Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's Complicated. Or is it?

Opened up the big, family-sized can of worms this week asking an open question about the Holocaust and some rumor that Muslims were protesting its inclusion in curricula in Europe. Apparently there have been some pretty well-known Muslim leaders who've proclaimed that it never happened. The Holocaust, that is. Never happened. Right then. Fries with your crazy?

So when I got this note about Muslims being 'offended' by the inclusion of false historical data in classrooms and their attempts to have references to the Holocaust removed from school books, I kind of figured it wasn't true. Even so, I was intrigued. It was the total lack of sense in the message that made me think it might be real. I put a question out to some friends to see what people knew about it. And, boy, did I get answers. I am a Cubs fan and I've been to some of the cross-town games so I know a heated exchange when I'm the instigator... er... when I'm in the middle of one. Now, as in those instances, the particulars of the argument didn't matter as much as the tone, the energy, the conviction, the aerodynamics of a Bud Light... no... wait...

I'll admit I'm not super invested in the Middle East thing. I've read some books, had some pretty interesting conversations, kept abreast of basics - but I'm no expert. The truth is if you asked me to pare it down to its simplest terms (and those of you who know me have already heard this from me), I'd say there was enough crazy to go around. There is no greater good coming from the existing policies, nor has any come from policies prior. Clearly, still, there is no peace.

That said, Muslims are not re-writing history for European schools to eliminate the Holocaust. Also, the Holocaust happened. Those are the simple truths.
The more complicated ones sound a little like this, to me at least: Jews are still in pain over what happened. The entire world betrayed them, whether by act or omission, for a long period, and they are still suffering the effects. They do not trust. With reason, they do not trust.

Their Muslim brothers have become the 'evil-doers' du jour. The violence of some against others has been broadcast on every channel, in every language, in high definition, for years now. This loud, brazen campaign dressed in the colors of faith, has forced peaceful people to defend their manner of intimacy with God, as if it were perverse rather than pure. The world allows it, in some cases rises and applauds it. One could argue the world is once again betraying a people and creating - nay - soliciting, begging mistrust.

Both sides - and all who defend in their names - seek answers.

Who among them is the evil one? Who is the more holy, the more deserving of God's grace? Neither. They all sin. And they are all blessed. Knowing this could give each the peace they so desperately desire. Instead, they are distracted from truth, driven by their pain instead of healed by their faiths.

As a Christian, I have been taught that the call to respond to sin does not require one to respond in kind. Instead, a call to the devil is an invitation to turn to God and find His strength to carry on His work. I believe this is true for all people, across all faiths. I believe it is not so necessary to force another to submit to my truth as it is to live my own life of faith.

And what of evil? What of my enemy? My enemy is not my brother. Whether his faith is not my own is irrelevant. My enemy is the devil that calls me to hurt my brother in the name of my God. I keep a respectful distance from this devil, knowing he is there, but choosing to allow him his business as I tend to mine. And when I am called to defend my faith, my right to exist in my faith, the history of my people, I do not do so with armaments, but with arms - extended, reaching.

I cannot touch you with my truth if I do not reach out, after all, can I?

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