Our Opinion: Give thanks you're an American

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

As the clash of religious factions seems to be spiraling out of control in the Middle East, it is important to reflect on how truly fortunate we are to be living in the United States, where tolerance for differing religions is not just a tradition, it is guaranteed by the document under which we are governed, the U.S. Constitution.

Although there have been incidents of religious intolerance documented during the country's history, we have generally accepted diverse practices peacefully for more than two centuries.

Other cultures embrace beliefs in the absolute rightness of their particular faiths, and regard anyone of a differing faith as an enemy.

While the leader of Iran calls the Holocaust a myth, he seems to share the same objective as the Nazi architects of the attempt to annihilate the Jews. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has advocated that Israel should be wiped off the map.

Iran and, to a lesser extent, Syria are backing the Muslim faction in Lebanon that is engaged in conflict with Israel.

With our military presence in the area and our commitment to Israel as an ally, the U.S. cannot avoid involvement in the Middle East madness.

Still, we should be grateful that we live in a more rational environment.