I try to not get political in my blog. As many of my friends know I will speak my mind about many political issues, but I decided I didn't want my blog to really be political. I wanted it to be more a place to go to learn about technology or see my views on sports and movies. That said I am taking a little detour today.
This is a post I have been wanting to write about since the 4Th of July but held off on. Now however with two major stories in the news that touch on this subject and a third story I witnessed when walking to my car after a wedding on the 4Th of July I decided it was time.
It has to do with the rights granted to us versus what is the right thing to do. Currently in the news are talks about this crazy church that wants to burn the Islamic holy book of the Quran. Also in the news an Islamic group of people who want to build a temple near the world trade towers site. Both groups have come across protesters against what they want to do. Both groups claim they have every right to do what they want to do. Thus it comes down to I have a right versus what is right.
Before I go further I want to share my story. I was walking back to my car after a wonderful wedding ceremony and reception. It was held at the Discovery World Museum here in Milwaukee, and it so happens that it is right next to the Summerfest grounds. Summerfest is a huge music festival that runs two weeks. Well the 4Th of July happened to be the last night of Summerfest. So I left the reception about the time Summerfest was winding down so obviously as I walked I got mixed into those leaving Summerfest and also heading back their cars. In front of me were these two younger women, I would guess early to mid twenties. As you walk back to the parking areas around the lakefront you sort of get funneled down one path so you will see people their selling water or food as you walk buy. Along this route there was a man standing off to the side holding a sign that read "Jesus Saves". Every so often he could be heard saying "Get home safe", or "Drive Safely". As we were passing this man, one of the two "ladies" in front of me shouted at him, "Keep your religion off me you Jesus freak". I started thinking to myself this being the day our nation celebrates independence why would she say such a rude/crass thing. I know she has a right of freedom to speech as did that man, but was it really the right thing to say or the right way to say it. Just like the pastor has a right to burn the Quran, a holy book to millions, is it really the right way to get your message out? Or, is building an Islamic temple right next to a site where extreme islamists, in the name of Allah, flew two airliners into the towers killing thousands the right way to get your message out about peace and Islam?
These are tough questions and I think that if you try more on doing what is right instead of what you have a right to do, you can make a lasting message that would be more open to debate and conversation. By acting in ways that close off thought or by being rude or inflammatory only causes more hate and more misguided acts.
It is important as a society to have these rights and to fight to protect these rights, but it is just as important for society to use our rights in a responsible way.
I know, I know, I can hear it now who made me the keeper of right and wrong, and my answer is quite simple no one. However I believe that in all three of these cases the use of common sense along with what my Mom and Dad taught me about what is right and what is wrong is a very powerful baseline for judging how all three of these situations could have been and still could be handled better.
For example maybe instead of burning the Quaran you could hold a prayer service for those who currently are fighting so that they may stay safe and for those who lost family members on 9/11 that they may find peace. Perhaps at this service you could also pray for peace in the world. A simple solution for the Islamic temple would be to build it somewhere else in NYC. It could still be used for prayer, and to teach Islam just as well somewhere else. It does not have to be blocks from one of the site of one of the worst attacks on America. Finally in the case of the young lady who disagreed with the man holding the sign, she could have simply said thank you for the well wishes but I don't believe in God or that Jesus saves (her thought not mine).
To wrap up this long winded post as 9/11 comes and goes I want to thank those who fight for us and also those who pray for us. I also want to remember those lost and those who risked it all to try and save those in towers, at the pentagon and on flight 93.
Now that I exercised my right to free speech feel free to exercise yours in the comments section.