Thursday, August 19, 2010

reporting in

It seems time to make an appearance here. I've not posted in several days because it has been too tempting to rant, and that just didn't seem reader-worthy. I'm afraid that I've been a bit immersed in news stories: op-ed pieces in the Times, Huffington Post (I confess, the site is a bit addictive, especially since I catch up with Jon Stewart there), local news... I'm not sure it's a good thing to be so broadly "informed," as it gets my wee bit of Irish up. On the other hand there's been some damn fine reading out there.

At the top of my reading list, the Islamic Center in downtown Manhattan now known as Park 51. I generally stay away from CNN and MSNBC to avoid becoming a news junkie, so I'm not a follower of Keith Olbermann, but his piece on Park 51 is outstanding. Put in context, reasoned and challenging, it settles the dust that is being kicked up by so many conservatives. By contrast, Bill O'Reilly's mosque rant on Fox News offers no reasoning whatsoever, but name calling, and "what about the feelings?" questions.

Here's what I think about the feelings part of this controversy. Of course the feelings of family members of 9/11 victims matter. Their personal loss is intertwined with a wound to the American psyche, and processing and dealing with the grief and horror of that day is beyond comprehension. Each of them has their own journey to travel as they move into a future that is forever changed by that day. But where they are on that journey has no bearing on this. Ground Zero is not impacted by this. No one is being mocked by the plans of Park 51. The presence of a religious center that represents love and transformation, and promotes mutual respect and understanding is not an insult to those families or the residents of Manhattan. If anything this is a gift, a balm toward healing.

Al-Qaeda is not Islam any more than the KKK is Christianity. And here's the analogy that cuts to the heart of this. If a Christian church was to be built two blocks from the home of a family whose son was lynched, would anyone even notice? Repeat after me. Al-Qaeda is not Islam. 

Combating those who demonize Islam is a challenge. Two members of my church's leadership are totally closed to the notion that anything good can come from that faith, one of them vehemently so. It saddens my heart no end that those who claim to love Christ have such a narrow view. It is not news to anyone that many Christians behave in ways that don't resemble the model or commandments of Christ. That's a tough nut to crack.

As for the Dove World Outreach Church in Gainsville (talk about irony in a name) and their plan to burn copies of the Quran, I heard this morning on the news that they have been denied a burning permit. It's a small strike against hatred, but it's something.

Some excellent reading about the case for gay marriage is found here. I know you all have time for this!

Tomorrow I'll return to a more "normal" rhythm of blogging. And I'll try to stay off the political stuff.

Thanks for stopping by.

UPDATE: Another article about the Islamic Center. This is very well stated.


The Bug said...

Amen & amen! We had to quit watching Keith & Rachel because it got our blood pressure up. They're great, but the world is so insane sometimes & their job is to point it out.

Mompriest said...

good rant!

Wine and Words said...

Came over from The Bug.

I enjoy a good rant, a soap box display of passion. However, I went out to breakfast with my husband the other morning and we took the newspaper along. I rarely have time to read it, but that morning we read over coffee. I soon put it aside as my mood was darkening and hope shadowed by story and story of defeat, people feeling marginalized.

I didn't want to read it anymore. Ignorance is bliss? Perhaps. It feels like a cop out. Somewhere, a balance I have yet to find.

KimQuiltz said...


Barbara and Jimmy said...

How comforting it is to us to read the words that we would say if only we were as eloquent as you.

Carolina Linthead said...

"Al-Qaeda is not Islam any more than the KKK is Christianity." Wow! I intend to borrow it, shamelessly, next time I have to deal with a student (and there will be many "next times") who thinks all of Islam is what Al-Qaeda is. BTW, I also have to deal with secular friends who thing all Christians are like those folks in Gainsville...*sigh*

I understand what you mean about not wanting your blog to become an extended rant, believe me. Still, you rightly chose to express your deep-held convictions, and you did so with great care and considerable class. Thank you!

Jayne said...

You know I am right there with you my friend. We tend to have such knee jerk reactions to things without thinking them through. I quit watching Keith and Rachel after the election. I, too, found I was getting to annoyed about pretty much everything related to politics as usual.


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