Condemning this Community Center ( a peaceful community center) in lower Manhattan is playing right into the hands of the Extremists who predicted this would happen in the US.
The Extremists WANT this Islamaphopia to play on and on… Can’t people understand that Terrorists attacked on 9/11, not Muslims???
The Muslim religion is peaceful, loving and as honorable as our religions.
Why can’t people see that fighting against the Muslims is EXACTLY what the extremists want??? Please understand that this vociferous hate mongering is a recruiting tool for the likes of Bin Laden and other groups of that ilk!
It is totally baffling to me why we must be so prejudiced, intolerant and ignorant. Muslims did not attack on 9/11, Terrorists did!!
What religion was McVeigh when he attacked the government building in Oklahoma? What does it matter? If McVeigh were Baptist or Catholic, then we should hate those groups too, right?
Listen to this calm voice of reason from Ron Paul:
“The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for …the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservatives’ aggressive wars.
The House Speaker is now treading on a slippery slope by demanding a Congressional investigation to find out just who is funding the mosque—a bold rejection of property rights, 1st Amendment rights, and the Rule of Law—in order to look tough against Islam.
This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.
We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended. Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.”
I truly thought we were governed by laws in this country. When did we become so lawless?
We must wake up and come to our senses.
What happened to “the land of the free and the brave?”
The free and the brave?
Not so much.
Perhaps we see the religious world differently, you and me. I look at religion with wonder, fully accepting out of curiosity and trust the beliefs of any religion I encounter. My eyes are wide open and my thoughts are not skewed by a fear of reprisal from a different cultural religion coexisting freely in the United States.
Trust takes on great importance when it’s but given rarely. Trust is only as liberated as we are in our thoughts and in our communications with each other.
We are only human, but do we allow our humanness to sit on a back shelf when it comes to religion?
Today religion has grown beyond itself and I fear that freedom of religion (or freedom FROM religion) will not be our (sacred) right if we allow ourselves to fear an Islamic religion.
The only thing to fear is the loss of our freedom to worship with a group of like-minded persons. If we take this right away from another group of persons, who is to say someone will not take our religious freedoms away?
The US embraces “religion” and it’s everywhere around us. It’s in politics; it’s on TV, in our schools, on our money, in our anthems.
The US wants to be “God-fearing” because it sees this as noble. But, these so-called noble allowances for religious freedoms have been hijacked by a sense of righteousness, or a sense of superiority.
Then there is the duplicitous “Religious Right” who want to make hate legal – to allow it to trump the freedoms of some individuals…. But that is another story for another day.
Today I want to talk about religious freedoms because I don’t want to loose mine; and I don’t want you to loose yours.
Look at this image. What do you see? Do you see an old woman? Do you see a young woman? Do you see both?
You should see two women. Keep looking until you see both.
I hope you see both. If you do, then perhaps, your mind is also open to accepting how perfectly natural it is for Muslims to worship any where they please in this free country of ours. Since religion is a religion unto itself, so too are an old woman and a young woman one in the same.
If you see two women in the image above, then perhaps you will appreciate the cultural and rich religious diversity that an Islamic Mosque would bring to the sad and hollow earth we know as “Ground Zero.”
Should we not allow a Mosque to be built at “Ground Zero” the US will become shallow with hearts that are spray-painted with dull monochromatic apathy. I trust that all religions want to mourn the victims of 9-11. Islam, too.
If we fear the Islamic religion, my friends, we will have serious problems down the road. If we fear Islam or any religion will that not engender hate eventually?
The U.S. must open its eyes wide and see that we all want the same things: Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Baptists, even agnostics and atheists too, all want the same thing: to live in a peaceful world where we can have the freedom to pray (or not) to the God or Universe of our choosing.
Pastor Martin Neimoller wrote these words as a result of his experience in World War II:
They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.
He was speaking of the unthinkable persecutions and horrors he and others witnessed when Germany was overrun by Hitler. However, the context of this speech was the ultimate of ironies because Neimoller was himself a Nazi sympathizer until he was arrested himself for not supporting the regime sufficiently. He was in death camps for seven years. It was after he was liberated that he spoke thus. (K. Olberman, 2010)
Please don’t think that I am comparing what Neimoller experienced with the situation in New York City, I am not making that comparison at all. However, these words ring richly in my ears as a warning missive should we refuse to open our hearts and minds to the loving and peaceful intent of Muslims among us.
