Lately I have been harboring a wee bit of unresolved anger toward a muslimah blogger whom I used to look up to quite a bit. She's a convert and I have sadly noticed her becoming more and more radical. She compared me to that of a racist over a difference in opinions- because I would not accept her side, I was suddenly an "enemy" of sorts. Simply not true! So I had to just stop following her blog because it stopped being a place for sharing ideas/different opinions from different faiths and started being a radical 'one way or the highway' kind of blog.
I have started to see this breakdown of communication between faiths, cultures, and politics in many places besides blogger and I am absolutely horrified by it and simultaneously saddened. Maybe I just never cared enough to see that we Americans (well I guess anyone who lives in a 'free' nation) really aren't as tolerant as we say we are. And why is this?
We have the Constitution and laws protecting us so that no one will be maligned or abused for personal beliefs, lifestyles, politics, etc. Everyone is welcome here! Basically it's the law to be fair-we have established rights, so what is with the hostility? We're all free to choose our own path, and others theirs, without fear. However, with these freedoms, we start to get so caught up in our "right" that we forget charity and the needed sensitivity needed in using/expressing those rights.
I really didn't want to post about the Ground Zero mosque, but as it is 9/11 and so much of the news is spent on this discussion, I felt it appropriate to make a point. 9/11 was conducted by radical muslims, those who lost concern for human life...life God Himself created. Not every single muslim should be held guilty for this crime, because most muslims are just as appalled as us non-muslims for the attacks that went down that fateful day.
I am 100% in support of muslim's rights and protecting them from disgraceful stereotypes. Do I have to feel or act this way? No, I could just as easily give it no thought like I do politics (couldn't care less to put my energy into it.) But I do make the effort because I know it is right and these are human lives...human emotions on the line. I need to make the effort because without this sensitivity for fellow man, we'll never bring peace to this world.
Now at the same time, Muslims need to reciprocate this sensitivity to the non-muslims in America...those who perhaps never even heard of Islam until the terrorist attack hit NYC. People lost family members, friends, coworkers, etc that day and sometimes human emotion runs so deep it's hard to heal without making irrational claims or harboring immense anger. Unfortunately, we humans always seem to need a scapegoat, and for 9/11 this has sadly become Islam.
We should be trying to heal these wounds together as a nation, Muslim along with non-muslim, teaching each other and condemning hate crimes. The issue I have with the mosque is not that of "do Muslims have the right to build a mosque 2 blocks from Ground Zero?" (Because yes America, they do! No matter how you try to twist it, it's their right.) But that there is no sensitivity in this decision. While we are people proud of our freedoms & rights, we are also a people guided by our hearts & emotions. Those in charge of getting the permits and everything in place are showing no charity toward those affected on that day. Perhaps there shouldn't be hard feelings toward Islam to begin with, but think about how the world reacts to violence in general:
How is the world handling the scandals within the RCC? Why is it that my Chinese friend is forbidden to date a Japanese man (her family harbors anger from the rape of nanking)? Or why did the Jews resist the RCC building a Carmelite convent close to the Auschwitz site years after the Holocaust had ended? Why is slavery still taught in a way to make caucasian students feel guilty? Why did my Lithuanian great grandparents dislike my Polish ones? Because humans have always, and will always (most likely), carry their pain & anger in their hearts & lash it out on the supposed "culprit" (even when those blames had nothing to do with the issue itself).
Those in charge are not paying attention to the utter uproar this is sparking across our nation. There is a Greek Orthodox Church that was damaged on 9/11 and the government won't give them their permits after 9 years, yet this mosque is all we seem to be talking about. The Muslim response to the resistance is that we Americans are biased, showing prejudice, etc when really it has nothing to do with the faith itself, but with association to the hijackers. If Baptists did this crime, and then wanted to set up a chapel, how would we react then? The same as in this situation. And Christianity would be slandered even more than it already is.
Believe me, I know what it is like to have my faith dragged through the mud. In my campus ministry groups, we vent that it has now become legitimate "education" to read Christian texts and tear them to shreds through discussion, commentary, essays, etc in the classrooms at our college. People mock the Pope to my face, saying his is a nazi or a child molester, I have been attacked over the fact that Christians caused the Inquisition, how Christian ignorance & anti-semetism caused people to kill Jews in the middle ages, etc etc etc etc....It's a never ending list of things I am guilty for...by association. Does it make it right? No. But I know that the hurt is still there, and in a way, Christians did mess up all throughout history and I need to keep that in mind so I can further the Kingdom of God by doing the opposite. I need to be sensitive to those who still harbor the pain and anger because Jesus would want that. I cannot make a tense situation better by FORCE, even if my rights permit me to do so.
This applies to the Pastor who wanted to burn Korans today. "What a foolish thing to do" was my first reaction, but then I went through the steps again: Is it his right to do this? Yes, freedom of speech. Should he do it? No. Why? Because it is utterly insensitive to Muslims who revere the Koran.
I know there are many who won't agree with this because it is hard to look past your own perspective and stand in someone else's shoes, even when that means taking flack from others for situations that were beyond your control. But we have control over the future. Will we use it to heal and understand God's other millions of children, or use it to propagate more tension and animosity? I sincerely ask you to please be patient, please be kind, and please be sensitive to those who still hurt so that someday we can come out of this world spotless!
May God Bless you all on this day & guide you in your choices,
My prayers go out to all those who lost that day.