Listen to our brothers and sisters. Listen to our shepherd. That our adversaries believe it does not offend God is, frankly, insane. Satanic, even. Which brings me to what Sir Salman Rushdie said a while back about fundamentalist Muslims.
The fundamentalist seeks to bring down a great deal more than buildings. Such people are against, to offer just a brief list, freedom of speech, a multi-party political system, universal adult suffrage, accountable government, Jews, homosexuals, women’s rights, pluralism, secularism, short skits, dancing, beardlessness, evolution theory, sex. These are tyrants, not Muslims.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that we should now define ourselves not only by what we are for but by what we are against. I would reverse that proposition, because in the present instance what we are against is a no brainer. Suicidist assassins ram wide-bodied aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and kill thousands of people: um, I’m against that. But what are we for? What will we risk our lives to defend? Can we unanimously concur that all the items in the preceding list — yes, even the short skirts and the dancing — are worth dying for?
The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing. In his world-view, he has his absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic indulgences. To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong. We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them. How to defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorized.
Amen! I’m trying to keep the plight of all the people being subjected to the thuggery of ISIS on the front burner of my prayers. If you can give mateto help our brothers and sister out, I’ll pass around the plates from Catholic Relief, the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), and for Aid to the Church in Need.
Give if you can, and don’t give up hope. Love is stronger than hope.