I’ve been rather mute the last few days because I’ve been glued to the television staring in shock and horror as this whole Boston bombing thing unfolds. I finally managed to unplug from it a little, but not completely. The same way I did when 9/11 happened. Sitting here weeping and wringing my hands is not solving anything and it just gets me worked up into froth of rage, confusion and sorrow.
This morning I was reading comments on the CNN blog page and one caught my attention. One poster said “…Freedom of Religion does NOT give religious institutions the right to preach hatred & intolerance.” I think I have to agree with this person. It’s similar to the conundrum of – does freedom of speech give one the right to yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater, causing people to get trampled to death in the ensuing panic?
I keep staring at the picture of this young boy, the surviving brother. He looks so innocent that it brings tears to my eyes. I know you can’t tell just by looking at someone what they are capable of doing, but I can’t help but wonder – what happened? He could easily have been any young boy I know and love, a son, a nephew, a grandson, the child of a friend. Young men and boys are so incredibly gullible. Ask anyone who knows one and they know this is true. Who or what turned this boy into a killing machine?
I am not in any way defending him, or forgiving or condoning his actions. He will have to stand and face the consequences of his actions no matter how misguided they were – before country and his God, whoever that may be. But I am still bereft of understanding. What brought this boy to these unspeakable actions? I can’t or perhaps do not want to logically believe that uninfluenced he would have committed these heinous acts.
Another thing that totally flummoxes me is why, if America is such a horrible, heathen, decadent country, do millions of people risk everything including their lives to come here? We shelter everyone here and many of us do not even have a say in that. This boy’s family came here for political asylum. Unfortunately, they did not come here for religious asylum. We take our freedom seriously here in the U.S. and based on that we inadvertently harbor, succor and educate some of the very people who hate us and want us dead.
So about this boy and his legacy; it makes me stop and think, what are we teaching our children? I think our overzealous quest for religious freedom in the U.S. has put blinders on teaching our children the basics. Many schools do not have anything in the curriculum that addresses morality or ethics – right vs. wrong. The only place our children may hear this at all is on their parent’s knee.
We’ve dropped the ball here. I don’t think teaching children to respect the rights of others, to exercise tolerance, to do onto others as you would have them do unto you, to not be the first one to throw the stone, is a religious issue at all. It’s a human issue. We have never needed this more than we need it right now. We need to step up to the plate and seriously teach our children our beliefs in our schools, churches, and at the dinner table. If we do not we create a vacuum and get left in the dust by those who do pass on their own “religious” beliefs of hatred and intolerance.