Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gods Bless America

I was proud of my Murfreesboro community yesterday when hundreds of citizens turned out 98 degree heat to silently (mostly) support the expansion of our local mosque and the right of Muslims to worship as they choose. True there were three hundred or so marchers trekking from a local church to the town square to oppose both the mosque and Islam, but still this was civil democracy at its best: Two opposing groups staring each other down, chanting clever slogans at one another, and joining in a USA USA chanting contest that just brought us all together as one big unhappy family.

So many of us on both sides carried cool signs. All but one we hand made. The one exception was mine. I took my banner idea--an American flag with the words of the 1st amendment replacing the stripes and symbols of the world's religions replacing the stars- to a graphics design company and had them make me a full color banner complete with brass grommets. My banner won “Best In Protest” or it would have if there was such a contest. Runner-up was a sign from the other side that read, “Muslims Kill Converts! Tell it.” I love subtlety.

Anyway the pro-freedom of religion people gathered at the town square about thirty minutes before the anti-Islamic folks arrived. We were asked to meet them with silence, and we did. As they came onto the square they were greater with peace signs, posters that read, “All You Need Is Love,” and silence. Fearing for their lives the leader of the anti-freedom of religion marchers called to his followers to “Ignore the hate.” Maybe he meant to say, “Ignore the heat,” which was either a comment on the weather or on LeBron James’ decision to play basketball in Miami.

In any case the only thing that troubled me was the use of Israeli flags and references to Jews by the anti-Islam crowd. There is a sense that being pro-Israel is somehow being anti-Muslim despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of Muslim Israelis. We Americans are supposed to support Israel because she is a democracy like us. But the definition of democracy so many on the right use is closer to a Christian theocracy than anything Tom Jefferson or James Madison envisioned.

One anti-Muslim protester challenged us to think about how many Jews Muslims had killed. I don’t know why this idea was supposed to move us one way or another since I could identify only two Jews among the 1000 people at the dual and dueling protests (me and my son; I’m so proud). And, if Jewish body count is a concern, it should be noted that Christians have slaughtered more Jews then have Muslims, that Christianity has promoted Jew-hatred for 2000 years paving the way for genocide against the Jews by the Nazis and post-Nazi pogroms in Christian Europe, and that there are millions of Christians who hope to see the entirety of my people wiped out when Jesus returns (may it not be speedily in our day). So, if I have to choose between Islam and Christianity, I’d go with Islam.

All in all though it was a great day. No one really talked with one another. No one learned anything about the other. And we all got to chant USA USA. Gods bless America.

9 comments:

Eruesso said...

I can't believe the second I graduate from MTSU and move back home I miss out on all the excitement.

Rabbi Rami said...

You're right, Sam. I imagine you taking a leadership role in this. But don't fret-- hate is everywhere.

Bob said...

Great, funny observations, Rami! It was an odd sort of "protest," huh? BUT a great made-for-TV news story. The only take-away I sensed was there seemed to be so many more "Let them build the Mosque" folks, then there were protesters. That was a good sign.

Art said...

You always put it in perspective. I was pleasantly surprised at how many showed up in favor of the mosque. I guess I underestimated our fair city.

Todd said...

Well said Rami! Thanks for sharing this on your FB Art!

matt said...

Christians don't want to see you die. We realize you are God's chosen people. We are taught to love our neighbor. Islam teaches convert or be killed. You've got it wrong, and you are spreading mistruths.

matt said...

1 Timothy 2

3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Clotho said...

Surah 2 of the Quran:
62. Those who believe (in the Qur'an) and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, and who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.

Peter Schogol said...

Murfreesboro is light years ahead of Lexington. Two mosques went up in the past 3 years and no one here even knew what they were!