Explain Muslim Outrage?

Maybe its just me, although I doubt it, but I’m getting a “little” tired of the phrase “Where’s the Muslim Outrage?”.  Everytime, some random cleric, ayatollah, Muslim, etc.  does something, the non-Muslim public wants to know where is our outrage.

Please, can someone please articulate what that means?

I mean come on, how about a little common sense here?  People continually try to make all Muslims responsible for one another, however their hypocrisy doesn’t allow them to use the same standards.  I go to work everyday and take care of my family, why should I feel responsible for the actions of some guy ranting in the Middle East somewhere?  I’m also black should I be responsible for every black person?  I’m American should I be responsible for every American?  I’m a veteran, should I be responsible for every veteran?

 When will the insanity stop?

 Imagine for a moment if the tables were turned.  Everytime a Pat Robeson calls for an assassination or a Jerry Falwell degrades another’s religion, imagine if the world asked all the 2 billion Christians where is the Christian outrage?  I could come up with many scenarios, but I won’t go into such foolishness.

Muslims, we have to get a grasp on this situation.  We have to instead of cowaring and giving the “Islam is a religion of peace” speech, just call the accuser on their hypocrisy.  We find ourselves constantly bowing down and apologizing for people who don’t even represent us.  Our very religion tells us that we can’t carry the burden of another yet we sure try to.  I’m often amazed at the great lengths we go through to prove to our critics that we are different from what they portray us as.  We need to start looking accusers square in the eye and call them on their madness.  I never heard of any Christian outrage about the poverty, homelessness, and wealthy tyrants in America?  Not to mention the rampant crime and injustice.  Should all Christians in America be responsible for the “building” fund in some churches that goes toward the building of multi-million dollar churches, while some of the congregants can’t even afford to pay their rent?  I don’t see any Christians feeling responsible for the words and actions of the “good white Christians” of the KKK.

You know why?  Because there is a double standard.  The very moment some radical Christian makes a statement, Christians will say, they don’t represent Christianity, or they are bad/false Christians.  We let that answer slide.  Let a Muslim say that about Al-Qaeda and we get looked at with suspicion as if we are telling lies.

To make matters worse and add insult to injury, in the face of this hypocrisy we still attempt at showing some “outrage”.  We write, have classes, pass out literature, give speeches, go to conferences, walks, etc.  We issue Fatwa’s and almost every Muslim organizations main-page on their website has some statement, petition, or article condemning terrorism and radicalism.  Yet that is not enough.

So what is this “Muslim Outrage” you seek?  What will it take to show you the accuser that the majority of Muslims, don’t agree with terrorism.  The majority of Muslims are peaceful, law abiding, hard working citizens, that practice Islam and their practice isnt remotely comparible to radicals.  Should we quit our jobs, take our kids out of school, and all of us take to the streets in every nation?  Should we all take up arms and go overseas and fight radical Muslims?  What do you want?  Better yet, why hold us to a standard you are not willing to uphold?

The irony of it all, is this big and dangerous “Islam” that you fear doesnt even affect non-Muslims as much as ACTUAL MUSLIMS!  More Muslims die at the hands of radicals than anyone else.  What do you guys fear?  Should’nt it be us Muslims who are scared?  How many Iraqi’s, Sudanese, Somali, etc. have died at the hands of other so-called Muslims?  It’s like we are burning the candle at both ends, not only do we have to fight our radical element, we have to fight you as well, because you have made yourselves believe that you are in danger.  You use 9/11 and you make it seem like it was just you that were attacked.  You use it to politicize your actions and hatred against us.  You act as if there werent any Muslims that died in the WTC.  You act as if there werent any Muslim firefighters, cops, etc. that helped in the recovery efforts.  You act if there werent any Muslims in the Military then and now that fight the same people!

I just get so tired of this pot calling the kettle black crap.

