For progressives, our fight is not against faith per se, but against all of those who believe they are exceptional to the rest of us

The conservative response to the Paris tragedy has shamed America. Conservatives have proposed legislation to block Muslim refugees from entering the country. Donald Trump has called for the closing down of Mosques. When Chris Christie was asked about 5 year old Syrian orphans, Christie’s response was basically; screw’em.

What else can you expect from Republicans? Fear mongering, hate, and intolerance has sadly come to characterize the party that once fought slavery and stood for civil rights. But now I am surely convinced that there is no ideological difference between America’s right wing, and the Islamic State. per se

ISIS declares itself to be a caliphate, Allah’s chosen protector of Islam. If the religion of Islam is altered to a more moderate version, ISIS takes it upon itself to wage war against those who do so. Because of their god given destiny, the human lives that are lost in their fight for paradise is worthless to them.

Conservatives see America as God’s chosen country, and therefore, exceptional. However, American exceptionalism has been, and continues to be, the driving force behind continuous human rights violations throughout the world. Bombing civilian areas in Iraq in the name of  “American values” is no different than a group of gunmen assaulting a French city in the name of Allah.

This is what unites both ideologies. Their disregard for human life in defense of abstract concepts and their view of being exceptional leads them to the divisive conclusion that one side is good, and the other is evil.

For people like Ted Cruz and al Baghdadi, Christians and Muslims fighting each other is the ultimate battle of good vs evil. God is on their side and that the other is the indisputable villain. War is what both sides need to justify their narrow view of the world.

For the rest of us, their fear mongering and extremism should be viewed as what President Obama called the Paris attacks, “an attack on all of humanity.” While both extremist sides fight to enter their much beloved paradise, they seek to dehumanize fellow human beings. Hence, you see decapitations of Christians in the Middle East, and Muslim women being assaulted in western cities when they pick up their children at school. If only their gods could take these extremists off to paradise much faster, we would all be safer.

And although horrible, assaulting a mother is obviously not as bad as decapitating Christians. But the ideology of divisiveness and intolerance is all the same, and if Western right wing bigots could have their way, they would probably commit atrocities against Muslims as well (Iraq war? Palestine?)

While the extremists continue to wage crusades and jihad, normal Christians and Muslims are trying to unite with the rest of humanity, also in the name of their faiths.

Many Muslims have decried the Paris tragedy. Muslims started a social media campaign on twitter denouncing ISIS with the hash tag #NotInMyName. One London based journalist tweeted a Quaranic verse,”Whoever kills an innocent person, it is as though he has killed all of mankind” .

For these peace loving Muslims, ISIS represents the opposite of their beliefs. If the Quran can’t convince you that Muslims are not the face of evil, than footage of a Muslim woman crying in front of a memorial  at one of the terror scenes should.

Meanwhile, Christian charities in the United States have decried the GOP’s new discriminatory stance on Christian refugees. A statement by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said,

“I am disturbed…by calls from both federal and state officials for an end to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States. These refugees are fleeing terror themselves—violence like we have witnessed in Paris. They are extremely vulnerable families, women, and children who are fleeing for their lives. We cannot and should not blame them for the actions of a terrorist organization.”

Apparently, “Christian” politicians were not aware that the refugee resettlement program has strong support among Christian people.

It is clear that there is a conflict, but it is not the conflict that extremists would have you believe. Our war is between the sides of bigotry, fear, hatred, and indifference, against those of us who want to show mercy and compassion to all human beings. Our war has ISIS and right wing Western extremists on one side, with those of us who want a better and peaceful tomorrow for all of humanity on the other.

Our fight is not over two religions or civilizations, it is over who we choose to be as human beings. Choose your side.

1 COMMENT

  1. That is one way to view it and you do it quite well. However in my mind the real problem lies with all religion, in that it deludes the mind of the believer to view their particular form of religion as othe one true religion, and all other beliefs to be ridiculous.
    As one who has taken the time to critically think about the real facts when reading all the so called “truths”, in the bible particularly, and general knowledge of the other so call “holy books”, such as the Koran and the Torah, each one has a wealth of contradictions, scientific errors and outright lies. To accept these ancient books, and not so ancient books, as in the book of Mormon for instance, with no empherical proof of any “god” is totally ridiculous.
    Any critical thinker cannot be a critical thinker as long as they will not admit that all “gods” are imaginary. It may be time, or more specificlally way past time, for all humanity to look at the strife and conflict that these sects of religion cause and be determined to put all religions into the classes they belong, superstitution.
    Superstitution is not a healthy to approach life itself and these superstitutions are a form of, not mental illness, but just the fear that one might be wrong, and may have been lied to since early childhood.
    I firmly believe that childhood indoctrination into any religion is a form of child abuse. It can even be thought of as being cruel.
    I submit that if all fairy tales were treated as such and children were not introduced to them as facts, like we commonly do with characters like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Peter Pan, then these children would be able to figure out for themselves what is true and what is not.
    Taking religion and giving it the power to affect us as rational human beings into believing unproven beliefs, and using faith in what cannot be proven [god], I submit is irrational and simple facts and reason are proof enough that not being critical of the ambiguous is the main problem we have today.
    As the world shrinks through modern travel and information available through things like this medium, the internet, and well written (and researched) books, and just through critical thinking, we have the tools to construct a cure for these superstitutions and beliefs in any and all of the man made “gods” and it’s high time we used these tools.

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