It’s really so simple. But, in truth, nothing is simple when passion that is brushed in an apathetic hue, colors our trust.
I hate myself for even wondering what people – rude people – say about older geeks like me in the workplace. They talk and talk and I wonder why they, in their little sophomoric cliques, shoot wayward glances at certain people, including me, with such enjoyment.
A quote I just happened across is apt for this post. It’s by Sandor McNab. He writes:
Nothing determines who we will become so much as those things we choose to ignore.
So, as of now, TODAY, I choose not only to ignore, but I choose the absence of ignorance!
A blissful ignorance? Yes, in this case a self-imposed ignorance is indeed bliss. (I abhor any kind of ignorance and hardly think it is truly bliss, but in this instance, I make an exception to the rule.)
Doesn’t it make perfect sense to never get to the place of ignorance in the first place? That, to me, is empowering.
You see, by not even getting to a state of ignorance, we avoid giving terrible people (who do or say awful things), any power whatsoever.
They have no power over us unless we give them power. Ignoring them is a choice, yes, but will we eventually get to a place where we won’t need to “choose” to ignore them – they will “be” ignored?
I think so. Two negatives do not make a positive. My mom always told me – you surely heard this one too – “two wrongs don’t make it right.” Anger breeds anger. Hate, hate.
It is far more powerful to choose gratitude rather than anger.
If negative thoughts derive from the negative actions that are witnessed in others, instead of dwelling and wallowing in the anger of it, can we choose to be grateful instead?
Yes, I believe so… but, how?
It’s about thought process.
- If I hear something negative about me or others; I could choose to turn my attention to something beautiful like the sight of Herons, butterflies, or, the sound of a child’s laughter; what the waves sound like and what the sand would feel like between my toes at the beach.
- If a loud and aggressive person talks over me and ignores me in a meeting, I will be thankful for the time it gives me to sneak a peak and re-read a lovely email from a friend; glance at a photo that I love, or daydream about an upcoming event.
- When somebody is loud and unruly in the office and it’s difficult to think; I won’t care because it’s the perfect opportunity to listen to a brand new CD.
This is what I did today:
I noticed the sky outside my office window was steel-blue and the clouds were so enormous and made delightful shapes in the sky.
So, I said “thank you” out loud to no one in particular.
I felt (as I often do) that I have more work than I could ever finish; so I said a little gratitude-prayer because I have a job when so many are unemployed.
So, I said “thank you” out loud to no one in particular.
I got a new project today that will be a bear. I allowed my fingers to enjoy how it felt to flip through the mountains of reports that I must read. I let the paper feel good in my hands and I enjoyed the smear of color that my highlighter made as it painted a splotchy yellow swipe across words that I found to be important on each page.
I said “thank you” out loud to no one in particular.
I found a piece of Orbit Peppermint Bubble Gum in my suit jacket from the last time I’d worn it. My mouth literally watered in anticipation of chewing it.
And I said “thank you” out loud to myself in particular!
Do you see what I mean about gratitude?
There are a total of 15 possible aggravators that the State of Florida can use to measure whether the severity of a crime rises to meet the requirements of applying the death penalty law.
Although the State did not list the aggravating factors they were considering when they filed their death penalty notice for Casey Anthony, they have answered today. This afternoon, the state of Florida filed a motion that lists five (5) out of a possible 15 aggravating factors that correspond with the murder of Caylee Marie Anthony.
The 5 aggravating factors used by the people of the State of Florida will be:
Florida Statute 921.141(5) D, H I, L, and M.
The five aggravating factors, as written are:
D) The capital felony was committed while the defendant was engaged, or was an accomplice, in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit, any: robbery; sexual battery; aggravated child abuse; abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; arson; burglary; kidnapping; aircraft piracy; or unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb.
H) The capital felony was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.
I) The capital felony was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated, and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.
L) The victim of the capital felony was a person less than 12 years of age.
M) The victim of the capital felony was particularly vulnerable due to advanced age or disability, or because the defendant stood in a position of familial or custodial authority over the victim.
I have never given a great deal of thought to the death penalty until I saw the movie Dead Man Walking, and learned about the work of Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking.
Sister Helen became a very passionate activist against the death penalty after becoming a pen-pal and then a spiritual advisor to Patrick Sonnier, a Louisiana convicted murderer. Sonnier was waiting on death row for his appointment with death when he and Sister Helen began their correspondence.
