Here we go again.
Terry Jones, the rogue pastor in Florida, burns Korans as an act of “resistance and revolution” in his effort to keep the United States by being overrun by Islamic clerics and Sharia law. And, halfway around the world Islamist extremists retaliate by burning churches and calling for him to be put to death.
And, all this becomes a headline in the news and the public face of religion.
It is enough to make one sick.
I heard all this with a knot in my stomach and two quotes running through my mind.
First, this quote by Gandhi: “An eye for an eye and the whole world is blind.”
And, this from Karen Armstrong’s book 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life:
“Let us return the ancient principle that any interpretation of religion that breeds violence or hatred or disdain is illegitimate.”
My voice is less than a whisper on the world stage.
But even so I will do my absolute best to practice what I preach.
Terry Jones and others like him are 100% wrong.
And, he and others like him have no connection to the Christianity I know or the Bible I read or the way of Jesus I seek to follow.
And, the Islamist extremists are 100% wrong.
And represent the heart and truth of Islam in the absolute worst way;
And, have no connection the heart of Islam and they discredit all those other faithful Muslims who, every day, seek to make their families stronger and their communities and their world better.
We drown in the despair of the headlines in the news.
But each day there are men and women and children who, because of what they believe and through the courage they find in that vision of a tomorrow which is better than today, step beyond the safety and security of their own lives to feed those who are hungry and to visit those who are in prison and to stand against injustice; who turn their back on selfishness and self-centeredness and share their money and their energy and their time with and for the sake of another. Millions upon millions of people touching the lives of someone else.
They are the true face of religion.
Whether Christian or Jewish or Buddhist or Muslim or Hindu or…
But their face and their actions and their understanding of that which we know and name as God will ever make the evening news.