Sunday, August 5, 2012

On Faith, Fear and Terror

As I sat here today watching CNN, I was again sickened by an act of terror taken out by someone who chose to enter a building of worship simply to inflict pain.

This isn't the first act of domestic terrorism to come to a church's doorstep in the United States, nor do I believe it will be the last.  Whenever we extoll one faith as THE way, we dismiss the views of others. Often I have seen fear and misunderstanding turn to hate. Really as I watched today I was taken back to a time and place when I actually was scared because of my faith.

Back in 1998, I was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and lived in Ruidosa, New Mexico. During the month of May of that year, 4 Mormon churches were desecrated and the stake center ( the congregational meeting for a large geographic area) was burned to the ground. Luckily no lives were lost, but hundreds were left without a place of worship for a time.

I remember well the damage done to my own church building, I remember the fear that was felt by members of the church, I remember well the men who decided they would start guarding the local buildings to try and prevent more damage. I remember well the gratitude when an arrest was made. But I also remember trying to understand why someone could act in such a way, what could cause such hate.

Then after that 911 happened and since  911 I have asked that question quite a few times as I have watched the dialogue of so many who spew hate, and when hate becomes embed it is easier to make an excuse for an act that will terrorize other, damage property and even end in death. The hate needs to stop. There needs more dialogue between those of different faiths. There needs to be understanding. If you believe in a GOD, you need to embrace the first fundamentals of any faith.

I have yet to have found a faith that is not based on love, on kindness, on submission to God, this is the common denominator I have found in all the faiths I have encountered and studied whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, and Hindu. There are things that do bind all faiths, we need to embrace those more. We need to take a stand for each other, and show the love and kindness that are own faiths are built on.

As the Sikh community tries to recover from today's tragic events, may those of us who are of other faiths step up beside them and encourage them and bless them, as we go forward how about reaching out to that neighbor who is just a little different, to that person who dresses different, prays different etc., you never know what you might learn-you may find you have many things in common. I know I have and I am thankful for that.


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