A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

time for a new purpose: one last post on the Rick Warren debate

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on November 28, 2006

Debate may not be the most appropriate word to use, as only one man seems interested in keeping Rick Warren’s trip to Syria in the news.

Joseph Farah’s latest column is less a thoughtful exposition of his opposition to Warren’s trip than an emotional declamation. The change (and, I would say, degeneration) in tone is evident from the column’s title, which is both wordy and too personal:

New Age leader Marianne Williamson has come to the aid of “The Purpose-Driven Life” author Rick Warren, under fire from me for statements he made during his recent visit to Syria.

Here is the link to the full piece: http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53116.

Farah has raised several good points in the previous columns he has written on this subject – including Syria’s very poor treatment of its Jewish population, which lasted from the 1950s until the early 1990s. His relentless focus on the YouTube video/audio clip shows Warren in a poor light – not for making the statements he did, which while not likely to meet universal agreement are certainly defensible, but for removing it from the website. The issues surrounding today’s Syria, and the country’s relationship (on political, cultural, religious, economic, and individual levels) with the United States need more discussion, not less. Closing the door on public dialogue shows poor leadership, particularly when coming from a man whose work has made a positive impact on so many.

Farah errs, however, in his characterizations of Syria and the position of its Christian population. As a scholar, I suggest to him what I would suggest to any colleague whose conclusions outstrip his evidence: more research.

This post concludes my tracking of the Rick Warren story. There are many other, more pressing and more consequential stories to follow, as well as more anecdotes of my various Arabic gaffes to record.

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