Tag Archives: Terrorism

Not My Jesus: My Very Christian View on the Muslim Ban

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“We must remember that the test of our religious principles lies not just in what we say, not only in our prayers, not even in living blameless lives – but in what we do for others”
Harry Truman

I am a Christian. I love Jesus. I am scared for America.

I never thought about whether people were upset or protesting during the Crusades until this weekend. To see “armies of Christians from Western Europe respond to Pope Urban II’s plea to go to war against Muslim forces in the Holy Land. “ – (source) . Do you think there was extreme outrage by any of the Christians at the time?

The executive order to temporarily ban visa holders from the 7 countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen has sent shock waves through this country and across the globe. There are a number of reasons it just doesn’t make sense. There are a number articles that detail the countries selected for the ban did not include the Islamic extremists who have been a part of the major terrorist attacks:

“None of the perpetrators of the major US terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam in the past 15 years have come from the nations on that list. In fact, the country home to the biggest number of terrorists who have carried out successful attacks inside the US is the US itself.” – (Source)  and (source) 

So let’s just be really clear, is this really about safety? ISIS is a problem. Islam is not. I am totally okay with the destruction of extremists of any kind, from any religion, sect, ethnicity, you name it. Let’s crush the threat. I am no pacifist. But neither is my God.

I had to stop and think about something. I am currently reading Jeremiah, a book from the bible, that details the destruction and impending captivity Yahweh (God) inflicted upon his own, chosen people for their complete, utter disobedience and disregard for his law. Not to mention their incessant participation in idolatry that was occurring in Judah and Jerusalem. Like… do you understand what I am saying? God used destruction against his OWN people, but not just for any old reason. Through the bible, he used war, pestilence to show his will, strength and love. Talk about some tough love, right. So of course, it’s cool to kill people, discriminate against people who don’t believe in God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit?

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Throughout time, Christians have found numerous ways to inflict war against whole groups of people. Yet, no one has been successful in completely wiping an entire race. (Caveat: I know there is probably one example, but you get my point… think about it). The bible tells Christians that we will grow, live and be surrounded by “tares” a.k.a. no-believers, but we are supposed to be a light, not this BEACON OF DARKNESS. Like what are you people doing? Christianity has nothing to do with the mistreatment of whole religious groups.

This ban smells like Islamophobia and just appearing to do something to fight against ISIS when in fact what has been done is completely missing the mark AND allowing us to become a bigger target from real extremist threats. Throughout the bible, God used “foreigners”, some who were believers and non-believers, for his purpose based on their heart which he intimately knows.

And here’s the other thing, empathy is important, but not about this. I am a firm believer that trying to walk in someone else’s shoes is important and having a positive experience with a marginalized group makes you more willing to speak up for them. However, you don’t need a warm and fuzzy experience with a Muslim to understand why the complete disregard for the people who are being detained. It’s like lumping all Catholics and Christians as a breeding place for sexual abuse. There is a long list, which continues to grow, of Christian leaders of all races engaging in that type of behavior, but we’re not banning every priest and Christian pastor from going to schools or having youth programs at their church. That would be ludicrous, but to some extent could be useful to save our young boys and girls who get abused. But there are so many more who do positive things for kids, so we have to be vigilant and strategic to protect our kids from people like that.

So let’s work on the ISIS problem, it is not a Muslim problem. We cannot unilaterally discriminate against all Muslim countries. Now, people are talking about the fact Muslim counties in which Trump has investments, but including them doesn’t change it though. Let’s include Saudi Arabia, which would probably never happen, we would still be having the same conversation. Don’t fall for that distraction conversation. Don’t.

Some people may be reading this and saying that there was no mention of Christianity as part of the reason for initiating this ban. But as the Republican Party, which I am a part of some days, they are using their beliefs as a basis for every decision that they make and I have just had enough, because you do not own his Holy name. Neither do I really, it stands on its own, but I will not stand idly and allow people to continually misuse it. It is time that the Christians who are standing idle while watching the bastardization of Christianity to justify these actions in these United States America to stand the heck up! We wouldn’t let a non-believer paint such an ugly picture of God the Son, why are we letting those who profess his name act as such?

As a group of people, we cannot allow this. I am not sure what is more frustrating, the complete discrimination of a whole group of people or people standing behind a shroud of Christianity to cover their bigotry. Either way, you will not use my Jesus in this way.

Luke 9: 52-56

“… And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.”

M/P

To Be Thankful and True

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” I prefer to be true to myself even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence” – Fredrick Douglass

 I was very excited about today’s post. It is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for when I think about where I was last year. But as I sat down to write, and caught up on all the news from Tuesday, I couldn’t write about my personal matters. It didn’t seem true to myself, didn’t seem real. There were a number of events that happened yesterday that compelled me to write a feature for Alibi X called, “Just Thankful To Be Alive”.  We cannnot be afraid to talk about the things that make us uncomfortable, change will not come any other way. Please go check it out on their website: Here

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M/P

Do You Know Where You’re Going To

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“The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots” – Erich Fromm

Lately, the traffic in Austin has been worse than normal, so I have attempted to try several different routes, and it’s been somewhat of an adventure. I’ve been doing so for my morning and evening routes, and I feel like I have driven all over Austin. One day this past week, a thought came to my mind. As I drive around Austin, I never use a GPS. I take great pride in learning and knowing my surroundings. Yes, I am that person who looks down on someone who’s lived in a city more than 2 years and doesn’t know how to get around a city in which you live.

