Rodney D. Coates:
It is with deep sadness that I watch many wrap themselves in either the American flag or Christian Political Correctness in their attempts to deny Moslem Americans a basic right that we all cherish. I must admit that I am a bit ashamed at my Christian brothers and sisters who would act so callously to defame, ridicule, and reject another’s religious freedoms. As an American Christian –I hold such freedom more than mere words, but hard fought, blood bought, and time honored rights all Americans hold dear. And yes, I also understand the pain that we all feel as a result of the cowardly attack that killed close to 3,000 innocent people on 9-1-1.
No American can forget watching as those planes tore into the Twin towers leaving over 1600 without spouses, over 3,000 children without a parent or parents, and countless other family members and friends that will never see their loved one again. Such pain continues to reshape our Nation as we have learned to heal from the tragedy. But such pain should not be utilized to distort the very nature of our being. We cannot allow this act of terrorism to destroy the very things which define us as a People. Our precious freedoms, won at the expense of millions of Native Americans and Africans, Italians and Jews, Hispanics and Africans, Hindu and Agnostics and yes Moslems too –bespeaks of a Nation where differences are not only cherished but vital to who and what we are.
How we grapple with both crises and tragedies defines who we are. History demonstrates that from these events we can choose to either restrict or expand our rights. This can indeed be a time of National renewal or it can be a time of National retrenchment. We can ill afford to allow these events force us into retrenchment. Such a reactionary stance only serves to do what the terrorist could not- to destroy the rights which undergird the basis of our way of life. What this means is that if America means anything –then it must mean the same thing to all Americans –Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, Agnostic, Atheists, and yes Moslem. The American dream, as imperfect as it may be, is yet a dream that is worth sustaining. As a consequence we must separate our American pain from the American Privilege if we are to ultimately see the American dream come into fruition.
*Note: Rodney D. Coates is a professor of sociology and gerontology at Miami University. He can be reached at email@example.com.