You don’t have to be a basketball fan or an American to recognize the legendary name of a great sports figure – Kareem Abdul Jabbar. He was born into the Roman Catholic faith, but later decided to be a Muslim.
Religion and Kareem’s Beliefs
My parents were not pleased by my conversion. Though they weren’t strict Catholics, they had raised me to believe in Christianity as the gospel. But the more I studied history, the more disillusioned I became with the role of Christianity in subjugating my people. I knew, of course, that the Second Vatican Council in 1965 declared slavery an “infamy” that dishonored God and was a poison to society. But for me, it was too little, too late. The failure of the church to use its might and influence to stop slavery and instead to justify it as somehow connected to original sin made me angry. Papal bulls (e.g., “Dum Diversas” and “Romanus Pontifex”) condoned enslaving native people and stealing their lands.
Kareem and Kim Davis
Kim Davis became a high profile figure in the media when she refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses to gay couples. She broke the law and landed in jail. Many have likened her to a version of Sharia – Muslim law that believes it is superior than the law of the land. She is a “Christian Sharia” person. Sharia law does not respect the rights of others that are part of the civil law – this is what Kim Davis is doing. Here is what Kareem says bout her.
‘Americans have a long history of using religion to rationalize atrocious behavior,’ Jabbar writes in a column for Time Magazine.
Jabbar, the winner of six NBA championships, dissects the rally held in Kentucky this week upon Davis’ release from jail where she was being held for defying a federal judge’s order that her office issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis cited her religious beliefs as the reason for her defiance and she has gained the support of several Republican presidential candidates including Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz who were jockeying for the spotlight at the rally.
Jabbar quotes Cruz as saying at the rally: ‘Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith… I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally.’
Jabbar has this to say about that: ‘Perhaps Sen. Cruz forgot all the black and white Christian women who were arrested during the Civil Rights era. And the Christian women suffragists arrested in support of voting rights. And the Christian lesbian women arrested in support of gay rights. All for their belief that God wanted all people to be treated equally.’
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, another presidential candidate, had lauded Davis by saying that taking a stand as she did is ‘an important part of the American way.’
Jabbar points out that Jindal is right because ‘using religion to justify bigotry, exploitation of the poor, religious persecution, and war is part of the American way, but it’s an inglorious part that we have worked hard with noble resolve to put in our past.’
The 68-year-old Jabbar then provides a bit of a civics lesson for these Republican candidates trying to become the chief executive of the United States: ‘The reason we separate Church and State is because the Founding Fathers believed government should be guided by a balance of morality and reason, not blind religious faith.’