From sea to shining seas, the land of the United States of America is scarred with the blood of martyrs, people who fell before a force bent on power and world domination. These cruel destroyers also pledged faith to a religion, and they claimed that this religion demanded that all other religions be expelled in the name of their one true God. More than that, they claimed their religion entitled them to the land of others, and required that they slaughter those who would not submit. Admittedly, even some of the more fanatical members of this religion would find genocidal slaughter unpalatable today. Nevertheless, I feel that all followers of this religion should be held responsible for the cruelty of particular individual adherents. These so-called "Christians" should be prohibited from building any more "victory churches" on the land of those who suffered, even if some surviving family members of the honored dead now consider themselves to be "Christians."
I write this to be sarcastic and facetious about the current debate over the Park51 project in Lower Manhattan. While I can imagine no better memorial to 9/11 than to erect a Sufi community center that honors and demands religious tolerance, the particular affiliation of Park51 is beyond the point. All religions are entitled to practice their faith freely as long as it does not involve murder. While I wish that I did not have to be harassed by Jews for Jesus on the New York City subways, we are supposed to tolerate the religious faiths of others, even if we don't like them or we object to activities undertaken by their followers. Although I was disappointed in President Obama's backtracking, I felt the need to post today because I was moved by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's speech last night on the Park51 project, the rights of Muslims to worship anywhere in Manhattan (rights hard-won by previous religious minorities including Jews, Quakers, and Catholics), and his send-up of Dumbledore. I believe that we are called to religious tolerance, and that Christians, of all people, should be realistic about, and sympathetic toward, the plurality of individuals who can adhere to one broader religious faith. More than that, the Constitution of the United States, which continues to rule over the blood of innocent individuals conquered in its name, nevertheless guarantees such freedoms. If you love the Constitution so much, then you have no choice but to support the building of a Muslim center anywhere, especially if it is, as Keith Olberman pointed out, not in fact at Ground Zero.
In memoriam, 2012
5 years ago