A couple of years ago a “Christmas” poster appeared on the streets of London. “On the first day of Christmas”, it said, “My true love gave to me, a sexually transmitted disease.” The poster went further. “On the second day of Christmas: debt. On the third day: rape. The fourth day: teenage pregnancies. And then there was abortion, raves, claiming God has a son, blasphemy, exploitation, promiscuity, night clubs, crime, pedophilia, paganism, domestic violence, homelessness, vandalism, alcohol and drugs…”

According to Abdul Rumaysah, advocate and promoter for the poster, Christmas is responsible for all of these things. Christmas is “evil.” It is a “lie,” says Rumaysah. “As Muslims it is our duty to attack it. Our main [concern is with] the fruits of Christmas. We hope that our campaign will make people realize that Islam is the only way to avoid [such evils].’ As the poster concludes – “In Islam we are protected from all of these [things]. We have marriage, family, honor, [and] dignity…”

Now how is it possible that Mr. Rumaysah and other Muslims believe such propaganda? Why would they equate Christmas with the opposite of “marriage, family, honor and dignity?” Why would they see Christianity as being akin to debauchery and lasciviousness? Is it possible it is because they are seeing something – something in the outcomes – something in the behaviors – something in “the fruits” of those who claim to be Christian?

As the age-old saying goes “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, then it is a duck.” Maybe what we are hearing from our Muslim critics is that if it walks like a pagan then it is a pagan. If it talks like an infidel then it is an infidel. Is it possible that this “Christmas poster” is a commentary on Christians and “Christian cultures” that fail to live Christianly, as much as it is an exposé of the delusions and disaffections of Islam?

Perhaps a little self-reflection is in order during this Christmas season. Maybe we should all consider our “fruits” and ask ourselves what our daily actions are demonstrating to those around us. As the writer of the epistle of James tells us “we are showing people our faith by what we do…” What are we “doing” in the routine of our everyday lives that refutes Mr. Rumaysah and the London poster? This past Black Friday, for example, what did we “do” to rebut his accusation that Christmas simply brings more debt to the average household? This past Saturday night, what did we “do” to counter his claims that Christianity countenances “night clubs, alcohol and drugs?” How about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday? Did the priorities of our workweek contradict or affirm the London poster’s accusation of “exploitation?” In our choices of music and movies, what did we “do” this past week that would disprove Abdul Rumaysah’s charge of “paganism and promiscuity?”

It seems to me that Jesus agrees with Mr. Rumaysah: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” Religion will always be viewed as ridiculous if it bears fruit that is rotten.

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried,” said G.K. Chesterton. Maybe Mr. Rumaysah has done us all a favor in reminding us that during this Christmas season, those of us who claim to be Christians should decide to “try” living our “Christian ideals” a bit more consistently, difficult though such an effort may be.

Talking Points With President Piper is a weekly column featured in the Examiner-Enterprise newspaper. In addition to serving as the Oklahoma Wesleyan President, Dr. Everett Piper is also a frequent guest commentator on a variety of talk radio programs across the nation, as well as a published author and essayist.

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