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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Let Love Rule

There are certain "holidays" that I don't know that I completely understand but when it comes right down to it I have absolutely no issue with. For example Flag day is celebrated on June 14th each year to commemorate the day the United States adopted our current U.S. flag. Makes sense now that you think about it doesn't it? Arbor Day is a holiday in April where people are encouraged to plant a tree. Seems simple enough, right? Peculiar People Day is an actual day celebrated in January each year. I know what you're thinking there is literally a day for anything & everything & you would be right. And while I'm thinking about it please don't forget there are only a few more shopping days left before everyone's favorite holiday National Beheading Day which comes up September 2.

Just because we don't understand each & every "holiday" doesn't mean we should judge their merit. That being said, I am struggling with a new "holiday" that is on the horizon. I'm sure we can all remember where we were when the World Trade Center was attacked. I was in an apartment in Daphne, AL getting ready to go to a doctor's appointment when I saw the second plane slam into the second tower & wondered what in the hell was going on. As the day unfolded I realized that this was something I would never forget & that life as we knew it would never be the same. Almost 9 years later I've gotten used heightened airport security but there's one thing I know I will never get used to...hate & judgement. I understand that the people that executed this horrific plan claimed to be doing so in the name of Islam. I also understand that just because a small group of radicals created one of the worst tragedies in U.S. history doesn't mean that all Muslims share this distorted belief. Finally I would be willing to bet that everyone that died in the 9/11 attacks were not all Christians. A number of faiths lost incredible people on 9/11/2001. All of this brings me to an event that is scheduled to take place on September 11, 2010 & was created by a group in Gainsville, FL. Of all the "holidays" I don't understand this newest one is the one I struggle the most with. A group of Christian radicals actually have created day that will be known as International Burn a Quran Day. Imagine if a town in India decided to create "International Burn a Bible Day." Can you imagine the outrage here in the U.S.?

I'm going to ask you to go back to your elementary school social studies class for a minute. Who remembers what the United States of America was founded on? I know elementary school was a while back for some of us so I will give you a second. The United States of America was founded on religious freedom. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM! One of the many things I love about being an American is that we have the right to worship how we want without the fear of persecution. Well @ least I thought we did. I believe it was French philosopher Voltaire that said, "I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Rest assured I do not agree with anything that this "church" in Gainsville is doing but I thank God that I live in a country where this is allowed. When I first heard about this day the only emotion I felt was anger. As I've thought more about it the anger was quickly replaced with pity & sadness. I truly feel sorry for anyone that feels destroying another religion's holy book is a good thing. I've read parts of the Quran just as I've read portions of the Bible & I can tell you that the fundamentals of Islam are not that far off from the fundamentals of Christianity. Are there differences? Of course there are. But the foundation is essentially the same. Every group or religion has pockets of extremists. There are Christian sects that have bombed abortion clinics or killed people in the name of Christ. I'm not a person anyone would ever called a theology expert but I do know that both Allah & Jesus preached love & acceptance, not division & hate.

We live in a world where people are so quick to pass judgement or hate someone because they don't look the same or worship the same. Why would anyone allow hate in their heart? Having hate in your heart seems like an oxymoron to me. Doesn't burning a holy book on one of the worst days in our nation's history take away from the people that lost their lives 9 years ago? This poor attempt @ a tribute is going to take away from the memorials & actual tributes that are scheduled all over this great country of ours. Let 9/11 be a day of remembrance & a celebration of the lives that were lost this day. Burning the Quran any day is a great example of people taking advantage of the rights this country has afforded them. I hope those of you reading this do not support International Burn a Quran Day but more importantly I hope that you don't let one group's narrow mindedness cause you anger. Let's change the dynamic on September 11, 2010 & instead of burning a Quran why not read a couple of passages from it so you will have a better understanding of our Muslim brothers & sisters. Like it or not we are all sharing this space we call Earth & I for one refuse to let something like a difference in beliefs be the reason I choose not to like someone. Everyone that knows me knows my religious beliefs are anything but traditional. But I refuse to accept that a loving God would want us to spend one second tearing down anyone. Let love reign on 9/11 & as Michael Franti says, "Power to the Peaceful."