Let's not become what we fight

Monday, January 12, 2015

The history of Christianity has had some shameful periods. The Holy Inquisition involved brutal intolerance toward those who did not practice the accepted faith.

The Crusades were campaigns of genocide against the infidels. Catholics and Protestants killed each other for heresy.

As the Age of Reason spread throughout the Christian world, religious tolerance became the societal norm for predominately Judeo-Christian societies.

Most incidents of societal regression into intolerance have been philosophical and racist rather than religious.

Some regions of the Islamic world are the kind of societies that existed in the Christian world of the Middle Ages.

What surprises us the most about the rise of Islamic extremism is the draw it has for Muslims who live in modern,tolerant societies.

We have to keep in perspective the existence of home grown extremists, but in spite of their power to terrorize us, they are only a small fraction of the Muslim community in our country, which is itself a small fraction of our population. And most of this small fraction of a small fraction are governed more by mental illness than faulty reasoning.

Still, we cannot dismiss the effects of being a distrusted and feared minority in shaping the world view of young people in our society.

Let's not push our minorities toward a more welcoming but more sinister faction.