Terrorist or Stereotype

Recently, I listened to some people speak of terrorism and condemn everyone who they argued practiced that religious faith.  I’m  no expert, but it seemed that a few speakers had some actual knowledge about the base of the faith.  While I personally disagree and believe they were wrong to condemn everyone who practiced the tenants of the faith, they knew something about the beliefs and admitted that they knew several who openly practiced.

Everything from this religious group seemed to promote terror and hatred of others and of the United States.  Some members stomped upon and tore the American flag to shreds in public protests.  Some members celebrated the recent tragedies at Sandy Hook and in Boston.  They mock and criticize members of the United States military, public servants such as law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders, and they rejoice when these individuals lose their lives even if they sacrificed their life to save another.

Of course reasonable and rationale people know that everyone who truly believes and practices this religious faith is not a terrorist or hatemonger.  Still, we have heard that many are.  Even those with whom we have worked, invited into our homes, and been a guest in their homes could be that spy, that harbinger of hate.  It’s a lit fuse or a ticking time bomb.

Apparently some believe that it’s not about the individual.  It’s about the group.  Individuals are not hurting, maiming, and killing because they are sick or sadistic people, but because of their affiliation with a group based upon hate.  That’s a point driven home by the media and special interests.  It does not matter if the person or persons who committed the despicable act actually believe and practice the tenants of the faith.  If you listen to the popular media personalities, it’s important to remember that the person acted in conjunction with the faith and thus others in the same category should be placed under scrutiny as well.  Even if those who truly practice the faith condemn the actions by these depraved individuals as being the morally reprehensible, the cause for concern is the group because smokescreens exist everywhere to hide the truth.

The arguments were compelling, and many accepted that they needed to be on extra alert when near anyone either affiliated with or who takes the name of this faith to justify their appalling actions.

Even after hearing these arguments, I’ll continue to consider these acts of terrorism, hatred, and tragedies the result of actions taken by individuals and not by everyone associated or affiliated with a particular group or faith.  I wrote before that groups are not homogenous because groups are comprised of individuals who are different from one another.  The larger the group means the greater the likelihood of differing opinions and practices.  Then one must consider that some who supposedly act on behalf or in the name of a group have no real connection to that group.

I might be wrong.  I might be making a huge mistake.  I might be taking unnecessary risks.  Regardless, I think I know a good number of people who would call themselves Christians, and a lot of them attend services with different Baptist congregations.  Just because a small group in Topeka, Kansas, labels themselves as an independent Baptist church, I do not believe that those individuals I know who attend other Baptist churches practice and hold the same beliefs as the people in the group at Westboro promote.

Unfortunately, I’m discovering that many may assume that all Baptists have and practice the same beliefs and acts.  That’s simply not true.  It’s not true of other Protestant faiths or Roman Catholics either.  To believe that each person within these faiths is identical in feelings and actions?  I think that is absurd and irrational thinking.

In this time of confusion and concern about terrorism within the United States, can you imagine what some might think about faiths different from Christian based? Just like the Baptists I know and others whom I do not, I doubt that all, regardless of faith, believe the same.   I would guess based upon the history of the world that most in the largest popularly recognized faiths would not support terrorism and the sadness resulting from the actions of sick and sadistic individuals.