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Sorrow and Strength

The Secretary of State’s remarks at the transfer of remains of 4 State department employees stationed in Libya:

Look out for your Muslim neighbors and friends

I frequently go off on a tangent about religion. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that I think it’s a waste of resources to be pining for a celestial paradise when living in the here and now requires so much attention. Two, I think that god, if she does exist, does not want people to try to understand the bronze age mythology and morality of a tribe of warriors, sheep herders and Taliban precursors. She wants a major rewrite.

But I don’t really have a problem with average religious people as long as they don’t expect me to participate. I DO have a problem with fundamentalists from any religion. They’re the ones that give the rest of their religious adherents a bad name and that goes for Christianity as well as Islam.

Where I live, there are a lot of Muslims. I see them pushing strollers on the sidewalk, serving shwarma from a grease wagon, at my old place of work and among my friends. The right wing noise machine has a lot of right wing voters convinced that these people, who in total are a tiny fraction of the American population, are going to receive a fatwa and murder us all in our beds. Setting aside the fact that the numerical probability of this happening is about as likely as being sucked down the bathtub drain, it’s just a ridiculous idea. Who has the time to go all jihad on anyone anymore? There’s work, chauffeuring your kids around, going to back to school night, shopping for food, cooking, cleaning, mowing the lawn. Muslims are just as exhausted as the rest of us. And besides, not every Muslim is a fanatical, fundamentalist in the mold of Pat Robertson or Jack van Impe.

The timing and severity of the events in the past couple days point to a political motive to me. They are designed to make Obama look bad, to make his foreign policy staff look overwhelmed (too bad that Hillary is as steady as a rock) and to make the less reflective and conscientious Americans among us to take their anger out on innocent people. That would be bad. I don’t care how unhappy I am with Obama, there is no excuse for using innocent Muslim Americans to score political points.

I hope I am wrong about this but as the rioting escalates (and who knows who is behind that really and with how much money) the conservative Fox News viewer, indoctrinated by endless Muslim jihad scenarios, might start to lose it. It’s just the kind of chaos scenario the right wing would delight in. And where has Karl Rove been lately? He’s been entirely too quiet.

So, keep an eye out for your Muslim neighbors and friends. Don’t let the mob impinge on everyone else’s religious freedom, even if all that praying is a waste of time after all.