A Magnificent Gesture
It is no secret that I generally shy away from discussing and/or commenting on political and religious issues. But, today, I cannot ignore writing about the truly magnificent gesture by Muslims in response to the murder of Rev. Jacques Hamel, an 85-year old reverend that was killed Tuesday in France by Muslim fanatics. Here is a link to the article, Muslims go to Catholic Mass in France, Italy for Solidarity. But in a nutshell, Muslims in France and Italy attended Sunday Mass showing their compassion and interfaith solidarity. And I don't mind saying, I have not seen as great an act of love from their Christian counterparts.
There is one notion that I hold sacred and that is "everyone thinks that the way they believe, both in religion and politics, is the correct and only way to believe" and will spend endless amounts of time working to convince others of their validity without, in fact, spending endless amounts of time identifying worthy facts in support of what they believe. Truth is, most of the time I think the views of these people so set on making everyone else believe as they do are fanatical, without factual evidence, and so fear based that they themselves scare me as much as radical or maybe non-radicals Muslims even, scare them.
Recently I saw a picture of a young American woman, standing in front of an American flag, holding a Bible in her left hand and an AK-47 in her right. In the picture below her I saw a Muslim woman of about the same age standing in front of an Islamic flag, holding the Qur'an in her left hand and an AK-47 in her right. Dumfounded, I had to ask, “What is the difference between the two?” Was the top picture comparing a radical Christian to a radical Muslim? I really don't think so.
Studying the picture, I sadly came to realize that the Christians touting the top picture with a sense of pride did not see anything wrong with the image and actually think this is how all Christians believe. Not surprising, in the second image they see the Muslim girl as a fanatic. However, anyone comparing the images that cannot see the striking similarities, are the same type of people, in my opinion, who looked at the Jews during the Holocaust and could say with a straight face that they were not human. It is shameful!
When I saw the picture it made my stomach hurt and I am embarrassed these radical Christians have become the representative image of all Christians in the United States. I am personally insulted to be lumped in with this type of Christian.
Watching the news and politics surrounding the race for a new U.S. president, the majority of these folks appear to be ultra conservative Christians that call themselves Republicans. In fact, in today's world, it seems to me that the terms are synonymous. If they are not, I need someone to elucidate the discerning facts to me. These very same people often quote the Bible to validate only the things they want validated, believe in their right to bear arms - as one of their "God-given rights", and tend use the government in the same way. They want the government to be involved in what they think is important otherwise it needs to butt out.
I would hope that regular Christians, even those that believe in the right to bear arms, do not agree nor appreciate being lumped into the category of the God-fearing Christians that are permeating and dominating the political factions right now. Truth told, I know so many great Christian people that cannot tolerate how their religion is being blighted by these religious zealots, but no one speaks out or stands up against them. I am sure non-radical Muslims feel the same way.
By not speaking out, we are allowing the one right that really should stand out in America, the right to religious freedom, to be trampled on. Again as the adage goes, if you believe as I do, then you are okay. But if you are Muslim, forget about it. The day we start drawing those lines in the sand, we are no different than the countries the Allah-fearing peoples are fleeing. And in case you are not aware, Allah means God.
It would do us all good to remember that if you do believe in God, that we are ALL God's children. The Puritans came to America seeking religious freedom. Catholics, Jews, etc. were looked down upon in early America. We need to be gracious to people of other faiths. In fact, I challenge every American to test and grow their own religious boundaries by attending services of religions different from their own. Only by learning do we begin to realize that we are not all that different.
The majority of Muslims do not support or want to be associated with radical Muslims any more than the majority of Christians want to be associated with the KKK.
Radicals are radicals, whether they be Muslim or Christian or any other faith for that matter.
Crazy is crazy and not dependent upon religious beliefs. It is up to the worthy in America to learn the difference and educate ourselves and others against religious biases. If not, we are no better than the extremists of any faith.