Now, make no mistake, I’m not advocating our silence either.  I’m just saying that as an individual, we should do what we can according to what we want to do, not what others outside of Allah (swt) require of us.  As Muslims we are supposed to repel evil with which is better.  If we can’t actively stop it, we should at least hate it in our heart.  But this goes both ways.  Our disdain and desire to right that which is wrong should come from the internal as well as the external.

The first step is with a voice that may start as one, but can become many.  I think most of us are already displaying our outrage and proving Islam is what we say it is,  by merely going to work and taking care of our families in peace.  Explaining to someone and sharing Islam is a way, blogging, speeches, classes, conferences, etc.  are all examples.  The problem is, that these accusers won’t accept that, because the real ugly truth is that the root of hypocrisy is hate.  They have already prejudged Islam and therefore, they won’t recognize the good that is all around them, instead they focus on the “proof” that validates their own preconceived notions.

Its that same “proof” that Hitler used, its that same “proof” that the slave-masters used, and it will always be the same “proof” for those in who’s hearts reside perversity.  They don’t want to deal with that nor can we expect them to, if we won’t bring this to light.  Everytime we are presented with “proof” we should show them the truth.  Think about this for a moment:  If Islam was as bad as they claim it to be, why isn’t the world on fire?  Muslims live all over the world and are 1/5 of the worlds population.  We are in varying levels of society, government, military, etc.  Yet, somehow, there isn’t chaos.  Why is that?  If you want to know where is the Muslim outrage when people like Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali says nut job things like comparing women to meat and men as helpless hungry animals, then I want do know where is the Christian outrage when Pat Robeson says that radical feminism leads to lesbianism, witchcraft, and women killing their children. 

Explain to us Muslims, what is outrage and how can we express it.  Then let’s come to an agreement as to what is acceptable and let’s agree to both act in the same manner whenever a party within our respective groups act in a way that we don’t agree with or isn’t consistent with the majority. 

“Come let us reason together says the Lord…” Isaiah 1:18

I read this article a while ago on Islamicity.com that somewhat expresses how I feel.  Here is an excerpt:

 Can Muslims be Americans? They ask…

http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0608-3075

While we discuss these issues it is important to keep in mind some of our history. Muslims have been part of America for hundreds of years. Some came with Columbus, others came with the Chinese sailor, Zheng He a few decades prior to Columbus. One of the earliest group of Muslims that was introduced to the Americas were among those who were denied all rights that a human being deserves including, freedom, liberty, justice and the right to practice their religion. They were among the Africans who were bought and sold as slaves in this country. Many of them were forcibly converted to Christianity, as is recorded in several slave diaries.

Also among the early Muslims who came to America were those who were expelled from Spain in the sixteenth century along with Jews who found a refuge in this country.

During the later part of the nineteenth century, Muslims came to this country as immigrants to study and establish their professionals careers and since then their numbers have been growing.

Since the founding of the United States, no African American Muslim or Spanish Muslim or immigrant Muslim was ever tried or convicted for treason or for being involved in anti-nation activities. How can anyone claim that Muslims have not been part of this country? They fought during the first and second world wars and they represented the country in several crucial conferences such as the First Parliament of Religions in which Alexander Russell Webb spoke as an American Muslim. His book, Muslim American talks about the Muslim responsibilities in America.

As a response to the issues raised in your private gathering please consider the following as to how the Muslims are part of the American fabric.

