Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tolerance in the Wake of 9/11

Let's face it.....9/11 was a day that shall live in infamy in the United States of America. As well it should. Let us get a few facts straight at the outset. A small group of Al Qaeda extremists caused the death of over 3000 people by taking control of 4 flights, impacting both of the World Trade Towers, another into the Pentagon and the last impacted into a field after passengers forced it down.

I, as do most Americans, know where I was and what I was doing as my heart sank into my chest and tightened. I was heart sickened, shocked, angered and deeply saddened. I had also come to see the reality of life and that people that want to do horrific things could impact me and my family. So at what point did we also come to blame all of Islam and the Muslim population as a whole worldwide? Where is our logic and have we not seen this behavior before? No? Really?

I am not a warmonger. I am also not quick to judge others. Now let us look at some of the ridiculous behaviors that have happened since that day. I will stay with the most current. We are involved in 2 wars. Many more Americans and Muslims and others have died as a result with little truly accomplished. There has been an Islamic Community Center by the site for a very long time (more than a year) and now it is an issue. There are Christian Pastors wishing to burn copies of the Quran. Why?

Here is my view. I have met, and remain friends with many people of Islamic and Muslim faith. I am friends with many of varied faiths. It amazes me that we are taking a "holier than though" and "absolutes" approach. This was a very small group of extremists that caused this and other events. Jihad is an extremist view held by people of extreme beliefs.

If we look back on history we can find events that have been caused by virtually every faith that could be held in comparison and some even exceed this violation and the loss of life. The Crusades. The writing of the Maleous Maleficarum aka "The Witches Hammer", written by 2 catholic priests. This book brought about "the inquisition/the burning times". The ongoing battle over the Gaza Strip. The Mountain Meadows Massacre. At what point do we deem ourselves "holier than thou?"

I think we need to take a personal inventory,of sorts, and make a decision to try to be more tolerant of other faiths. We all realize that there are parts of other faiths that we disagree with, thus, the vast number of faiths that exist. Does this mean that we become elitist in our own faith? Where do we justify the "we are right and they are wrong" mentality? Or do we simply shut down that part of our intelligence and logic so we can rationalize our corresponding poor behavior?

Don't get me wrong........people that perpetrate these types of actions can, and should be, punished. But do we punish everyone that has a similar belief to the offenders? If we did that, we would not have a human race to worry about. At the very least we would have anarchy worldwide.

In closing I ask each and every one of my readers to stop and think. How many more people do we need to lose before we learn tolerance? Justice obtained through violence is not justice. It is illogical tyrrany and makes us no better than those we are persecuting. "An eye for an eye" means the perpetrators eye, not a mass group of people of similar faith. We need to begin thinking with our minds instead of our raw emotions before the world as we know becomes nothing but a war zone. Our survival depends on it. Tolerance means not forgetting but forgiving and understanding the source.

Nathan Jeffery has been Wiccan for 20 years and remains outspoken about bringing this faith into the public knowledge. Not for ridicule or degredation, but for the proud people who also just happen to practice this faith as he does, without secrecy or shame.


helen said...

very nicely written, I loved it..
Helen Marie

Kat said...

Love your blog! It reminds us we all should keep an open mind to all things.

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