KIRKWOOD, MO (KTVI)-- An e-mail from a powerful Missouri lawmaker attacking Muslims is drawing fire from Christian pastors in the lawmakers St. Louis County hometown.
State Representative Rick Stream of Kirkwood chairs the house budget committee. He sent out an e-mail from his official state account a week ago, attacking Muslims. Representative Stream has refused to comment, but Christian ministers in Kirkwood are saying plenty.
Representative Stream sent an e-mail from his office to all other Republican representatives, senators, and staff personnel in the general assembly.
The e-mail quoted an 1899 speech from Winston Churchill attacking Muslims and Islam.
It read, in part quoting Churchill:
“Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. Islam is a militant faith. Churchill saw it coming.”
The Riverfront Times broke the story and said Stream had not responded to their request for comment. So we tried.
His office didn't respond to our calls and e-mails, so we went to his office in the state capitol. And he didn't emerge from behind the closed door in his office, so we went to his Kirkwood district.
There aren't a lot of Muslims in Representative Stream's district, but there are a lot of Christians, so we decided to ask the pastors of three churches close to Stream's campaign headquarters in Kirkwood what they think of the e-mail, starting with the pastor of the Methodist Church across the street.
“I think that kind of stuff is generally destructive and incendiary. I want to look at Muslim brothers and sisters, especially the ones who are American citizens as just that,” stated Associate Pastor Rocky Marlowe of United Methodist Church of Kirkwood.
“What you did is an embarrassment and I am ashamed to be considered part of your area of representation. You should be ashamed,” said Reverend Maureen Killoran of Eliot Chapel Unitarian Church.
“This just seems to be so over the top and aggressive in a really weird way. I would just invite him to just sit back and think about what he's doing,” said Pastor David Holyan of First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood.
Stream says he's been a member and a leader of the Greentree Community Church in Kirkwood for years. His church did not return our phone calls for comment.
We had tweeted that this story was on our 6 pm newscast. After not hearing from him for days, we immediately got a reply tweet from Representative Stream that he had a statement. He e-mailed it to us.
It read, in part:
“The message contained commentary from Winston Churchill. My forwarding of the email does not in any way represent an endorsement of its content. It was simply a message that was passed along to me that I found interesting.”
From our story, it seems some of Representative Stream's constituents found it interesting too.
Full Winston Churchill Quote:
"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.
A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.
Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.
No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient
Sir Winston Churchill; (Source: The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 London)