When I was young I was passionate, outspoken, and deeply opinionated. It came from a good place. A place of righting wrongs, and speaking for the underdog. I was often brash though, and reckless. And as I look back now, sometimes I struggle with the picture of the girl I was.
As an adult, I have become quieter. I hate conflict, and while I still hate injustice, I am more apt to keep my opinions to myself. Some of that comes from feeling as though everyone is entitled to their opinion, and some of it comes from not wanting to be told mine is wrong. I don't know when I changed. Maybe it was when my mom died, but I'm not really sure.
The point is that I usually keep both my religious and political views to myself. Yet here I find myself, days before September 11th, caught up in a media uproar about how we see God, what it means to be a Christian and an American, and the fundamental differences between being patriotic and being prejudiced.
I am of course speaking of The Dove World Outreach Center, Pastor Terry Jones, and their plan to burn as many Qurans as they can get their hands on this coming Saturday, September 11th. They believe that "Islam is of the devil." and that they are standing up to the terrorists who committed the horrors of September 11th. The broad, sweeping generalization of this statement scares me. The Quran is the holy book of Islam. It is a book filled with the teachings of The Prophet Muhammad. Much of the book is filled with peace and love, just like the Bible. It is religion from another perspective, and who are we to judge it.
Certainly, Pastor Terry Jones and The Dove World Outreach Center has a right to their demonstration. We are blessed to live in a country that allows us to say what we think, regardless of the harm it may cause. It is called Free Speech. I will say this though. I don't believe that their choice to burn the Quran on September 11th has anything to do with Free Speech. It is hate mongering dressed up in a free speech prom dress. As a Christian and as an American, I am disappointed at the deepest levels of my soul.
So this Saturday, I will be praying. I will pray for peace. I will pray for understanding. I will pray for tolerance, but mostly, I will pray for a miracle.