Friday, February 6, 2015

Freedom of Equal Measure

By Jon Dunnemann


As a nation, we should guard ourselves against ever acting as if we are at war with Islam. I can think of millions of reasons why: the number of Muslims in the United States is currently estimated at 2 million, or about 0.5 percent of our total population.

The great issue of this time, one that requires our urgent attention and complete resolve is wisely responding to this insistence on the part of some individuals to decree, dictate or deprive large numbers of people of their right to choose what they wish to believe, practice, and value when it comes to living their life in a manner that provides them with meaning, purpose, and security.

This propensity by some to coerce, deceive, ignore, suppress and even kill others because they might view the world differently is and has always been a most terrible injustice between equals no matter the geographic region, race or religion. It is unquestionably, disordering to the larger society and blatantly dishonoring to people of all faiths everywhere.

Each of the major religious traditions has at one time or another throughout world history been guilty of committing offenses: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, and others.

If abuse, hatred, violence, and at the furthest extreme murder is able to be rationalized, justified, and sanctioned under the guise of religion then clearly that which was once thought to be divine is no longer present in the heart, mind, and soul of its representative and thus it may be said, that person has moved as far away as possible from the notion of what is honest and true.

What can and should be done in response to this forbidding barbarism in my estimation is “to slay the dragon”. To accomplish this will require the formation of an Army of Saints from all religious and non-religious traditions to defeat this “Mad Dog” that has become poisoned by its own self-importance and ill-regard for the ‘sanctity of spirituality’.

The notion that one is simply not a good enough Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew or Muslim unless one does as another says or has been taught to do is an archaic holdover from time periods in which fear and repression ruled the day or people were landlocked and likely to be hugely apprehensive of strangers, disinterested in having dialogue with others, or possibly unwilling to invite new discovery and information into the realm of possibility. This by choice is not the world that the majority favors living in.

Today, it is much easier for us to be made known to each other yet with the possibility of never actually meeting face-to face. I have learned to delight equally over our sameness as well as our differences. These are a few of the wonderful human treasures that will continue to propel our collective consciousness and serve to reinforce our interconnectedness as we move forward into an ever-expanding future.

It seems unthinkable to me for us to reverse this trend without inviting a repeat of the same societal mistakes of the past. I am fully aware that my freedom can never be guaranteed that is until all others are afforded the same and in equal measure.