You hear the word Freedom thrown around a lot. But what about the concept, as my friend RJ Evans says, of “Freedom and Liberty For All?” It’s a mighty phrase, and it can be aptly applied to so many different aspects of our existence. Today, however, I want to apply it to something specific. Rather, a specific demographic that has been connected to the recent terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Libya.
These attacks came on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. This was a horrific event that resulted in the deaths of US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, and three other United States citizens, including members of the US Military. It was initially thought that this attack was a protest in response to an Internet movie that was less than friendly to the Islamic Prophet, Muhammad. This, of course, played well into the fear that many Americans have toward Muslims.
Even Muslims who are also American citizens…
It was later discovered that these were actually two different events. There was a protest about the movie, but the protesters were there to express their dissatisfaction using conventional methods. Al Qaeda hijacked the protest and committed a pre-planned terrorist attack on the embassy. As a result, much of what I am being exposed to on the social networks and in the comments section of various news agencies demands that I address this in context to the concept of “Freedom and Liberty for All.“
Once again, the actions of some dimwitted psychopaths have succeeded in convincing a hugely disproportionate number of American citizens that this behavior is indicative of the entirety of the American Muslim community, and thus, all American Muslims are either terrorists or sympathetic to terrorism. This is not to say that there exist no Muslim extremists in the United States, but there are also Christian extremists here, as well. In fact, there are extremists of almost every ideology you can think of, and some of them have manifestos that are way more direct and pointed as to who deserves to be killed and for whatever bigoted reason their organizations have.
All of “Those People…”
The fact is, for the most part, your average Muslim in the USA are no different from your average Christian. They wake up, go to work, try to get their money to last until the month is over and wonder what the hell they are going to do when the car breaks down, the washing machine stops working, they get sick or any of the gazillion things that happen to your average person, living and working here.
When I hear derogatory comments that include the words “All Muslims” or “All Christians,” I cannot help but to think how horrible it is to replace those words with “All Black People,” “All Women,” and, yes, even “All Atheists.” People reply with verses in the Quran that point to commands for the death of infidels, and yes, it is true that in some areas of our planet there exist radical fundamentalist Muslims who act on these words and commit horrific acts of violence against anyone they feel has demeaned them or their prophet. This does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that “All Muslims” feel this way. You can argue the point until the cows come home, but I know enough Muslims that condemn acts of terrorism, bigotry and discrimination.
It’s funny, you know. Some Christian bombs and abortion clinics or Federal buildings or a public event or holds up pictures of dead babies while accosting medical patients as they enter fully legal clinics, or shoots physicians dead, and the general consensus is that they are not “True Christians,” but acting alone on a twisted interpretation of the Bible. Sorry, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Most Christians I know do not support these acts, and the only quarrel I have with them is that they are not vocal enough about it. At least when a radical Muslim does something batshit crazy, mainstream Islam issues report after report trying to let people know that they are not supportive of these actions.
Horrible Holy Books…
While a majority of Christians and some Muslims interpret their holy books from an allegorical point of view, there are many who see them as literal. Truth is, both the Bible and the Quran contain some horrible things, including commands to kill a variety of people for many different offenses, as well as utterly ignorant statements about things that have long since been debunked by science. There are more death-penalty crimes in these books than in the penal codes of any modern country for things as ridiculous as eating shellfish, wearing clothing of mixed fabrics or talking back to your parents. My point is that “Freedom and Liberty for All” applies to everyone. I don’t agree with fundamental religious doctrine. Not by a long, long shot. I don’t care where it comes from, either. But the Muslim deserves the same freedoms and liberties that the Christian does, that the atheist does, the Buddhist, the Hindu or anyone else in this country.
Bigotry begets bigotry, and we would do good to remember what happens when our citizenry adopts an attitude of bigotry because of the actions of a specific demographic. We interred tens of thousands of Japanese American citizens in detention camps on US soil during World War II out of fear. These were American citizens.
Don’t fall for it, my friends. All of any one demographic shouldn’t be lambasted for the actions of a few nut cases. That goes for atheists, as well. The worst thing that the mainstream of Islam and Christianity here in these United States can be accused of is indifference. Calling out the entirety of Islam here in the United States for being terrorists or potential terrorists by my fellow atheists disturbs me, Indeed. But when Christians – a group whose holy book demands almost the same divine obedience to kill and oppress, is nothing but sheer hypocrisy.
And as RJ Evans also says, the hypocrisy always reveals the lie.