Theologically, Yes – Muslims submit to God who is the supreme creator of all that is in the heavens and earth. There is no such concept as ‘moon god’ in Islam. In fact, the scriptures of Islam make it very clear that Allah (Arabic for God in English, Dios in Spanish, Gott in German and Dieu in French) is the same God that was reveled to Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (Peace be upon them). Muslims are described in the Quran as those who are on the path of all of these prophets. God inspires Muslims to appreciate human diversity in His creation of the multitude of  tribes and nations so that they may know and appreciate each other. He exhorts them not to harm others. Loyalty to God does not contradict patriotic feelings. God and nation are not synonym. One is the creator and the other created.Here are some Quranic references about God that show how God is perceived in Islam:God is He save whom there is no deity; the One who knows all that is beyond the reach of a created being’s perception, as well as that can be witnessed by a creature senses or mind; He, the most Merciful and the Dispenser of love and mercy. (59:22)God is He save whom there is no deity; the Sovereign Supreme, the Holy, the One with whom all salvation rests, the Giver of faith, the One who determines what is true and false, the Almighty, the One who subdues wrong and restores right, the One to whom all greatness belongs; Utterly remote is God in His limitless Glory from anything to which men may ascribe as share in His divinity! (59:23)He is the God, the Creator, the Maker, who shapes all forms and appearances! His alone are the attributes of perfection. All that is in the heaven and on the earth Extols His limitless glory; for He is almighty, truly Wise! (59:24)Say: He is the One God, God the eternal, the uncaused cause of all being. He begets not and neither is He begotten; There is nothing that could be compared to Him. (112:1-4 )Religiously, Yes– Because the Quran states in verse 2:256 very clearly that there is no compulsion in religion. In fact what was said in your gathering is a fabrication. Here is the verse that you can share with the people at the gathering.There should be no compulsion in religion. Distinct has now become the right way from the way of error; Hence, He who rejects the power of evil and believes in God, has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way; For God is all hearing and all knowing. (2:256)

Muslims do not worship five pillars or the Quran. They worship God, the Almighty. Following are the five pillars of Islam that are used as guiding principals:

  1. Testimony of Faith: There is no deity but God (Allah) and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God
  2. Prayer: Daily at Dawn, Noon, Mid-Afternoon, Sunset and Night. Each prayer takes a few minutes.
  3. Poor Due (Zakat): An annual payment of 2.5% of a Muslim’s wealth which is distributed among the needy. Optional charity is encouraged.
  4. Fasting: Total abstinence from food and liquid from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan.
  5. Hajj: Annual pilgrimage to Makkah for those who are physically and financially able. (To commemorate the example of Prophet Abraham.)

The Quran identifies humanity as a plural society, like the founding principals of this country that guaranties religious freedom.If thy Lord had so willed, He could have made Humankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute. (11:118)

Geographically, Yes – Because millions of Muslim migrated to the US of their own free will and contributed to the welfare of this country. The designer of Sears Tower was a Muslim. The engineer who built the New York tunnel was a Muslim. More than 70,000 Muslim doctors toil hard to save lives of average Americans every day and more than 300,000 engineers engage in designing the construction of roads, buildings and strategic institutions.
Makkah has similar significance as the Vatican does for Catholics. Makkah is considered a holy place where the first house of worship to God was made by Prophet Abraham.Muslims do face towards Makkah for their five daily prescribed prayers but at the same time God reminds believers that ..It is not righteousness that you turn your faces Towards east or west; but it is righteousness – to believe in God and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God-Conscious. (Quran 2:177 )

Socially, Yes – The Quran only discourages Muslims from befriending those who fight Muslims because of their religion.
[See Can Muslims be friends with Jews and Christians?]

Muslims are allowed to marry Christians and Jews and who can be better in friendship than a wife. In Islam God restricted polygamy to four wives and encouraged monogamy.

Muslims are reminded to be respectful to women. If there are societies that oppress women, they follow tribal customs and misuse Islam to serve their male chauvinist interests. Verse 4:34 from the Quran reminds Muslim men to .. take full care of women (wife) with the bounties which God has bestowed, more abundantly and with which they spend out of their possession. The righteous women (wife) are the truly devout ones, who guard the intimacy which God has ordained to be guarded. As for those women (Wife), whose ill will, you have reason to fear, admonish them first and then leave them alone in bed and then separate from them. If they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them.

