Belief Beat

Lots of journalists and/or bloggers have weighed in on the Juan Williams-NPR-Muslims controversy over the weekend, with public opinion leaning towards “NPR was wrong/premature to fire Williams” line of thinking.

(Don’t cry for Williams: contrast to the departures of Helen Thomas and CNN’s Rick Sanchez this year, both for making comments that many found to be anti-Semitic, Williams has gotten a major career boost out of this mess — Fox News snapped him up immediately, signing him to a $2 million, three-year contract.)

Beliefnet debaters Lynn v. Sekulow seem to be on the same page, with Jay Sekulow criticizing NPR and calling for its “defunding.” (Just what we need — LESS funding for public broadcasting?)

Even Muslim Americans are divided on this situation: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had called for Williams to be fired, but other Muslims, including the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) have criticized the move. Check out for the links.

Over at Spiritual Politics, Mark Silk makes some interesting points about what else might make Williams jusifiably “nervous” — running into a Catholic priest and thinking about altar boys? Meanwhile, USA Today religion reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman wonders if Williams would also “freak out” at the sight of other kinds of ultra-traditional religious garb on a plane, or is it just Muslim — and how does that even make sense, given that the 9/11 hijackers looked completely secular?

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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