Monday, August 30, 2010

To Quran Burners and Mosque Vandals

Your decisions to burn and vandalize are disappointing to say the least. Your respective communities should be disappointed as well for, at minimum, two reasons: 1). either you will not or cannot understand the construct of the first amendment to the United States Constitution; and 2). you cannot or will not accept your Christian obligation to love your neighbor.

I am stepping out on a limb here in my assumption of your religious orientation; at best you are culturally Christian and your chosen emotional decry reflects the manner in which 9/11, Islam and mosque construction affects you, causing you to forgo your capacity to love enough to prevent evil from gaining yet another foothold in our society. I believe that you are capable of love. Your capacity is illuminated in your passionate response to what you perceive as threats. Your own emotions, the media frenzy, and the manifestation of the fears of those closest to you have eclipsed your ability to think lovingly and critically about your actions; your inherent goodness as well as your Christian sensibilities have been compromised, thereby making you unwilling and unable to see the mandate for and the potential beauty of a more Christ-like response to your Muslim neighbor.

If you and countless others could step back for a moment, suspending the suspicion and bigotry that often accompanies that which we do not understand, and the sentiment that attends fear, the value of allowing others the freedom to build and believe is unmistakably clear.

If Christians and Muslims practice their faith authentically and in accordance with the tenants of their sacred texts, then Evil will have a formidable enemy in your community. The good that each faith conveys can trump Evil in every corner it resides in each of your neighborhoods. The harmonious existence of the two faiths has the potential to revolutionize a generation of youth, giving way to respectful, temperate, and lovingly tolerant young believers in both faiths. To be clear, our youth are watching and imitating our responses to this and every crisis of bad behavior we demonstrate in this cultural war. If we continue to remain at odds, our collective behavior will repel our youth away from the church or the mosque altogether, making the adults, both Christian and Muslim, accountable for the young seekers who failed to find God in either Islam or Christianity.

Neither side has the right to hide behind hate while claiming its market share of the deity. No one wins in an atmosphere of so much hate. Neither the God of Islam, nor the God of Christianity require our hateful deeds or pretentious defense. What is required is our faith and loving behavior toward all of humanity.

So, while you are out with your matches and spray paint, ask yourselves, “which one of my neighbors went without food, shelter or a kind word because I was busy burning a Quran or illegally defacing another person’s property”? And allow me to ask you, “where is the love of God in your destructive behavior”?

I am writing not as a follower of any particular faith, but as a concerned citizen, hopeful for a community in which people actually live by the tenants of the faith they have chosen to embrace in the security of a country which promises them right to do so; a community that chooses loving service over emotional destruction, thereby opening the door of love and shutting tight the many avenues of hate.

(c) 2010 Cammie.  All rights reserved.