Rights & Tolerance | December 9, 2004
E-Mail to a Family Friend
Response to Her Concern Over a Boycott of
Postage Stamps Commemorating a Muslim Holiday
understand the heartbreak and anger -- NO ONE wants to
EXTERMINATE every last terrorist on Earth more than I do. NO ONE.
it just is not right to condemn a billion Muslims -- mostly God-fearing, hard-working, charitable men, women, and
children -- for the acts of bad Muslims (hotheads
exploiting the fears of other, usually desperate people), any
more than it would be right to condemn all Christians for the
acts of bad Christians (and I am not going to make a list of
our individual and collective sins -- as we recognized in Mass
yesterday, only the Virgin Mary was born without the stain of
original sin; and from Torquemada to Hitler and even in our
own daily lives, each of us commits acts offensive to the
made a point of saying, "Let he who is without fault cast
the first stone" and "Love your enemies"
(although I'm sure that Christ is blessing, not
condemning, our armed forces destroying terrorist
organizations before they can kill again). I cannot
forget that Jesus Himself made a lot of enemies by reaching
out in friendship to the despised people of his day, like
the Samaritans and the Gentiles...He made a special point of
letting us know that we are all God's children.
wish all of us worshipped God in more the same way, although
as a Catholic (which literally means "universal") I
truly appreciate and enjoy the wonderful diversity of truly heartfelt
ways in which people the world over praise our Lord and I'm
sure God Himself is touched by those outpourings of love.
have always been and will always be a Christian -- I am
not a Muslim or a Jew, even though they worship the very same
God the Father as I do. I try to tell people -- by word
and, more importantly I've been taught, by example -- that the
message of Christ (who IS "the Word made
flesh") and of the Holy Spirit, which inspires and
guides us, is true and good. But I realize that not
everyone will come to believe the same as I do; and we've seen
how in totalitarian countries how futile and wrong it is
to try to enforce beliefs for or against one
particular religion or another -- as we all know, America
was founded by those seeking freedom from religious
persecution, Christians and non-Christians alike (Ronald
Reagan even added that America not only promises all
citizens freedom OF religion but also freedom FROM
religion, if they so choose; and we know that he was no
Washington wrote a famous letter to the Jews, promising
them protection in America, as long as they were good
happily the Government of the United States, which gives to
bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires
only that they who live under its protection, should demean
themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions
their effectual support."
finally, remember that on 9/11 the thousands of victims included
-- indiscriminately -- people of all faiths and from all
around the world. We should keep alive the spirit of
LOVE that went around the world in those days, which, as Jesus
promises, is far more powerful than the spirit of hatred.
the Muslims themselves say, when confronted with injustice, in
the end God will be the ultimate judge of us and our deeds. And as Jesus commanded, "Love God with your whole heart,
mind, and soul. And love thy neighbor as thyself."
I'm only going to buy "Flag" and "Madonna"
stamps; but if others want to buy "Star of David",
Muslim, or any other stamps (which wouldn't have gotten
printed by the U.S. Postal Service if President Bush had
objected), and they are law-abiding citizens, then God bless 'em
and let's not fight amongst ourselves -- we're ALL Americans
and, as Benjamin Franklin said, "We must all hang
together; or assuredly, we will all hang separately."
Only Osama Bin Laden wins if we divide and conquer ourselves.
me if I didn't get all the quotes just right; I'm just working
off the top of my (empty?) head)
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