I believe a GPS, although it has purpose when you are somewhere unfamiliar, I find it mentally frustrating, because it doesn’t always take the best route, it more times than not, takes the long road (“safe route”) , and ignores the shorter road (“riskier route”). So it is interesting how so many people are addicted to the GPS.  You also do not learn your environment or you’re too busy paying attention to the GPS that you might miss out on  scenery that surrounds you, and it’s a shame. But more than anything, to some extent you are a robot, following a voice and the mind isn’t thinking.  To some extent, you become a robot.

Now when I had these thoughts, I had no idea what I would sit down to write about this week or how it would relate to the topic of my choice, but I knew it would be relevant, and boy is it ever.

As I peruse my timeline, news feed, or any other social medium since the Friday attacks in Paris, a question comes to my mind:

Are we in the land of robots or the land of the free?

I think the only thing more disturbing than the actual terrorist attacks in Paris, or any other terror attack or violence in any country at any given time, is the arguing about what people should or shouldn’t do or say on their Facebook profile. There has been a lot of social media riff raff about the media attention and sympathy for the attacks on Paris versus other acts of violence whether it be in the black community, in Beirut, or in Kenya, and so on.  In all reality, there are thousands if not millions of people who live in constant danger every day, and should be on your habitual prayer list, but I am not even going to get into that. What’s really surprising is that people are ACTUALLY getting annoyed when the seemingly majority comes together to change their profile picture to the French flag. Now, I would agree that there are plenty of people who couldn’t have pointed out the French flag before Friday, but what you are learning is that some people follow the crowd. Sometimes that crowd is your family, or friends, and now it can be your Facebook friends, strangers, or the mass media. Either way, everyone isn’t paying attention to what’s going on in this world, and are just passing a widget in the assembly line.

So I ask, are we in the land of robots or the land of the free?

In a country where we are free to mourn, cry, and pray in the manner in which we choose, more and more, there are so many people judging each other publicly about the decision that they make. I was listening to the radio on Friday, and they were discussing a report that stated, “A week without Facebook leads to a happier, less angry, less lonely life” (source)

I believe that story without an ounce of double checking of the research. I get frustrated on Facebook at least 3 times in a week, and on Veteran’s day, I think I was upset 3 times in that one day. But the reality is today, as was when I wrote it here, here AND here, you cannot complain about the media not covering certain news or Americans caring about certain people. A lot of people are mad about the unfair coverage of the news, but THIS IS NOTHING NEW. Similar to when my black friends and I had the tough conversations about the police and brutality, that my little conservative, uppity Negro ears didn’t want to hear or believe or listen. But you all are mad at institution that has failed you for years, yet you continue to tune in, re-tweet, and share the news that give you crap and when you wake up and realize that all International Lives don’t matter, I don’t have sympathy for you.

I really do not watch any form of cable news, besides ESPN – and they too, are becoming ratings obsessed. I boycott, not because I am into boycotting, they do not cover or represent mine or anyone’s interest. They continue to prevail, because we are becoming more and more like robots. Following as the winds blows, and rarely making are own decisions. Not to mention, people are constantly trying to change our MIND for their gain and not our enrichment! In fact, sometimes, going against the grain feels like it’s a part of the crowd when too many begin to follow. I mean this shouldn’t be surprising, didn’t you hear, the First Family, are a bunch of robots. Yes, I am referring to the Kardashians. But beyond this seemingly unsurprising robotic nature of many people, I wonder if telling people what they should do, and then they do it, do they really believe it? Cherish it?

I think more than anything, we are doing and saying things without really thinking about why or who we are saying it to, and social media has made everyone’s opinion relevant.

The more important question were the seemingly “Christian” folks on my timeline who took the time to remind us that we shouldn’t allow refugees into this country. Now, I am not negating that they didn’t play any role, but the quickness in which many took to discuss whether or not the refugees contributed to the terror attacks is alarming. What I can tell you is that the hate and fear mongering that we are spewing to each other is not going to help these robots that this world is creating. The part of this that scares me are the young people influenced by ISIS across the globe including America.  We are creating robots, and when they fall into the wrong hands, their fragile minds can be swayed to do and be a part of really bad things, in a million different names, including religion.

There are a few traits, psychologists have found, “They tend to be young, male thrill junkies, craving purpose, glory, camaraderie and a fresh identity….They hunger for significance, even infamy. Some barely understand the Islamic faith. And many are just plain bored.” (source) …. sound like a robot trying to feel alive again doesn’t it? I do not mean to over simplify the issue, but many of the recruits in the Western world are pulled in a social media recruitment, and with the wrong psyche, many things could trigger a person to search and reach to ISIS as did Andre Poulin, a common westerner to join the Islamic State. (source). I cannot sit here and write about how to change the terror attacks in Paris, Beirut, Kenya, and so forth, but I know I see more hate then love on my timeline, and more blind allegiance, than true thought.  America we cannot create any more robots. Our lives depend on it.

M/P