Politically, Yes – Unlike a large number of the American Jews, the allegiance to Israel is not a condition for allegiance to the USA. Moreover, it is the Christian evangelical priests like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell who go beyond the destruction of Israel to say that when Jesus returns, 2/3 of the Jews will be killed and one-third would be converted to Christianity.

Intellectually, Yes – Because the American constitution is not based on Biblical principles. Every Muslim who becomes a citizen of this country first takes an oath of allegiance to the constitution.

Philosophically, Yes – Because Islam ensures that all religions are given freedom. If Democracy does not exist in 17 of 56 Muslim majority countries, that is due to historical and political reasons. Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh are great examples. In fact unlike in our own country that has never elected a female president many Muslim countries have elected female heads of state.

Spiritually, Yes – “One nation under God” resonates strongly among Muslims who consider God to be absolutely Omnipotent and Omnipresent. Among the 99 names of God that one can find in the Quran, several refer to His love, mercy and majesty. The chapters of the Quran start with the phrase “In the name of God most Merciful and Most Companionate” and is a often repeated part of a Muslims daily vocabulary.

Good Muslims and Good Americans, Yes – According to some estimates there are about 6 to 8 million Muslims in this country. Among the list of sex offenders released by the law enforcement recently, not a single one is a Muslim. I went over the names of one hundred thousand sex offenders. Among the drugs addicts who seek rehabilitation, the number of Muslims is less than 2 percent. Among those who are caught as burglars or arsonists or murderers, the number of Muslims is less than one percent. Among those who are domestically violent the number of Muslims is less than one percent. Among those who are convicted of fraud the number of Muslims is less than 2 percent. Among those who are known alcoholics, the number of Muslims is less than one percent. Among those who are drug pushers, the number of Muslims is less than point 2 percent. There is a rape every four minutes in our country. Among those who are convicted of rape, the number of Muslims is less than one percent. Among those who illegally use state welfare system, the number of Muslims is less than one percent. Among those who are involved in Gun violence, the number of Muslims is less than one percent. Among tax evaders, the number of Muslims is less than one percent.
“People fear what they don’t understand, hate what they can’t conquer, guess that’s just the theory of man”NaS

Muslim Lobby

First of all, I tend to be against lobbies in general, because I believe lobbies often hurt the political process.  Not in their “intended” purpose, but more so, by how they are allowed to affect the process.  I do agree that people of like mind should organize and push their agenda in such a way that they ensure that their specific voices are heard by politicians.  What I don’t like is how money gets involved and agendas are pushed by who has the most money, which in our capitalistic society equals influence.  In truth, if our system was set up so that politicians had a set amount of money they could have either through donation or given by the government, maybe things would be fair.  However, in my Utopian mindset, even I have to face reality and give in to the fact, that my optimism, isn’t based on real life.

 With that in mind, I often wonder to myself, where is the Muslim lobby?  Its no secret, well at least to me, that Muslims in America tend to have a great deal of capital.  Why havent we turned that capital into influence is beyond me.  We should be pooling our resources and backing one another, to ensure that our voices are heard.  Now, Im not going to pretend like I know what that voice is, because its very diverse.  For instance, Im a black man in America who is also Muslim.  My background comes with a set of experiences and realities that’s obviously different than my immigrant brethren.  However, what unites us is our shared belief in Islam.

If we were to focus on that and unify as a Muslim bloc, we could press an agenda that’s more pleasing to our faith, regardless of our particular interpretation.  I’m not psychic(I don’t think), but I’m certain that just as I worry about how my wife is treated at the grocery store, some Pakistani, Iranian, Iraqi, Somali, etc. brother who immigrated here also feels the same.  I’m certain we all want our children to live in environments that are compatible with Islam.  We all have unique, yet similar issues and grievances that make us pray for change.

Why not use that zeal for change to actually put in motion steps to produce that change?

