As we head into the 20th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, we are beginning to get inundated with stories of not just the day of the terrible attacks but also of the impact the attacks left on our Nation and the world. There had been warning signs, to be sure, such as the 1993 attempt to blow up the World Trade Center and the attack on the U.S.S Cole in 2000, but Western nations including the United States ignored all this.
We want to think of religion as a pacifying influence on our society, but if we look at the history of religion and violence, we will see that it is not just Islam that has used violence in order to establish and maintain power. We Christians have not been so nice, either.
The religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries led to the development of the idea of tolerance as both an ethical and partial way to live. Tolerance is enshrined in our own Constitution. Unfortunately, there are those in our own Nation who would impose their limited idea of God’s will on the rest of us. This is one of the major challenges facing us as a Nation – how we live in society and embrace diversity of belief.
Prayer for the Day
Liberating One, open our minds to the many ways we worship you,
And free us from the bondage of closed minds and hearts;
Let not our minds be fettered with preconceptions and prejudices,
But clear our minds of the attitudes that harm others.
Let us not be devoured by false patriotism that brings about fear,
But enfranchise us with the ability to respect all.
In the name of him who opens our minds,
Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.
Thoughts for the Day
The highest result of education is tolerance
Helen Keller, activist for the disabled (1880-1968)
The purpose of religion is to control yourself not to control others.
The Dalai Lama, Tibetan advocate for tolerance
How very good it is when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard,
On the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon which falls on the mountains of Zion.
For there the Lord ordained a blessing, life forevermore