I have never said, nor would I ever say, that there is nothing good that can come from religion or faith. There are many, such as an Evangelical Pastor friend of mine, who simply “do the right thing” as “Followers of Jesus.” These are the ones, like one of my nieces, who aren’t that interested in being called “Christian” or going to church, but they are good people who care about others and believe in Love above all. Hard to criticize that. . .and who would?
This story on CNN exemplifies this view of the value that faith can have in a community. A young student at a Christian College (I went to one) in Joplin, Missouri heard about the burning of the mosque and decided to organize a “rally of people coming together, from all walks of life, all religions, a really diverse group of people trying to promote this radical love.” Now there’s something. Organizing a diverse group to promote love (are you listening all you Churches and Mosques and Temples and “My Faith is the Only Faith” Righteous. . .and maybe the People Who Burned the Site?). The youth are leading the way and, as we said in those long ago days of evangelism: “You’ve Been Left Behind.” A young person I know just told me, “I believe God is up there but I just say, ‘I’m gonna live my life with love and grace, and I’ll talk to You later!’ ”
Now here’s something for all of us Non-Believers to meditate upon. This young woman says, “Regardless of what you believe, I think everybody’s entitled to loving whoever.” Yes, radical love. And, we’ll see what happens. We’ll see if this rally and the message promoting this radical love becomes All About Jesus, or something much better. . .something genuinely good. Better yet, I hope we don’t just “see” what happens. I hope people of faith can come together with people without faith and do this simply profound act of Goodness because it’s Right. . .with God or without.
One last note on this senseless attack: I was reflecting on the shooting at the Sikh temple and the burning of this Mosque (and the ridiculous way the town is hampering the Mosque in Tennessee) and have to ask myself: What would I do? And I have to respond, fairly true to my character which is one of Radical Inclusion and Parental Protectiveness: If this happened in my neighborhood I would join the rally and walk and work alongside people of whatever faith or no faith to Stand for Justice and the revolutionary act of Lovingkindness. This is the Best of Theism, Atheism and Being Human Beings together.
Thank you Ashley Carter, for your very human and humane stand in Joplin, MO. After the destructive tornado last year, there seems to be a new, creative wind a’blowin in that town.
UPDATE: Looks like the Rally for Peace went very well. A model for the Way Forward?
UPDATE2: Churches and Synagogues in Joplin hold a dinner for the Muslim congregation (this is great. . .and I hope they do more than that)