Everytime a candidate comes along that is for our issues we should support them.  Even better, we should produce more Muslim candidates and back them.  Successful lobbies, don’t look into particulars, but deal more in shared interests.  That’s our biggest problem.  We are so particular. 

So what if the candidate is Christian, Jew, Black, White, etc.?  If they represent our interests, we should support them.  In truth, if we were a strong bloc we would have people come to us.  The same goes with Muslim candidates.  Who cares if they are Sunni, Shia, Sufi, etc.  all we need to know as Muslims is do they believe in Islam?  Granted, its not as simple as I am presenting it, but these are just basic ideas and thoughts.  Its going to take more than one person to articulate this, so why do you join me and helping plant the seeds for such a lobby?

Do we need religion?

How often do we consider this question? Granted, some ponder this more than others, and I’m fairly certain its not the “religious” people doing the pondering.

Certainly, we cannot expect such questions from “religious” types can we? When was the last time you heard of a person or group question the need for that which they hold dear?

Now this may be a big pill for some “religious” people to swallow the truth of the matter is that this is a very logical and important question to ask.  Look at the world, can we safely say that at this point in time that there isn’t a society that isnt effected by religion in one form or another?  This in of itself has proven to be both a good thing and a bad thing, and the sad inconvienent truth is, the effect of religion on the world has mostly been bad.

Now I know some of you are picking up your stones right about now, but if we thought about it for just a moment we could certainly at least understand where atheist or non-religious types are coming from when they ask this question.  Death and destruction, prejudice, malice, greed, oppression, and many other carnal wicked flavors are served up daily by so-called adherents to “religion”.

Now to make this a fair argument, it would only make sense to at least define religion, before we discredit or decide whether or not it is needed.

The word “religion” from what I have learned comes from the Latin root “religio” which means “sacred”.  This term was used to distinguish between what believers felt were either sacred or profane.  In application we understand the word to describe a certain set of practices and beliefs that are organized and believed by a group of like-minded believers. 

Based off those definitions alone, one can see the beginnings of why people want to throw the idea out all together.  For instance, who or what determines what is sacred and what is profane?  Who or what determines what set of practices are right and what practices are wrong? 

Once a group starts defining these things and another group comes along with a different set of beliefs, can we not see how this could get ugly pretty fast?  Not to even mention what could happen and often does, when the so-called leaders or heads of those groups start manipulating the agreed upon beliefs in order to control the masses of the believing body.

Under these circumstances and definitions, it probably is best to throw religion out altogether.

 However, I don’t think that those definitions are accurate enough in explaining religion.  If religion is supposed to(and that’s a big supposed to) define a set of beliefs that a group agrees upon that they feel are sacred, then the only true way to discern whether or not it should be erased is to understand what those beliefs are in the first place.

I am totally convinced that the main reason that people want to get rid of religion is not because of the religion itself, but more so the so-called adherents.  Adherents, like it or not oftentimes, define the religion they practice in the eyes of the outsider or non-believer.  That’s not an accurate assessment, but oftentimes, perception and images define opinions of the viewer.  Its almost like what your mother taught you about how people are perceived by what group they hang around.

If the only images of Judaism are Israeli’s bulldozing Palestinian homes or dropping bombs on its neighbors, then Judaism could be perceived as aggressive and hostile to its neighbors, certainly this is not the case.  If the only images of Catholicism are Priests molesting children, then Catholicism could be perceived as a religion that condones or is filled with Priests that commit such crimes, certainly this is not the case.  If the only images of Protestant Christians are American Evangelicals, who are anti-gay, anti-choice, anti anything other than their definition of the Bible, then Protestant Christians could be perceived as divisive and other choice words I won’t write, certainly this is not the case.  If the only images of Islam are suicide bombers, terrorists, dictator governments, etc, then of course Islam could be viewed as terrorism and non-peaceful, certainly this is not the case.

