Sunday, September 11, 2011

Freedom, 9/11, the War on Terror, and Accepting Differences

I haven't discussed the war on terror much in this blog. That sort of post generally shows up in my (what else?) Another War-on-Terror Blog.

Since today is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, and because I don't think 'religion' is something that a person should keep in a hermetically sealed container, apart from an hour on Sunday, I'm dealing with this 'unspritual' topic.

I've got a 'religious' angle here, but it's not what a person might think it would be.

Nations, Coalitions, and the War on Terror

This isn't the sort of war where one national leader sent a formal declaration of war through proper diplomatic channels to another national leader.

On one side we've got a coalition of various nations. The roster changes from time to time, but America has been an important member rather consistently.

The other side is another coalition, sort of: Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda affiliates are important members; the Taliban's name keeps cropping up; and you've got a broad selection of other more-or-less-well-organized outfits. What they've got in common is that they're Muslims who thing God wants them to kill people who don't agree with them.

Then there's Iran's ayatollahs, who have been running the country since about 1979. Iran isn't all that obviously involved in the war on terror. On the other hand, the nuclear power program that they insist is completely peaceful looks a lot like a nuclear weapons development program - so Iran may become a major factor in this conflict.

Saudi Arabia? I don't know what to think. The House of Saud seems to be having trouble adjusting to a post-Magna-Carta world, so maybe the apparent support of terrorists is more a matter of not knowing what century they're at, than actual cooperation.

There's More at Stake than America

America has a huge stake in whether or not outfits like Al Qaeda succeed. This country has a long, if imperfect, track record for protecting freedom. Anyone who wants to enforce a national dress code, protect women from learning to drive cars, and prohibit alcoholic beverages, will have to deal with the United States sooner or later.

But it's not just 'America against them.' Everybody who isn't keen on having crazy rules imposed - including dress codes with death penalties - has a lot to lose if the likes of Al Qaeda succeed.

I think it's important to remember that many, probably most, of Islamic terrorists' victims are other Muslims. Islam is not some homogenous, monolithic block of bin Laden clones.

I also think it's important to remember that America is supposed to value freedom. Freedom for everybody: not just 'the right sort.'

Religious Freedom: For Us; For 'Them;' For Everybody

I've discussed 'why the rights of Muslims matter to this Catholic' before. Aside from thinking that 'my end of the boat isn't sinking' isn't a sensible attitude - I have to care about religious freedom. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2104-2109)

So far, that's not very impressive. Most folks with religious beliefs believe that they should be free to worship as they see fit. In a way, that's what the war on terror is about: Al Qaeda wants to worship they way they see fit, and make everybody else follow their lead.

The Catholic Church is picky about religious freedom. 'Demanding' might be a better term. As a practicing Catholic, I have to believe that religious freedom is important.

Not just for me. For everybody. (Catechism, 2106)

What can I say? The Catholic Church has quite a few rules - and that's one of them.

Keeping America 'Safe' From Newcomers

Apart from being bound by what the Church teaches, I'm strongly inclined to 'stick up for' Muslims living in America for a more personal reason.

Quite a lot of what I hear and read about 'those people' sounds a very great deal like what I heard and read about Catholics. I discussed how anti-Catholic rants tied in with my becoming a Catholic before. Which is another topic.

'Trouble' with immigrants is nothing new. Like the fellow said, "ask any Indian." As for me? I don't see folks wanting to break into America as a problem, so much as a ringing endorsement of what a great thing we've got going here.

Besides, I think we all benefit when folks with the get-up-and-go to get up and go to this country arrive with new customs, new ideas, and a new angle on how to make things work.

Okay, so Muslims who arrive in America don't worship the same way I do. I'm a Catholic in a largely Protestant country. Most folks in America don't worship quite the way I do as it is: And I'm sure not going to insist that everybody who isn't just like me pack up and go somewhere else.

That'd be silly. Also wrong, and self-destructive. Like I said, I think America benefits from having lots of variety within our borders.

I see I still haven't gotten to my reasons for thinking that sometimes war is better than the alternative. That'll wait for another post. Besides, I've discussed the idea of a "just war" before.

Related posts:
The 10th anniversary of 9/11, more posts:In the news:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Extra 'n'? "it's not just 'American against"

Missing end quote: 'Like the fellow said, "ask any Indian. As for me?'

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...

Lucky,

Thank you for your comment.

Unhappily, your comment included a link to a domain which was registered last year - anonymously. In the report I read, the description of the business was blank, as were the "Business Type(s)" and operating hours.

Since I prefer to avoid links to anonymous domains - particularly 'businesses' which seem to go out of their way to conceal their identity - I've copied the text, and removed the original comment.

Now, here's the full text of that comment.

Lucky said...

Us Citizenship Service In Los Angeles - Protected Foreigners in USA is US immigration service located in Los Angeles, CA specializing in the successful document preparation for the approval of US citizenship.
September 12, 2011 8:36 AM

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.