Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A Warped Golden Rule

I'm a peaceable sort, most of the time, so I've been pretty dismayed by the recent spate of anti-Muslim sentiments being played out in this country. The ostensible targets this time around are those who would build mosques and cultural centers. The most visible evidence of the rise in anti-Muslim bigotry has been the flap surrounding the inclusion of a Muslim center at "Ground Zero" in New York City, but California also has a flap going on in Temecula where some alleged Christians are fighting approval of plans to build a mosque. The Los Angeles Times has a timely editorial on the issue, and the center-left editorial board mostly got it right.

The controversy in Temecula is part of a recent spate of anti-mosque and anti-Muslim events, the most prominent of which is the opposition to Cordoba House, the interfaith community center that has been proposed near the former World Trade Center site in New York City. There are dozens of such cases across the nation, though it's hard to tell whether bigotry is actually spreading or whether a small but vocal group of bigots is simply getting louder.

Obviously, the concept of religious freedom as a core value of the American experience is lost on the demagogues who not only called for a demonstration protesting the approval for the Temecula mosque, but asked participants to bring their dogs along as a sign of profound disrespect for Muslims. Nice, eh?

This time it didn't work, as more people showed up to support their Muslim neighbors than those opposed to the mosque. I guess the dogs were busy that day.

If the religious bigots haven't the time to read the US Constitution, perhaps they could turn to their Bibles, specifically the Gospels. Jesus urged his followers to love their neighbors. He even dared them to love their enemies. He also gave them a simple rule for living in this world: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

He did not say "Do unto others before they do unto you."

There's a difference.



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