We cannot succumb to fear and remain true to our heritage


When we send people to war, it is to defend American Ideals – things like life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, freedom of speech and religion, and so on. It is not and never should be to expand or otherwise benefit Christianity or Christians. This is not a Christian nation; it is secular. If we abandon the concept of non-discrimination based on religion, we give up one of the ideals that makes us American. At the time of the founding of our country, these ideals were new to the world.  We lead the world, and if we abandon these ideals, we lose part of who we are and become more like the people trying to hurt us. Yes, it is scary, but we, as Americans must fight against fear and for our ideals.

The fight we are in is not with Islam, it is with terrorists.  This was said by W. Bush as follows: “Ours is a war not against a religion, not against the Muslim faith. But ours is a war against individuals who absolutely hate what America stands for, and hate the freedom of the Czech Republic. And therefore, we must work together to defend ourselves. And by remaining strong and united and tough, we’ll prevail.”Press Conference by President Bush and President Havel of Czech Republic
Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic, November 20, 2002

Islam has over 1.7 billion adherents, only a small fraction of which are terrorists.  Just like a small fraction of Christians are terrorists–the Planned Parenthood attack was done for political purposes, which is the definition of terrorism (the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims).

But let’s talk about ISIS and other Islamic terrorists. They want to be the identifying center of Islam.  They proclaim that they are the only true adherents of their faith, that the others are not true to it. They hate what America stands for, as Bush said. Most of their attacks are against other Muslims. They want to make all of Islam like them.  To do this, they rabble rouse and radicalize people based on the satanic influence of western culture.

We cannot dignify them in this way. Just as it is wrong to characterize all Christians by the standards and actions of the KKK, it is wrong to characterize all Muslims by the standards and actions of ISIS  (or any other Islamic terrorist group). If we ban all Muslims from entering into the country, they can say to other Muslims, “See, the United States hates all Muslims.  They believe they need to eradicate Islam, or at least control and change your religion.” If we do this, we aid in their radicalization and recruitment into their terrorist groups.

Trump, by making the statements he is, is giving aid, if not comfort to our enemies, terrorists. Yes, it is scary, and being afraid, at least a little, is reasonable. But one cannot let fear consume.  Courage is not lack of fear, it is acting in spite of fear. When I was in Vietnam, I was afraid a lot.  I saw people killed who were standing just outside my tent.  And while I did nothing particularly courageous, I did not run away or change my value system. And when I returned home, I protested the war and was reviled by the conservatives in the country.  I heard “America—love it or leave it” far too often, when the real mantra should but “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what is right with America.” (Clinton’s 1993 inaugural address.)

So, yes, I understand fear.  But we cannot let it consume and change us.

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