Beating Up Baptists

Excerpt from Chapter 3 of The Sword of the Lord. Baptists were an oppressed and disreputable religious community in American before the Revolution. They were attacked, beaten, jailed, and ostracized for the offense of creating their own churches outside the established Church of England. Baptists therefore, led the drive to enshrine the separation of church and state in the new United States Constitution.


My friend Michael Wolfe is a Muslim poet, filmmaker, and essayist. He wrote this amazing poem and sent it to me on March 20th, just one day after Egyptian voters capped this spring's democratic revolution in Egypt by approving a new Egyptian constitution by an overwhelming 78%. Michael gave me permission to publish the poem here.

The best listener

Perhaps the steepest challenge any of us face is being able to look at the world from someone else's point of view. So when I meet people who have beliefs I consider inane or reprehensible, my first instinct is to judge, condemn, and reject them, and then to explain exactly how they are wrong because I am sure if they only use a little common sense they will see the world my way. Over the past years of writing my book, I learned that the world is richer and more interesting if I begin by asking honest, positive questions, and then listen intently so I can learn from others.