When Sonnier requested that Sister Helen become his Spiritual Advisor while he awaits his appointment with death, she began visiting him. This was the mid 1980’s and Sister Helen had the unusual opportunity to see close-up how the death system worked, which, of course, prompted her book, followed by the movie of the same name.
The book: Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, was also an international best seller and has been translated into 10 different languages.
If you live in a state with the death penalty, as I do (in Florida), then the state will murder via the death penalty in your name. You and I pay for the death penalty via our state taxes. You see, we are the people of the state, and the good people in the State Attorney’s offices work directly for us.
Please know, I do not disrespect the law, on the contrary, I believe in the law, I uphold the law and am proud to be in the United States of America where the law, for the most part, is equal for all….well, at its heart, it is.
I also support Attorney Andrea Lyon in her quest to free Casey Anthony from the death penalty.
It should not be inferred that I think Casey Anthony does not deserve punishment if she is found guilty of capital murder, on the contrary. But I will never wish death upon Casey Anthony.
To learn more about forgiveness, listen to Sister Helen in the short clip below. Take the journey and learn about her work. Learn about the death penalty. Vote for Leaders who do not support it.
Websites dedicated to the work of Sister Helen Prejean:
I have not walked in the Anthony’s shoes, and I am certainly happy about that. Now, I know the Anthony’s are not sympathetic characters as they have been deceptive & illusive, rude, careless, and have, at times, told many differing tales – variations on many untruths, or so it would seem.
But, you know what? I never thought I’d ever, ever say this, but right now, I feel sorry for the Anthony’s. I don’t want to see them lose their home – the only home Caylee knew. I wouldn’t want to lose my home, either – no one would.
Let me tell you where I am coming from. I have had the good fortune of seeing His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, twice over the last two days. I was over the moon to see him (I’m seeing Desmond Tutu on Friday!!!) And as a result of this experience, I am seeing and feeling a bit differently.
The Dalai Lama’s mission is a mission of compassion; he is recognized as the Buddha of Compassion. He was “chosen” or rather, reincarnated to succeed his predecessor, the 13th Dalai Lama, when he was only two years old. He was the fifth in a Tibetan family of sixteen children.
To make a long story short, I felt the compassion he has and which he spoke so eloquently about. His compassion is for the earth, and for all the people on it.
He sees our earth as a place where we are all one people, we are all equal in essence, too. Now, there are internal and external differences between all people, this is certain. But, from the Dalai Lama’s perspective, he says as human beings we must recognize that all people have one universal need and it is, simply, the pursuit of happiness. Simple? Not so much.
He spoke of the need for happiness as a universal need – a truth, and we must not make incorrect judgments of others We must take a holistic view and only make our judgments based upon facts.
The Dalai Lama said that there is Godliness in forgiveness; in non-judgmental responses. I see that, truly.
This was written into today’s program:
“Universal responsibility is feeling for other people’s suffering just as we feel our own. It is the realization that even our enemy is entirely motivated by the quest for happiness. We must recognize that all beings want the same thing we want. This is the way to achieve a true understanding, unfettered by artificial consideration.”
I am going to try, from this day forward, to do my utmost to feel compassion for the Anthony’s, no matter what crazy comment they make or action they take. But, opinion, on the other hand, our opinions and the freedom we have to speak our differences, is a must, and it is our absolute sacred right.
We must always continue to discuss our differences in opinion, truly. What a boring world it would be if we all thought alike!
Have you been the victim of a cyber-bully? More and more I am reading about this hateful phenomenon and I’d like to get a sense, via a quick poll, how prevalent it may be. (The poll is located to the right of this page.)
To be clear, below is a cursory definition of what constitutes Cyber-bullying. There is also a link to the Wired Safety organization for additional information, as I’d encourage you to get a better feel for the nature and the definition of cyber-bullying:
Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy lawyer and executive director of WiredSafety.org, notes …. The law, amended in 2005, prohibits people from using the Internet anonymously with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person. (Seattle Times, 11/23/2007)
The question is “In my lifetime, I have been victimized by a cyber-bully.” You may respond in one of three ways:
- Yes, definitely.
- Yes, no big deal.
- No, never.
I added the response “Yes, no big deal” as a way to gauge the impact the bullying had on you.
I’ll leave this poll open for a couple of weeks and will publish the percentage of responses.
Stay safe – children are being victimized in great numbers, hold them close and monitor their online friends…