Mandan News

Our divided country

Layout 1 (Page 1)I can’t help but note how cantankerously divided much of our country is, yet how peaceful our divisions compare to the rest of the world. For instance the TEA Party and I don’t agree on most things, and sometimes their stance on a given issue angers me … but I can’t see myself taking up arms against them.

Being Presbyterian. there are many times I vehemently disagree with the Catholic Church’s desire to impose their religion through legislation and laws that effect all denominations … but I don’t think I’m enough of a religious zealot to take up arms against them.

I consider myself a fairly good student of the Bible, and have concluded that my master left us with one command: ‘Love One Another’. So as I witness what’s going on in Africa, Syria, Iran and Iraq, I seriously struggle with the radical Islamists terrorist approach to creating a theocracy.

Our way of life in America is in its infancy when comparing our social order to life in the Middle East. Civilization as we know it evolved from this part of the world over 1,000’s of years. Yet, I am often stunned at the tumult that occurs when this region’s religious factions collide.

Obviously, I have a very shallow understanding of the Muslim religion and its history. I do know that Jerusalem has been the center of religious activity for centuries. Solomon’s temple was once the holiest place for the Jewish way of life and that’s where the Ten Commandment stone tablets were held. This is where Jesus blew up and caused incredible chaos because the priests had turned God’s temple into a ‘den of thieves.’ The temple was destroyed and the Muslims erected the ‘Dome of the Rock’, a gold domed monument in the center of the former temple, where Mohammed ascended to heaven on a horse. Today the temple is dominated by this dome, and the Jews are praying that they will be able to rebuild the temple someday.

I also know that the Islamist religion had the same beginnings as ours via Abraham; they mention Jesus in their Quran and have many of the same prophets that we do. They also have many factions like we do (think Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc., versus Shias, Sunnis and others).
It’s quite apparent that the Islamic factions have no love for each other. One faction always seems to be dominated or dictated by another to the point that taking up arms and terroristic activities (car bombs, suicide bombers and such) have become the norm for generations. It’s a sad state of affairs that has no end in sight.

We Americans have agreed to abide by the rule of law and a huge part of that law says that our government cannot impose any particular religion on us by separating church and state in our constitution. Yes, we still have folks who want to impose their religion on all of us, but by and large, we have learned to respect each other’s choice when it comes to how to get to God.

Evidently, this choice doesn’t exist in Iran or Iraq, as each faction of religious zealots are willing to martyr themselves and slaughter others who don’t agree with their pathway to God.

I’m of the belief that each of us is entitled to get to God in our own way, I can’t judge how others should get to God nor can I impose my pathway on others. God granted each of us freewill, check out Cain and Abel, that allows each of us to choose our own paths in life. We can either be our brother’s keeper or his worst enemy. Thus, I firmly believe that each of us makes our own choice on what faith we follow.

Imagine the tumult we Americans would have if these zealous jihadists were to get elected to our government and impose their Sharia Laws on us. Imagine being killed or incarcerated because you didn’t follow the state’s religion … would you take up arms, car bombs and such? Probably.

Thus, it seems to me that most Americans may have a disdain for politics but politics may have indeed saved us from the jihadists and all the religious turmoil that dominates those countries attempting to create theocracies. Let’s hope that God’s got all this under control and will lead these folks back to sanity. Obviously, there’s nothing easy about that ‘love one another’ thing.