This is What I Think
I’m not religious at all. I’ve had a history of questioning, doubts, and “that can’t be right” thoughts about some of the things I was taught/told. I didn’t like going to Sunday school and never really learned much from it. I claimed to be a Muslim for the longest time because that’s what I was born into, it was what my parents told me, and I didn’t want to make them feel bad or make them look bad in front of their peers if I was to say anything other than that publicly, when in all honesty, I don’t care what anyone else thinks about how I conduct myself.
I’m sure most of my family knows that I lead a pretty un-Islamic lifestyle. I don’t act like a heathen, I just live secularly. I’m still up in the air about God. If one exists, I don’t think this all-knowing entity really needs my reassurance that it’s the best. He knows what He’s done.
My parents did a fine job of raising me. I’m a responsible adult with bills that get paid every month, a fancy tree-hugger car and a great job. I am in a loving relationship, and have two cats that actually like my attention.
Religion did nothing more than instill good morals in me on how to treat other people and behave in society. This is essentially what all religions do.
Because of all this, I don’t like to get into religion or politics at all, because I will either end up with people with the same POV as me, which ends up with us patting each other on the back, or with someone that has an opposing view and will think whatever they say is right. Period.
So why have I been so caught up in the shooting at Oak Creek and the various hate crimes against Muslims/Mosques around the country lately? Because I believe the religions (and possibly race) involved don’t matter as much to mass media loving Americans. If a slew of churches were burned to the ground or shot at, it would be all over the place, and we can all guess who the bad guys would probably be.
Why aren’t the people who have committed these crimes called terrorists? Why are only local news stations telling these stories, and even for a couple of days? Why in the hell am I seeing people talking about Randy Travis’ DWI?
Fine, so most of America didn’t grow up Muslim or Sikh. Who cares? It’s a LOSS OF HUMAN LIVES and LOSS OF SAFETY AND PEACE in places that should be considered sanctuaries.
We are all humans. We live and work with each other every day and contribute to society together. Religion does not matter in the slightest. Why do some of us get the privilege of an outpouring of grief, and flags at half mast, and presidential visits and the others do not? How does one determine who deserves love and who does not? How can people be so oblivious to what is going on in their backyards? The regression of our country into Us vs Them?
I love my friends that have shown support, or have made an effort to understand what is happening and are sharing the articles I’ve been posting. I’d love if more of you took a little bit of time to see what’s happening in your country and how it might effect the people you know, or your fellow Americans, no matter their race or religion.
Praying to God can’t always make it better, but you sure as hell can.
I’m amazed by the positive feedback I’ve gotten on Facebook from friends and family, as well as on twitter, and from some of my coworkers this morning. It feels good to know that a lot of us are on the same page and that I managed to sum up what a lot of people have been feeling. Hopefully this can open up some discussion as well as inform people who are otherwise clueless to what’s been happening this month.
Thank you, so much.
After a little exchange with Scott Berkun on Twitter, I’ve decided to add a few links to news stories and articles about the various crimes as well as two pieces on the lack of coverage on the gurdwara shooting and mosque incidents. I’m not a writer, so citing things is beyond me, but at least I can correct myself. Links are below.
An American Tragedy by Naunihal Singh. A great piece about the poor coverage on Oak Creek.
Why the Reaction is Different When the Terrorist is White by Conor Friedersdorf
Hate Punk & Kirtan: Musical Overtones In The Wisconsin Sikh Temple Killings by Amrit Singh. A bit of a different take that focuses on the message in the music. It also touches on Amrit’s experience of growing up Sikh in America.