We are a religion-loving country, and in Metro Detroit, we have a melting pot of beautiful faiths that deserve the praise they give to their holy figures.
It would be unfathomable to think of completely banning one of them, because a select minority adheres to strict interpretations of their holy book, whether that book is the Bible, or the Koran, or the Book of Shadows.
The idea of this country is partially based on religious freedom; it’s in the First Amendment, which means, to completely ban one of these religions would go against a pillar for which this country stands.
But, let’s play devil’s advocate here for a second, because a fellow examiner raised the question of banning Islam outright in this country … So, let’s examine one aspect of Christianity, and the many, many Christian terrorists who have given that religion a horrible name.
For starters, Christianity is to blame for the Ku Klux Klan, now rebranded as The Knight Party, where “America’s White Future Begins Here,” according to its website. The Klan, as it is known informally, is considered a terrorist organization that still functions in the United States, yet their roots are based around the teachings of Jesus Christ, someone I’m told who was a peace-loving guy who wanted us to love our neighbors. In 1999, the city council of Charleston, South Carolina passed a resolution declaring the Klan to be a terrorist organization.
Digging through the disgusting history of this group, we learn that there have been three incarnations of this group, according to Wikipedia, which I’ll call The Klan, The Klan Reloaded and The Klan Revolutions:
- The Klan: Flourished in the South in the 1860s and died out by the 1870s, but members put on white costumes: robes, masks and conical hats that were designed to be ridiculous and terrifying, and most importantly, to hide their identity. They chose to terrorize at night. It was created on Christmas Eve, 1865 during the Reconstruction of the South following the Civil War.
- The Klan Reloaded: Flourished nationwide in the 1920s, and adopted the same code and costumes of the first Klan, while adding cross burning to their “ceremonies”. The cross burning was steeped in Christian prayer, with hymnal songs belted out into the night sky and other religious symbolism. For these members, it’s safe to assume, that these meetings, at night, were a time of worship as if they were attending a church service.
- The Klan Revolutions: Emerged after World War II and was associated with opposing the Civil Rights Movement and progress among minorities. Several members of this incarnation were convicted of murder in the deaths of civil rights workers and children in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.
Today, this group is against the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial in the nation’s capitol, and ex-Grand Wizard David Duke has claimed that thousands of Tea Party movement activists have urged him to run for president in 2012. However, this pipe dream will have to remain in the REM stages for these Tea Partiers, because as part of a guilty plea to tax evasion in 2002, Duke is disqualified from running for President.
There are Christians who fervently oppose abortion, and are willing to kill the doctors who perform them. There are Christians who will blow up abortion clinics to stop the killing of “unborn babies.” These Christians are terrorists, yet we do not call for the outright banishment of Christianity, do we?
Why are the historical roots of the KKK so important in this time? Because it shows that every religion, no matter how pure of heart in intention, has an extreme few who no doubt follow a strict interpretation of the text.
After 9/11, we had the face of a terrorist organization etched into our brains, that all he stood for, all he worshiped, was evil. Osama bin Laden, and his religion, Islam, became the whipping post for our fear — we had something to tie our anger to, like a noose, and we wrongfully decided to hang that rope around everyone who prayed at a mosque. We wrongly got suspicious of anyone who wore a turban on an airplane, because we thought they were going to hijack the plane.
But, in the remarkable post-9/11 episode of “The West Wing” titled “Isaac and Ishmael” which was written within two weeks of the Sept. 11 attacks and aired before the third season premiered, we are given a riddle: “Islamist Extremist is to Islam as (blank) is to Christianity.”
The answer is KKK.
That’s what is important to keep in mind as we move forward. There are no doubt some Islamist Extremist who do not like the very idea of religious freedom, but then again, there are Christian Fundamentalists who do not like the idea of interracial marriage, or the fact that a black man is now president.
But, we cannot paint every Muslim with the same brush we paint Islamist Extremists with; just like we cannot paint every Christian with the same brush we paint members of the Ku Klux Klan with.
If we start seeing each other as black vs. white, Christian vs. Muslim, Us vs. Them, we have not, and will never, achieve the dream Dr. King gave his life for on April 4, 1968. We will become one nation, divisible, without liberty or justice for all.
And once that happens, the United States of America will fall.
Think about it, and I’ll see you at the polls.
Contact Shaun Manley by leaving a comment below, or via e-mail at [email protected].