Friday, June 17, 2011

But — They're not Catholic

Next Monday is World Refugee Day.

I wrote about the celebration - if that's the right word - yesterday. Also explaining that Minnesota's climate is, for the most part, nicer than Antarctica's, and why so many folks from Somalia decided to move to - of all places - Minnesota:Actually "celebrating" may be the right verb for World Refugee Day observances. I don't think many folks really enjoy the idea of leaving their homes and moving to a strange land: but that sure beats being killed for having the wrong ancestors, or not speaking the right language.

Back to my take on Minnesota, refugees, being Catholic, and getting a grip.

Lutherans, Muslims, and other Not-Catholic Neighbors

Folks from Somalia who came to Minnesota are nearly all Muslims. No surprise: nearly everybody born in Somalia is a Muslim.1 I'm okay with that, but you'll find a few jerks anywhere: including Minnesota. I've been over this before, in another blog:Something I like about living in America is that not only is it illegal to kill somebody for not believing the 'right' things - a great many folks living in this country have come to terms with the idea that not everybody has to be just exactly like themselves. Which, although I suspect most Americans don't realize it, is a very "Catholic" way of viewing the world. (August 26, 2010)

Where's My Missionary Zeal?

I haven't forgotten the Church's standing orders, to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:18-20) (January 13, 2011)

I also know what it's like to be 'evangelized' by someone who wields faith like a blunt instrument. It may make the attacker feel good: but it's really not all that persuasive. I wrote about that, day before yesterday:One thing I'm pretty sure about: Minnesotans who came from Somalia, and their families, aren't likely to take me, or my faith, seriously if I treat them like 'foreigners,' or - worse - 'natives,' in the 19th-century sense of the word. (January 8, 2011)

Besides, there's that whole 'love God, love your neighbor' thing. (Matthew 22:36-40) I've posted about this before, too:An excerpt from that post:

"...'God is on My Side?' Or 'I'm on God's Side?'

"I've written about malignant virtue before...

"...Vicious self-righteousness isn't an American monopoly, I think. I discussed what happened recently in Egypt in another blog....

"...I think it's important to point out that although 3,000 Muslims burned churches - others did not. Some Muslims in Egypt demonstrated with Christians after the church-burnings, demanding protection for Egypt's Coptic Christians. Some of the motivation may have been simply practical: the protesting Muslims might realize that they could be next on the arsonists' hit list. I prefer to believe that there was a moral factor involved, too...."
(May 10, 2011)
I think one reason that "love your neighbor" doesn't always come 'naturally' is that often "love" is assumed to mean "approval." Yet one more thing I've opined on before:For what it's worth, I think humanity comes in two basic models: male and female. I also am about as sure as I can be that 21st-century Minnesota isn't just like 1st-century Israel - and that Deuteronomy 22:5 doesn't mean that God wants everybody to dress the way Americans did in the '40s. (September 26, 2009)

I probably have a great deal more in common with Minnesotans who came here more-or-less direct from Somalia, than I do with many 'regular' Americans. Good grief, I've been over that before, too.


The occasional sorehead or jerk notwithstanding, I think Somalis who decided to settle in Minnesota are doing pretty much what immigrants do: getting jobs, setting up small businesses, and raising families.

Then, a few years ago, a few young Somali-Minnesotans disappeared. One of them showed up again, in Somalia - in pieces. Someone had apparently talked him into blowing himself up.

I think the families of the young men who went missing - and their neighbors - puzzled at least some old-school journalists and politicos. Quite a few were acting like people who had lost family and neighbors - not like oppressed minorities, or any of the other handy categories for 'those people.' (Minnesota and Somalia, under Related posts)

Which brings me to another set of refugees, who are just like me and my family. Sort of. I plan to write about them tomorrow.

Related posts:

1 Source: "Somalia," CIA World Factbook (page last updated on June 14, 2011)


Brigid said...

I think there might be a word order problem in here: "puzzled old-school at least some journalists and politicos."

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


Found, fixed, thanks! (& oops)

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