Where is The Compassion?

A Syrian child refugee cries during the fourth day of school at Al Zaatri refugee camp

A Syrian child refugee cries during the fourth day of school at Al Zaatri refugee camp.

In the wake of recent tragedies in Paris as well as the far less reported attacks in Beirut and Kenya, I felt the need to express my thoughts on the matter. I’ve been waiting and contemplating for several days now to determine what it is exactly that I really want to say. I suppose I’m still a bit confused because of my conflicting emotions.

You see, I understand the fear. I understand the anger. I understand the desire for hard-hitting retaliation against those who committed the recent atrocities. I understand the need to find blame with someone. I understand because I’m feeling all of these things. But I refuse to allow these feelings to guide my thinking or actions. Time has proven that ideas or beliefs rooted in raw emotion are never sound and decisions based upon those ideas lead to mistakes.

I’ve tried to think critically about all that has transpired and take a more reasoned approach to my analysis. In doing so, I am facing new emotions as I keep running into rampant demagoguery, xenophobia and fear mongering, mostly relating to Muslims in general and specifically towards the refugees from Syria that are waiting to come into the US.  It seems to be everywhere – comments from Presidential candidates, political leaders and social media.

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Book Banning: The Joy of Censorship

You can burn a book, but you can't kill an idea

You can burn a book, but you can’t kill an idea

There are certain groups of people who seem to love banning books and censoring thoughts and language. Among the most notorious are conservative Christians and Nazis. (Although we could throw in Muslims as well, to be fair). Interestingly, while conservative Christians aggressively try to ban or censor anything they find that is objectionable to the Christian faith, they have no problem at all with defending freedom of speech when it comes to insulting Islam.

Over the years, many classic books as well as many benign children’s books have fallen under strict religious scrutiny and have drawn the ire of religious zealots who feel it is their duty in life to protect the rest of humanity from itself. Take a look at a sample of books that have been banned over the years:

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I’m a Victim, You’re a Victim, Wouldn’t You Like To Be a Victim Too?

Jon Stewart religion

I’ve been told by numerous Christians that they are the most persecuted group in America and after checking the facts on this, I have to agree. For example, though it’s hard to imagine, there are still places in this country where loving heterosexual Christian couples are not allowed to legally marry. This is due to extreme intolerance from the gay community who feel that heterosexual marriage defiles the very sanctity of the institution and claim that marriage should be defined as one man and one man or one woman and one woman ONLY! The result of this is that many straight couples are unable to enjoy the legal benefits of marriage that their gay counterparts enjoy, such as being able to cover a spouse under health insurance and… wait… hold the phone. Let me just check something… Oh. Oh crap. Ok well… nevermind. Forget that first example. It seems I got my facts mixed up. Turns out it’s the other way around. It’s gay couples that can’t get married in some places and it’s Christians that are intolerant. Whoops. My bad.

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