recent events it has become challenging to explain their way of life amidst a great deal of scrutiny.

Having been raised Southern Baptist I can tesitfy to living a very different experience. Growing up it was considered a rite of passage to "share your faith" with friends, classmates and total strangers. I even took classes at my church on how to win converts, and can readily name several Wal-Mart sized Christian organizations endeavoring to do just that.

And now with Christmas upon us I am intrigued with the mind-boggling claims by some Christians of persecution substantiated by the secularization of Christmas, which by definition is an oxymoron. There can be no such thing as a secular Christmas, any more than there can be a secular Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan or Chinese New Year. What persecuted Christians call secularization is simply a dose of reality as the vast universe of other faiths and traditions gain the respect they deserve.

It is a central tenet of fundamentalism to embrace persecution as a justification for outright bigotry. It's also very easy to feel persecuted when you are the only one who can ever be right. It puts one in a vicious cycle which some seem to find tragically fulfilling.

It is a shame too when someone like that is the President of the United States, but it does explain why he and many around him are unable to see the burning forest for the trees. He reminds me of the aging bloated Elvis surrounded by yes-men unwilling to tell him he was too sick to go on tour. Who can blame them? Their livelihoods were at stake.... until. Oops.

Granted he is not the only one. There are many others that use fundamentalism to fuel the fires of fear and hatred. Terrorism is merely a symptom of the larger illness of hubris.

Perhaps the calling of our time is not to defeat terrorism, but to replace fundamentalism with a more enlightened view of faith -- one that is not merely tolerant, which still implies superiority, but one of respect, even reverence, of others.

Is that possible? Certainly so. But it may require a surge of Post-Fundamentalist Evangelism with all the fire and passion as the early Zealots, the Protestant Reformers, or Baptist Preachers.

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