Great article. I would add that all the things you have pointed out about Muslims are true about Christians as well. (Jews, too, but I’ll let my progressive Jewish friends write that reply.) Christians, like Muslims, are not all created equal. Some Christians are authoritarian and promote hate. In much of your article, Americans could substitute the word “Christian” in the place of Muslim. Instead of Sharia Law you could substitute Ten Commandments Law; both an emphasis on a gendered hierarchy of authoritarianism versus compassion. They use their respective “good” books to beat people up. Many have an empathy deficit, when what we need is an empathy surplus.
Those of us who find meaning in being part of an organized religion, AND, who believe in strong, broad, compassionate ecumenism could consider embracing the first creation story versus the second creation story. The first creation story, a story of a council of gods (Let “us” make man in our image, male and female) focuses on humanity’s cooperation — earth is given as a gift to all of humanity, no strings attached, to be cared for — and it was good. That story CAN be embraced.
The second creation story MUST be rejected. It’s a story of one of those gods going off on his own and setting up the first “gated community.” It’s an ugly story that denigrates HALF of all humanity.
We can work together. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Last Summer my congregation, Christ Episcopal Church, Dayton, OH, became the first faith community in the world to join the UN Global Compact. More faith communities are needed to encourage their congregants who are business owners or who work in government, academia, or non-profits, to begin to align their operations around Ten Principles of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.
When we do this we can realize what that council of gods wanted for us: freedom. And freedom is the strategic reason we need more empathy.