In America we often hear people say that moderate muslims should loudly voice their support for mainstream American values and take a firm stand against Al Queada and the Muslim fundamentalists.
But shouldn't moderate Christians also denounce their extremists collegues and loudly distanced themselves from ascendant, hard-line Christianity???
And are moderate Christians passively protecting Christian extremists?
I think that moderates should listen to the concerns of fundamentalists, but not be overly swayed. People should follow their own moral code and take into consideration the views of others. One minority should not control the views of everyone else.
In some ways, proactive opposition, of anything, almost takes the "moderate" out, don't you think?
I agree with previous posts and the examples of how often "moderate churches" really do speak out against Christian extremists. It more than likely happens most often within congregations, however, rather than in public or political protests. But again, that's why they are considered moderate. The media has a way of blowing even the most level-headed arguments way out of proportion. I think when churches (and church people) stand up to fight something publicly, such acts get attacked by the media more harshly than matters that leave faith and religion out. Perhaps this is one reason it seems moderate Christians are "passively protecting" extreme fundamentalists.
Perhaps in an effort not to seem like a completely differnt kind of whacko, those who are effectively opposing religious extremes which fall outside of the truth of the Bible are choosing to take a more mild mannered approach.
On the other hand, if moderate Christians believe that American society is currently hostile to Christianity, perhaps they should not speak up. If they believe this to be the case, they might want to maintain solidarity with their fellow Christians so that together they can resist the move towards secularism.
I'm not saying I believe this, but this would be a reason for moderate Christians to avoid criticizing more hard-line Christians and thus causing splits within their community.
There are a few good reasons why moderate Christians should proactively reject the stances of Christian extremists. From a theological perspective, moderate Christians can definitely argue that their version of Christianity is more authentic than extremist versions fueled by anger and, in some cases, hatred. From a political perspective, extremist Christianity can alienate the secular mainstream and make it difficult for moderate Christians to gain recognition and sympathy from the non-religious. Moreover, in a democratic society, it's important for everyone to reject any ideology or theology that threatens people's basic rights to freedom of conscience and freedom of choice. Extremist Christianity has the potentially to be just as dangerous to democracy as extremist Islam.
I believe moderate Christians should--and do--voice their opinions about the ultra-conservative fundamentalists. As a former resident of Gainesville, Florida, I can assure you that many churches and their congregations banded together to protest Terry Jones and his horribly misnamed Dove World ministry, which advocated burning the Koran in order to further stir up Muslim discontent. Other church-goers protested regularly, sometimes on the Dove World premises. However, I think most moderate Christians prefer to live by the Golden Rule--"do unto others as you would have them do unto you"--rather than sink to the level of the fundamentalist branches.
I can think of one example in which this would seem to be good advice. Most moderate Christians would surely want to reject the teachings and activities of the Westboro Baptist Church, which pickets at the funerals of U. S. servicemen and which preaches a wide variety of noxious doctrines. Many moderate Christians would probably also want to reject the behavior of the several different preachers who staged public burnings of the Koran, even though they were warned that doing so could put the lives of members of the U. S. military at risk.