War and rascism!This, from April's Atlantic Monthly:
"Jesus taught Christians to 'love thy neighbor.' According to a recent survey by researchers at Cornell University, however, the more religious the American, the less likely he is to love (or at least trust) his Muslim neighbors. For instance, 42 percent of the highly religious (versus only 15 percent of citizens who are "not very religious") believe that American Muslims should have to register their whereabouts with the government; 34 percent (versus 13 percent) say that U.S. mosques should be monitored; and 40 percent (versus 19 percent) look favorably on government infiltration of Islamic civic and volunteer organizations. The highly religious are also more distrustful the more attention they pay to TV news. While it's true that all the 9/11 terrorists were Muslims, none of them were Americans. So why do the religious mistrust American Muslims? The survey contains a hint: 65 percent of "highly religious" Americans believe that Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence."
It even came with a nifty graph.
This got me thinking of past wars, where the enemy was either fascism (WWII) or communism (Indo-Asian wars like Korea or Vietnam). The U.S. played the religion card so often to justify war (democracy versus the godless communists), that we still can't get away from that mindset in a post-Soviet era. We still seem to view wars along religious lines, whether we admit it or not. This war against terrorism uses the same line of justification -- only instead of it being God vs. the atheists, it's God vs. Allah. For as much as our President publicly calls Islam a peace loving religion, he has to know that he wouldn't have the support he has right now were that the general sentiment of the American public. Were we to really educate ourselves about the differences within the Muslim faith, support for Bush's foreign policy would deteriorate rapidly. This isn't to say that there shouldn't be resistance against terrorists or countries that support terror groups, but that we shouldn't have to paint the enemy as "heathens" in order to shore up public support. The results of such a campaign reach farther than simply our terrorist enemies; they ostracize our Arab American friends as well.
And on a personal level, I believe we can take something else away from this, too. Love Jesus, but aim for moderate to little religiousity.