Archive for October, 2014

Extremists in the United States who express the need to hurt Americans who do not submit to their extremist ideals.   People leaving the United States to become part of an extremist army hell bent on destroying good Muslims with values that are right and good.  The destruction of New York City Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.  All at the hands of Islamic Extremists.  Repeatedly, for over thirteen years, Muslim American groups have spoken out against extremism; separating ourselves from these people with soft explanations, patience, caring and loving words, expressions and essays.  Still, many look to us to see what we say every time another attack happens and we repeat those same words and phrases for another time to make people understand I have no interest in killing anyone for their beliefs.  Whether you love America, freedom, Jesus, Israel. Palestine, Buddha, the pantheon of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, your right to bear arms, or whatever the latest Islamic extremist rant is about today.  I strongly believe and respect your right to believe in the God and/or Goddess of your choice or to NOT believe in anything at all.

It is no longer my job or responsibility to apologize for all Muslims and Islam every single time some nutjob does something incredibly nutjobby.  I am no longer going to explain that not all Muslims are like that, especially me, because I don’t feel that way, never felt that way, and am never going to feel that way.  If you haven’t learned that in the last thirteen years, my re-explanation is not going to help you understand that right now.  You are probably going to espouse that prejudicial point of view regardless of what I say when I say it every time something happens.

Also, what does this say that you think about me?  Do you think that I don’t love you enough to respect your right to life?  Do you think that I would hate my country, my friends, my family and my life enough that I would turn my back on them to become or support suicide bombing or Jihadi blasphemy?  Do you really think I would support the calculated murder of people who believe differently than I do?  Who love God differently than I do?  Who strive along the same lines as I do to love my fellows on this beautiful planet and bless them, pray for them, and help them when I can?  I wouldn’t.  I love my country, all my American brothers and sisters, and I believe that compassion solves more problems than words that are hurtful or hateful.  I believe that if you love someone, treat them with respect and kindness, and honor them that all will work out and be productive and prosperous.

My communication with God is a loving one, just like yours, and my communication with my fellows is a loving one just like yours.  I am no longer going to apologize for people I have no control over.  I am no longer going to say that these people are so wrong.  I don’t ask all Christians to constantly apologize to everyone for the workings of the blasphemous Westboro Baptist Church, don’t ask me to constantly apologize for every blasphemous Islamic nutjob, either.


Alcoholic Culture In America

So, on any given football game on television, there are at least ten advertisements for alcoholic beverages.   Going to chain restaurants like Applebee’s and the drink lists are in attractive booklets with colorful photos to entice the buyer.  Five star restaurants come complete with a wine list, suggested for matching with your meal.  Either way, America has an alcoholic culture bubbling under the surface that makes it hard for those of us who don’t drink or be around alcohol to go anywhere cool and fun to eat, hang out and watch football, or just enjoy that rugby game at the local sports pub with friends.

The alcohol culture of America saturates everything, ads on buses, subways, trains, and cabs.  The night lights of the city in neon lights on the bar windows advertising a brand colorfully.  I’m lucky I live in Pennsylvania, my state doesn’t have alcohol products in grocery and convenience stores where I am bombarded with prices and sales on six packs of cans and bottles or forty ounce bottles.  Liquor waiting for fun afternoons and shots of pirates and the Baquardi family woes ad to the issue that I think infects America worse than any other disease…alcoholism.

In just about every rehabilitation program out there, they expect the addict to admit that they are powerless over the addiction, name a higher power, and work a twelve-step program that just doesn’t work for everybody; and by everybody, I mean me.  I have a hard time with accepting weakness.  I refuse to accept weakness against my alcoholism.  I have the willpower and the power necessary to overcome the need to drink.  Not everyone has this.  Not everyone can work my program and the twelve-step program works for them, which is good for them.  What is true for you is true for you.  It doesn’t erase the fact that everywhere you go, there’s some alcohol staring you in the face with temptation and the inner struggle to not give in to the taste of that cold beer or that shot of Jack.

How serious is it?  Pretty serious considering that alcohol is everywhere and when is it a good idea for alcohol not to be somewhere?  When should we separate the alcohol culture from our lives?  When the alcohol becomes a problem.  DUIs are serious, so are drinking and going to work, so are drinking and beating your mate, so is drinking and forgetting where and what you did the night before.  That’s when the alcohol culture needs to change for you.  It has become a destructive point in your life.  So destructive, you stole a guy’s prosthetic leg.  That’s when your life needs to change and you can find that help here and here.

America has its alcohol culture and it’s not bad for everyone, there are people out there who do drink responsibly and are good to go.  They don’t have a problem and go the rest of their lives without one.   Those of us who have a problem are the ones who look at the ads, the lights, the bottles and fight that inner demon who wants to destroy us one drink at a time.  Get the help you need if you need it.  Drinking is deadly to some and even deadly to others in DUI cases.  You have the power to quit and the day to quit is today.

Death With Dignity

Death With Dignity Act of Oregon has been in the news because Brittany Maynard has chosen to end her life using this legal act in Oregon.  A flurry of blogspots have written why she shouldn’t end her life or why she should and the debate rages on the internet with the fire of religion bellowing it into an inferno.  What about God’s will?  What about the sin of suicide?  What about the beauty of the lesson of suffering?  What about the sanctity of life?

What about what Brittany wants?  Atheists countered.  What proof is there that God exists to punish someone for committing suicide?  Why would this be a sin, wouldn’t God want his precious creation to NOT suffer?  If he is the most compassionate, most merciful, giving this woman this kind of cancer isn’t compassionate or merciful is it?  If god is so loving, and love is what god is all about, how is this loving or even a gift of love?

Life isn’t fair.   It has nothing to do with lack of compassion, mercy or even love.  Sometimes things are put on our plate to deal with that are hard to deal with and question our very deepest morals and test our beliefs out of love and compassion.  This is what jihad really is, not a literal holy war between people that involves bombs and guns, but a spiritual war within ourselves that changes us on a new and deeper level with God and our spirit.  What is what good for us isn’t going to be good for Brittany.

Brittany doesn’t want to suffer and believes that suffering is wrong.  I don’t believe that God created us to suffer or that suffering somehow brings us closer to God and understanding God.  I feel God wants us to live lives that are happy, get through the bad times with joy, and if one cannot then another means must be found.  The type of death Brittany faces is terribly painful, horrible, and she will suffer.  She has chosen to be kind to herself and love herself enough to not want to put herself through that.  She has chosen a painful path to end her life, to end her journey of life with the man she loves and recently married, rather than die a death that would more than likely kill a part of her family and friends too who watch her progress through this.  This is her most holy choice and it isn’t up to us to feel compassion and mercy for her to do something she doesn’t want to do, it is our job to love her through her choice right to the end no matter what.  Unconditionally because she is our sister human and deserves this respect.

Let her have peace now so that her last days here are full of love and life, not overshadowed with death and suffering.  Let that fact of this thing fade to the back for the sake of compassion and mercy.