Photo taken from New York Times!
Human and Senseless Violence!
The Eclectic Church would like to extend its sympathy, prayers, and love to those who have lost their lives, and their families, in the senseless act of violence that took place. Our hearts go out to them realizing that there are no words that can comfort people in such a time of sorrow, and, there are no satisfactory explanations for such seemingly senseless evil.
With that being expressed, we wish to express some thoughts and reflections on this tragic event.
There are insufficient adjectives to describe the horrific and barbaric act that took place on Tuesday. There is no doubt that it represents evil at its peak. Those who planned and carried out these monstrous acts represent the worst of the human condition. If Satan were to have form it would be in the actions of these individuals.
But too often, evil spreads evil like a cancer and can consume even the best of us. While the news is full of courageous and wonderful acts of humanity, demonstrating human potential; it is also bringing out the worst of our ranks showing how low we can sink. Stories of false reports of survivors, ever growing numbers of bomb threats, and the inevitable scams that would try to profit on the tragedy of human suffering --- are all being reported in the news these days.
We are all angry, and justifiably so. But, we must never let that anger consume our logic, compassion, and quest for equitable justice. Some of the reports about attacks on Arabs, talk of bombing innocent peoples in retaliation, and calls to go to war against any enemy we might infer: play right into the evil perpetrated by the terrorists. The spreading of hatred, fear and paranoia are exactly what they hoped to accomplish, and the evidence of these aims is building in its momentum. We as a great nation need to rise above them in spite of our sadness.
Just look at some of the hostility directed toward Islam and Arab peoples. Mosques have been shot at, there have been reports of name calling and beatings. Rush Limbaugh called for the “leveling” of Iraq on the radio and I have heard others call for the use of Nuclear weapons against Afghanistan and Libya. This type of “revenge” mentality is no better than the convoluted thinking that the terrorists used to justify their attack on Americans. While it is true that those who planned and helped these individuals must be brought to justice, the killing of other innocent people will not bring one of the dead back, nor, will it honor their memories. To inflict harm on the innocent in the name of justice and freedom is a hypocrisy of the worst kind.
We need also reflect when directing our anger against particular religious groups; remembering, that there are sins committed by all faiths, and every religious ideology will have those who distort and misuse its sacred ideologies. Islam is a great religion and has served the needs of millions of peace loving and wonderful people. And when we begin to think that those of one nation, those of one faith, those of one race, can be held accountable for the sins of some of their brothers --- we need only look to our own house and review our own sins and ask: should we be held accountable!
Look at the atrocities committed against the Native Americans in the name of the spread of democracy. What about the European colonization of the Americas and the atrocities which accompanied that? There are the crusades and inquisitions of the Christian churches? And let us not forget slavery and the evils it brought to our own nation. We here in America have our own brand of evildoers of which we should not loose sight. We have men and women who would exploit peoples (even our own) without a care as to the suffering and pain they might cause. There are drug peddlers and pimps who walk among us, destroying the lives of countless people. And, our government has historically supported dictators and tyrants, not to mention having made its share of mistakes.
While the Eclectic Church supports justice for these atrocities, it is our hope that our leaders will reflect upon our own shortcomings and strive to avoid the taking of innocent lives and reeking more human misery in our world. Talk about a war on terrorism sounds about as effective as our war on drugs. Contrary to what President Bush stated, we will never destroy evil, we can only rise above it. And while it is tempting to seek revenge, perhaps it would be a more fitting memorial to those who lost their lives to strive for a real peace in our world --- to set a real example on just what freedom, tolerance, and democracy can mean. Just maybe, as we seek solutions to these problems, we might take a look at some of the aspects of our society that makes us a target of such hatred. We could stand to temper our greed and strive to play a more constructive role in our world. If we are going to strive to purge the world of evil, which is what would need to happen to stamp out such senseless violence, then we need to start with our own house and work outward. There is no better way to lead than by example, and as Jesus so often pointed out, hypocrisy always reveals itself. If we are to reflect on evil, let us not make it selected evil, but a complete examination of conscience that includes our own short comings.
And let us be careful of statements that attribute such tragedy to “God’s Will”. This is a purely human act of evil certainly outside the realm of anything God might will. Such senseless human suffering is more often than not the work of human beings originating in the minds and hearts of evil men.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, and it is our prayerful hope that the sacrifice of these lives will ultimately accomplish some good. We hope and pray our leaders are thoughtful and careful in their response to these atrocious acts and do not resort to many of the mob tactics being suggested by so many here. We are all outraged, but we do not need to become uncivilized to demonstrate it. Ultimately, these perpetrators will have to carry any consequence for their acts into the eternal plane.