By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
January 22, 2013
New Bern – Should U.S. taxpayers foot the bill to put dozens of Muslim books and other Islamic culture resources into American college libraries? U.S. Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) says no and is calling on his area community college to either reject the materials or show balance by adding an equal number of Judeo-Christian books.
Craven Community College in New Bern says it will accept the National Endowment for the Humanities’ grant that will add 25 books and a DVD among other resources totaling between $600 and $700 via the “Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys” program.
“It is appalling to me that a federal agency like NEH is wasting taxpayer money on programs like this,” Jones said in a press release. “It makes zero sense for the U.S. government to borrow money from China in order to promote the culture of Islamic civilizations.”
A poll conducted by WITN.com showed nearly 61 percent agreed with Jones that the college should not accept the grant, with another 25 percent saying it should be accepted only if there is equal exposure to books about Christianity.
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, commended Congressman Jones for taking a common sense stand and calling for balance in the library’s approach.
“It is time for folks in Washington to stand up against these ridiculous schemes cooked up with taxpayer dollars to promote issues that go precisely against the grain of what made our nation great,” said the Rev. Creech. “We’re not against libraries’ including insightful books on any and all religions, but we are adamantly opposed to this obvious preference for Islam which comes at taxpayer expense, while simultaneously every effort is zealously being made by our government to remove any vestige of Christianity from the public arena, especially our public schools.”
Not only does the college plan to circulate the Islamic books, including such titles as “The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam,” “The Story of the Qur’an,” “Muhammad,” and “A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America,” but the grant requires that it “organize programs that introduce the books and the Muslim Journeys themes to the library’s patrons and the broader community.”
Judy Eurich, a spokeswoman for the college, told the media, “Anytime we have an opportunity to apply for a grant that can get us money or resources that can enhance, say, our library collection, that’s really an important resource to us.”
The NEH grants are in collaboration with the American Library Association, which has said it wants to give the public credible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices. Rep. Jones wants to make sure Christianity is given equal treatment.
In a letter to the college Board of Trustees, he quoted a library policy guaranteeing that the college will “provide quality library services for its patrons that include current, diverse, and balanced resources,” and asked that they “give equal exposure to resources that deepen the public’s understanding of Christianity and America’s rich Judeo-Christian heritage.”
He further informed the board that the Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition had graciously agreed to donate 25 books on these topics for its circulating collection and said they would be happy to help the college organize a public event to introduce the books to the community — “the same type of event which the college committed to hold for the introduction of NEH’s Islamic books.”
Although Jerry Schill, co-chair of the Craven-Pamlico Christian Coalition, said Sunday that he had not yet received a copy of the college’s official response to Congressman Jones, he did speak with the college attorney, who said the offer of Christian materials would be accepted.
“After reviewing the response from the college as well as looking at what they will receive via the grant, we will discuss the appropriate materials to donate,” Schill said. “After reviewing grant provisions for the public events, we will request they do likewise from our perspective.”
He further noted that, unlike the books on Islam, any materials his organization provides will not require “federal monies or a federal bureaucracy.”
Earlier, Schill had told the media “… in light of the government’s role in keeping God out of the public square and the obstacles that Christians face when it comes to prayer and the ability to publicly proclaim our faith, it just seems more than odd that the federal government will provide a package of ‘Muslim Journeys’ to a number of colleges nationwide. It’s even more perplexing knowing the fiscal problems facing our nation.”
Rep. Jones represents North Carolina’s Third District, which includes the Outer Banks and the counties adjacent to the Pamlico Sound and also spikes inward through Duplin, Wayne, Wilson, Nash, Craven, Carteret and Pitt counties. To find his press release on this issue and a copy of his letter to college officials, log on to http://jones.house.gov/