A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Faith in the Wrong Hands

The 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is upon us as a day to remember those loved ones America lost that day. This year feels different from the observances in the past. This year, the ceremonies are happening in an environment of bigotry and prejudice not against the attackers, but against the religious culture they believed in: Islam.

Regardless of whether we call ourselves Christians, Jews or Muslims, our beliefs are rooted in faith. Faith can be a good thing. It helps people cope with the day-to-day insanity known as modern life. Faith may not always give us an adequate reason why things happen the way they do, but it can help us understand that life isn’t always meant to favor us.

Then there are those who twist faith to reinforce their own bigotries and prejudices, even when such thinking flies in the face of the scriptural beliefs they claim they are following. The 9/11 attacks are an excellent example of what can happen when religious faith is twisted around. In the ensuing years, many in the evangelical Christian community have used the attacks to prove their belief that Islam is a violent religion. Forgetting all about the Crusades — when Christians and Muslims slaughtered each other — these same religious groups insist that their ideas are sound. Now it’s the Christians twisting their faiths.

Witness the following: the ongoing "mosque at ground zero" controversy has escalated into angry confrontations between followers from both sides, and there has been an increase in violence against mosques in Tennessee and California. This week, evangelical Christian leader Reverend Terry Jones vowed to burn copies of the Quran on 9/11 in his ongoing tirades against Muslim beliefs. His plans are on hold — at least at this moment in time, but stay tuned - pending the outcome of his meeting with the imam in Manhattan who wants to build the Islamic community center near, not at, ground zero. His planned bonfire has also been condemned by every right thinking civilized person with more than half a brain and a modicum of common sense all over the world.

There’s no escaping this conclusion: Islam has replaced the Nazis as the group Americans love to fear and loathe. The events mentioned above are all symptoms of the Islamophobia growing in the country. Even President Obama hasn’t escaped its wrath.

People who dislike President Obama have adopted the false notion that he is secretly Muslim. They can’t hate him for the color of his skin, oh no, that would make them racists. So they put the Muslim label on him, and now it’s okay to hate the president. It’s funny how Obama suddenly became a Muslim some time this year. It seems like only yesterday when he was catching flak for associating with an evangelical preacher who was taped espousing hatred against America. Back then, Obama was (and for the record still is) a Christian. The President can’t catch a break anywhere.

Fortunately, responsible religious leaders from all faiths are banding together this weekend to counter act the waves of hatred overwhelming America. A number of churches have plans to read from the Quran, in hopes of raising understanding about the true nature of Islam, and not the counterfeit beliefs that groups like al-Qaida can only spread through the use of violent intimidation. Their actions show that faith can be destructive in the wrong hands.

Speaking of wrong hands, I truly hope like most of the civilized world, that Reverend Jones cancels his Quran burning permanently. Perhaps the hundreds of death threats he has received won’t sway him. Perhaps the condemnations from the White House, political, military, and religious leaders won’t change his mind. Perhaps not even the possibility of Divine Providence - think a strategic bolt of lightning - won’t deter him from his nefarious plans.

Maybe this idea will convince him: Reverend Jones, Jesus is looking at you...and boy, he looks pissed!

(Thank you for reading. Please remember respect for religious faith begins with each one of us. Oh, but it’s still okay to continue loathing the Nazis!)


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