Saturday, September 11, 2010
We can't inflict pain and expect to heal
Ordinarily on this day, I return to a letter I wrote in 2006 to my daughter who was attending preschool for the first time.
It talks about how I saw the country change in the years since Sept. 11, 2001 and how I hoped we could overcome fear and find true strength.
Today, and for months, it seems everyone in the mediascape is talking about a Christian pastor who has made a name for himself by threatening to carry out a very anti-Christian act – burning another religion's holy text. (Of course given the history of the Church of What's Happening Now, it may very well be in keeping with the many, many atrocities perpetrated in the name of Christ throughout time.)
Some folks believe this story has been blown out of proportion, and that he is a brand of nut that shouldn't get a crack at international exposure. Does national outrage take place when citizens of the world burn our flag or our presidents' image in effigy?
Whether true or not, the 24-hour news cycle will debate that, too. The media loves to analyze, interview experts and make pretty graphics to keep us all tuned in.
In this country, the freedom of speech protects this person't right to engage in racist rants. It protects his ability to destroy something held sacred by someone else as long as he hasn't stolen it from them. It also protects our right to be outraged.
The real issues aren't about this man and his ignorant threat. It's not about an Islamic cultural center's location two blocks from the World Trade Center site.
It's about tolerance and how little of it we as human beings have for each other. It's also about fear and how it can only lead us to destruction.
A mosque needs to be at Ground Zero, not just two blocks away. It needs to be there because American Muslims suffered there. Because American Muslims lost their lives there. Because American Muslims are serving this country in its war against terror. And most of all because American Muslims are part of our future as a nation. They are part of us.
When we soothe those who hurt we help them heal. When we help others heal, we heal ourselves.
For anyone who asks themselves “What Would (INSERT DEITY HERE) Would Do” if they come up with an action as hateful as this pastor, they are not in legion with a higher power.