The idea of that makes me truly wonder, sometimes. Since the anniversary of September 11th comes this Saturday, the whole concept of this has been in the forefront of my mind. I’m scared, to be truthful. It’s like we’re sitting on a powder keg, waiting for someone to strike a match and set it off.

The lunatic pastor down in Florida has now apparently called off his Qur’an burning, which makes me breathe a relative sigh of relief . My thoughts grow morbid though as while he may have said he won’t do it, there’s certainly many other hatemongering kooks who’ll step in to pick up where he left off.

I’m heartened that faiths around the world are coming together in unity to condemn this behavior. I wish it was stronger, more public than a few scattered pronouncements. I am glad Christians all over are calling it a heinous act, because I don’t believe all Christians act like that nutter in Florida. I wish they’d do it more often when it comes to religious discrimination, because there’s a lot of other things they could distance themselves from, such as right-wing extremists, people who bomb women’s clinics, right-wing religiously motivated militias. If they truly love their faith, they should speak out against these very un-Christian behaviors. As for me, I still have to keep my own beliefs under the radar in some cases, because I’ve been the target of harassment by crazy Evangelicals. Yeah, we Pagans are getting more mainstream, but we still face discrimination and outright assault in some cases. My feelings on religious people are like what Mahatma Ghandi said: ‘I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians’ (okay, it’s a tad paraphrased because my mind is blanking on me).

In Hudson, New York, some sicko spray painted obscenities all over a mosque that has existed there peacefully for decades. No one has caught the scumbags who did it, and I sadly fear the cops never will. Either people are too afraid to identify the culprit, or they’re protecting their own and proud of the crime. There will be peace gatherings on Saturday and Sunday; I hope I will have the opportunity to attend at least one. It made my heart swell with joy to hear that, because it means that not all people of faith are hateful bigots. Blessed are the peacemakers; I salute you for that stand!

Of course, there’s still all the tempest in a Tea-Party pot over the interfaith center near Ground Zero. Maybe it’s a poor choice for its location, who knows? But let me ask you this: I have heard over and over how that whole area around Ground Zero is referred to as ‘sacred ground’. If that’s now ‘sacred ground’, why are there all those porno shops, X-rated movie theaters around there? If they truly mean that area is holy or sacred, then things that are desecratory should not belong there. No one’s protesting those places, but the interfaith center is. Am I missing something here?

In regards to 9/11, there seems to be a misconception that everyone who died there was American and Christian. Hello? WORLD Trade Center? There were people from all different nationalities working there, besides Americans. They were people of many different faiths, including Islam. I am NOT talking about the hijackers, because what they followed was pure hate, not religion. What happened that day hurt the whole world, and it happened on American soil. We should also not forget those who perished at the Pentagon, and the jet that crashed in a field due to the actions of some astoundingly brave passengers. Where were they from? Who were they? Some of them may have been from other countries, or had different faiths.

All this fighting over whose faith is better, or whose is more moral and righteous is pathetic. It’s the attitude of the Pharisees, in my view. It’s moral grandstanding in order to gain the most votes. Do we, as Americans, want to be known as the ‘land of the hatemongers’? If we can’t let go of hated born of willful ignorance, we will make that fact, and that’s not what I think this country is about. If God is love, and love is infinite, we should learn to recognize that in each other, regardless of what religion we follow. It doesn’t help anyone to denigrate, discriminate, and attack another faith on the basis of ‘because God said it was right’. If God, as some believe, created us human beings, how can we kill each other over God? It’s ridiculous and tremendously stupid. We deserve better than to be represented by a lynch mob of bloodthirsty religious maniacs–that goes for ANY religion.

I look forward to the day when we can see past the hatred, the lies and bigotry that has arisen because of religious intolerance. None of us are perfect, but we should be able to treat one another with kindness and respect. I PRAY for the day we can be peaceful with one another, in our faiths and in our daily lives.

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