Remember 2 weeks ago when I mentioned The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? There’s something going on in our country right now that is bothering me because it violates this rule and I think it’s worth a moment of our time.
It seems to me as if the things that are being done to Muslims at this moment in history are not in keeping with our country’s founding mandate that religious freedom is a basic human right.
I get email forwards regularly from people I consider to be very intelligent informing me that the Muslims are taking over our country and we must stop them because they are evil terrorists. Cries of “the Muslims are coming! The Muslims are coming!” aren’t just echoing through the series of tubes that is the internet. This is being reported in one sense or another on news networks such as Fox News on a regular basis. The stories are often about the threat that these nefarious people present to us, the real Americans.
In a 24 hour a day televised news world it was inevitable that fact would need to be supplemented by fiction to fill some of the time. But the news networks have been overrun by fiction and the worst part of that is that the people who watch this aptly named ‘infotainment’ no longer realize they aren’t listening to the work of the fourth estate in it’s traditional sense, they are being rattled, roused and entertained by media conglomerates who’ve eschewed their objectivity in order to take a side on the right or the left of the playing field.
And in the middle? There aren’t many people left standing on that lonely turf to moderate those on the fringes.
Some people really believe that all Muslims are terrorists. That just doesn’t make sense. Broad generalizations are always a failure of logic.
How would the Christians of this country be feeling if the sentiment was against them? What if they were all believed to be terrorists because people like Ted Kaczynski was one of them? What if some of us were still holding a grudge about the brutality of the Crusades? Would they like it if it was being done to them? I think they might fight back and defend themselves, and rightfully so.
One of the main hot button issues as we head into this fall’s midterm elections was created virtually out of thin air, residual fear and anger from the 9/11 attacks nine years ago. A married couple of middle eastern origin are at the forefront of a group looking to build a cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero. And on the top two floors of this building they propose to build a Muslim prayer center. And that is why they find themselves at the center of a hotly and sometimes violently debated brouhaha.
My point is, whether you think these people are going to build this center only as a base from which to drop bombs on the still scarred earth of Ground Zero or you think they have good intentions and want to use this country’s first amendment to bring cultural understanding to a country that sorely needs it, you are only having this issue shoved into your face because one side or the other thinks it will get them your vote.
It’s okay to hate the Muslims again because though they haven’t done anything they are not in the majority in this country and their voices are not likely to be loud enough to drown out the call to discrimination against them. So I guess they aren’t really taking over the U.S.A. quite yet or we’d be hearing complaints about the plethora of Christian and Catholic churches in close proximity to Ground Zero from politicians appealing to the Muslim majority.
I’m suggesting we remember one of the things that make this country great: our constitution. And the first amendment in our constitution gives us the right to practice any religion we choose anywhere we choose to practice it.
To discriminate against the cultural center’s building in that location and against the people who practice the Muslim faith makes us guilty of the very crimes we’ve traveled halfway across the world and mortgaged our financial future for many generations to fight in Iraq – religious intolerance. Does that make sense to you?
I think we should give the Muslim-American people the respect and dignity and first amendment rights that most of us take for granted.
And that is what I think about that.