The president of the Southern Baptist Convention is taking heat for sitting down for a feel-good discussion with a controversial Muslim scholar and failing to criticize Sharia and defend Jews.
JD Greear shared the stage last week with Omar Suleiman at North Carolina State University as part of an interfaith dialogue presented by The Veritas Forum, which brings faith-based thinkers in front of college students.
Even before their first words were spoken, the two guests brought their own controversies: Greear has been accused by some Southern Baptists for overseeing a leftward drift of the world’s largest denomination. Suleiman, meanwhile, has been criticized by Islamic watchdogs for openly calling for Sharia laws in the West, and for describing Jews as "monkeys" and the enemies of God, and for calling for the destruction of Israel.
In a radio interview about the Veritas event, Dr. Andrew Bostom, a Jewish scholar who studies Islam and Jihad, told radio show host Janet Mefferd that Suleiman and his Islamic views are well-known and not hidden from public view.
Therefore, Bostom concluded, Greear either had to be “terribly uninformed” about the Islamic scholar’s views or the SBC president was consumed with “willful uninformedness” about his fellow guest.
“I find that very insulting,” he said of Greear’s failure to address Sharia supremacy, for example, and the Islamic scholar’s documented sermons in which he explains why the Koran refers to Jews as apes and pigs.
Mefferd went on to play clips of Suleiman defending and advocating Islamic laws, such as stoning, for her audience.
Greear, however, used the forum to criticize Christianity and to tiptoe around Islam.
“Civically, we believe in the freedom of religion,” Greear said of his fellow Christians. “And that means that we need to be able to not only get along with but to cherish and to stand alongside of – and even fight for – people who believe different things than we do.”
Greear’s feel-good message was ripped on-air by American Family Radio talk-show host Abraham Hamilton III. He contrasted the SBC leader’s feel-good message to the Old Testament prophet Elijah when he confronted the prophets of Baal, the pagan god of the ancient Canaanites.
“This is the same guy,” Hamilton said of Greear, “who was talking about we should have pronoun hospitality as Christians. Man, what is wrong with this dude?”
Elsewhere in his talk, Greear predictably mentioned a topic that has become a familiar one from some prominent SBC leaders: Apologizing for race and privilege.
“[Mulims] deal with some things that we don't have to deal with,” Greear claimed, “and that needs some appreciation and some humility on our part to listen.”
“How are you supposed to be a representative of the largest Protestant denomination in America, and you're apologizing for Christianity?” Hamilton responded on his radio show. “It was a sickening display. It was utterly putrid for any person who professes to know the Lord Jesus Christ.”