Los Angeles Times, Dec 6, 2003
One of the nation's leading evangelical Christian seminaries has launched a federally funded project for making peace with Muslims, featuring a proposed code of ethics that rejects offensive statements about each other's faiths, affirms a mutual belief in one God and pledges not to proselytize.
The $1-million project, initiated by Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, is being hailed by both sides as a pioneering attempt to ease continuing conflict. But, in an illustration of sharp theological divides, some conservative evangelicals are challenging the ethics code and asserting that they do not believe in the same God as Muslims.
Tensions between Muslims and evangelical Christians have been aggravated by a series of negative remarks about Islam by national evangelical leaders since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Those included the characterization of Islam by evangelist Franklin Graham as an evil religion, and assertions by the Rev. Jerry Falwell that the Prophet Muhammad was a terrorist and by the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, that Muhammad was a "demon-possessed pedophile."
The Fuller project, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (news-web sites), is intended to develop practical peacemaking practices for Christians and Muslims, publish a book about them, and train local communities in their use. It is the latest of several efforts that Fuller has launched since Sept. 11 to build bridges with Muslims.