Grasshopper Soup: warning – politics and religion
Special to the Sun
Legally, the mosque near ground zero in New York City may be built because religious freedom is absolute, and acts of violence by a small minority of Muslims around the world against different countries and faiths are no reason to restrict anyone’s religious freedom. When it comes to defining and granting religious freedom, nothing matters more than the absolute idea of freedom itself. That is true, theoretically.
Extremists will seek power wherever they can. A mosque for Muslims only is an ideal place to start. What church doesn’t reach out to its own lost sheep? If connections don’t already exist between the new mosque and extremists, the potential is certainly there. The question then becomes, does religious freedom include the right to promote the idea of complete submission of anyone to despotic, totalitarian religious rule? No, it doesn’t. In America we expect our churches, mosques and synagogues to preach peace.
A Muslim group spokesman said to an American journalist on TV, “Give us one good reason to love America and we will forget the hundred reasons we have to hate it.” The journalist was unable to respond, so she gave no reason to love America. She was probably so shocked by the cold negativity filling the room her larynx froze. She was probably scared to death by all the hate surrounding her.
A hundred reasons to hate something does not make you a happy person, it makes you a person with a hundred reasons to seek therapy, or some explosives. You could have tried love 99 reasons ago and be well on your way to being free, and enjoying life.
Those Muslim men need to see Lake Tahoe. Maybe seeing Emerald Bay would give them a reason to love America, by reminding them that every one of us is a child of Allah. But, when you talk yourself into 100 reasons to hate, even Lake Tahoe looks ugly.
Only an infidel would want to destroy love and embrace hate. All you need is one reason to hate and you deprive yourself of love. Having 100 reasons to hate makes some people so angry they are no longer free, and want everyone else to be as miserable as they are.
Obviously, a major disparity exists in the way people of different religions view God. But Allah and Yahweh, and Mohammed and Jesus are cool with each other now, and so are Isaac and Ishmael, even Hagar and Sara, although they might prefer different wines.
God, Allah and Jesus probably all look alike anyway, and fill in for each other at churches, synagogues and mosques around the world, like mischievous triplets who fool everybody.
But we are not God, and infidels can be found in all religions. If you can’t love an infidel, you might as well hate everyone, because nobody is perfect. Love an infidel today.
Allah is the God of Love, not hate. He doesn’t want us to kill each other for not knowing his real name or which book he wrote. True Muslims value everyone’s right to build a church wherever they want, as long as they are peaceful about it.
Some Muslims want Sharia Law imposed all over the world. They may be an insignificant minority, but minorities grow. If that means someday subjecting ourselves to one of the most severe, restrictive and cruel set of laws found anywhere on earth, I would rather die.
This is not about fear; it is about common sense and reason. By its very nature, religious freedom was born in opposition to religious totalitarianism.
If religious freedom is absolute, nobody will monitor religious absolutism, except covertly, because it could be very costly. Religious institutions, like governments, are no strangers to violence. If some in the Catholic Church protect pedophiles, who says a mosque wouldn’t harbor hate? Does the exterior beauty and splendor of a mosque reflect what goes on inside?
We would be fools to dismiss these questions.
Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, ski instructor and commercial driver. He’s lived at Lake Tahoe for 27 years.