Lowe’s, Liberty and Tolerance

The following letter entitled, “Lowe’s should not limit inclusiveness” recently appeared in my local paper. My reply to the letter, being sent to the paper, follows.

The following letter was sent to Robert A. Niblock, chairman, president and CEO of Lowe’s Companies Inc., Wilkesboro, N.C., with a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.

We are writing to express our disappointment regarding Lowe’s decision to withdraw its sponsorship of the TLC television show “All-American Muslim.”

We recognized that Lowe’s has a perfect right to sponsor or not sponsor programs, but in this case it appears that this withdrawal was in response to pressure from the Florida Family Association because it presented Muslims as normal, law-abiding Americans, not as jihadi terrorists.

The Florida Family Association contends that “most Muslims are a clear and present danger to liberty and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.”  On the contrary, it is David Caton and his organization that is a threat to American values by spreading a message of unwarranted fear.

Lowe’s has a very admirable corporate statement about welcoming diversity among its employees.

We would hope that Lowe’s does not limit its inclusiveness to persons of color while ignoring other groups.  We note that the Florida Family Association has also campaigned against programs and companies that have supported issues related to sexual orientation. And now it’s Muslims.

We will no longer shop at Lowe’s and will encourage others to refrain from patronizing these stores.  As Christians, we cannot do business with a company that supports hate and fearmongering about the religion of our neighbor.

Peace on Earth and good will to all!


Dear Cape Gazette Editor,

I’m writing in response to the letter published by the Cape Gazette [12/30/11] that two readers sent to the CEO of Lowe’s. The readers objected to Lowe’s decision to withdraw advertising support for a television show that presented Muslims in a favorable light.

I entirely disagree. Lowe’s withdrawal of advertising support for this program is simply an honest recognition of fact: Islam, as we know it, does not stand for tolerance, diversity or anything close. While it’s true that everyone should be judged as an individual, it’s likewise impossible to pretend that the dominant trends of a particular religion or movement are not what they are. I’m sure there were Nazis who at first didn’t grasp what Hitler’s movement was all about, and some of them certainly didn’t want to kill millions of innocent people. But none of this changes the nature of the movement itself.

To my knowledge, Islam holds one distinction that no other major religion shares: To impose its religious laws (known as Sharia law) on the population, by brute force if necessary. Fundamentalist Christians get a lot of flak for trying to impose their will on the whole population about homosexuality and abortion. I share in giving them that flak. But when those who oppose fundamentalist Christians on these points look the other way at Muslims who propose the same thing on a much wider and more hideous scale — what gives? In Islamic countries, for example, gay people are stoned in the public square and women are literally treated as property, forced to cover their faces. How tolerant and liberal is this? And why do liberal-minded people minimize or ignore it?

If Islam is such a religion of peace, as both our current and previous presidents have repeatedly claimed, then where are the moderate Muslims? Why aren’t the peaceful Muslims protesting in the streets against Iran, al Qaeda and all the others who promote intolerance and hatred? If I were Muslim and really believed Islam was a force for good, I would consider those promoting evil in the name of Islam to be the worst type of people imaginable. Of course, there are individual Muslims who don’t believe in violence. But that doesn’t change the nature of what the movement is, what its leaders most often promote and what they practice with remarkable consistency.

When you refuse to call a spade a spade, you end up with things like Nazi Germany. When you tiptoe around the truth, and pretend that all actions and ideas are morally equivalent, you end up in a lot of trouble. Am I intolerant when it comes to intolerance? You better believe I am. When you oppose the worst of human nature, you’re simultaneously upholding the best.

Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.