Obviously you get my point…

The point is, that in all these descriptions one would see that its not necessarily “religion” that these groups have in common, because all of these groups religions are different.  Its actually the actions of the people within those groups that have common ideas.  Some could argue that the ideas and practices of those in that small sampling could in fact be a religion within itself.  If you actually analyze those actions committed by the groups within those various religions you would see that they all share a negativity that is consistent, even if its in varying degrees.

It is my opinion that it can’t possibly be the religion to blame, but more so the adherants themselves.  The overwhelming number of Jews, Christians, and Muslims do not practice any of the actions they could be perceived of condoning.  The numbers don’t lie.  In just these three religions alone, you can account for almost 3 1/2 billion people worldwide.  Simple mathematics tell us that if these religions were as bad as we say they are, then the world would truly be a different place than what it is today.

That can lead to only one logical conclusion:  There must be something in these religions that support the rise of these rogue elements that oftentimes define the religion, outside of the majority of the group that doesn’t act like the rogue element.  What that is would probably take a year for me to opinion-ate on, however I think its fairly easy to say that the problem is two-pronged.  One, we have to blame the rogue element themselves and try to discover what makes them believe the way they do.  Two, we have to understand why it is that the majority of the adherants in these particular groups or religions allow such a rogue element to exist.

It is my firm and resolute belief that rogue elements become that way when they begin to not practice that which they claim to believe.  I believe that it is a type of vanity that they develope to convince themselves that they are in fact right, even in the face of contradiction.  Many times, the open contradiction is not only present in the fact that they are the minority of the much larger group, but this contradiction can in many instances, be present in their own religious texts.  That’s when vanity really kicks in, because this element in order to survive, has to convince itself that the majority party is wrong, lacks understanding, or is too liberal.  I’m certain we can identify many groups like this without much thought.  They tend to call themselves “fundamentalist”.

So what’s the deal with the majority?  The biggest problem with the majority is complacency.  This group has convinced itself that of course they are right(and often are), so they don’t even attempt to correct the others or they do so in a laxed manner.  This group treats the smaller group like some spoiled child that is acting out, and just figures that if they ignore them long enough they will go away.

Unfortunately, its never that easy.  Complacency can lead to ruined and/or lost lives and we all have stories to back that claim up.  While these rouge groups can be small in number compared to their larger brethren, consider the numbers and size of the group of the whole.  If there are in fact 3 1/2 billion people who believe in “religion”, even if only 10% of that group is the rogue element, how much havoc could that element cause on not only the majority of believers, but also the non-believers?  If it only took 19 people to kill over 3,000 on 9/11, how many people do you think over 300,000,000 people could kill?  That my friends explains the effect religion has had on the history of the world, and why many feel it should be thrown out altogether.

If you possessed a loaded gun in your house and you had small children, wouldn’t you take every measure possible to ensure that the gun stays out of the reach of your children?  Maybe you would not buy the gun in the first place.  If you left that loaded gun in the reach of the children what do you suppose could possibly happen?

My overall point is, religion should be treated like a gun.  It can be used safely for protection and also as a deterrent against the enemy, or it could be used as a deadly weapon that inflicts harm against someone either directly or indirectly.  The difference in the outcome is determined by the owner.

We all know I do believe in “religion” per se.  But I believe true religion is the one that identically emulates in practice that which is believed by the intention of the principles that formed that religion.  I believe any deviation from the source principles leave you with a broken practice that if not fixed, becomes a broken religion.  I believe we should practice what we preach.  If the Torah commands us to worship the One God of Abraham(pbuh) and to do good deeds and keep the commandments then true believers in Judaism would manifest these principles in their daily actions and lives.  If Jesus(pbuh) taught that the only way into the Kingdom of God is to believe in him and follow his example of helping the least of the people, the example of being a peacemaker even in the presence of your enemies, and espousing the deeds and acts of kindness and forgiveness to all, then true believers in Christianity would manifest these principles in their daily actions and lives.  If Islam teaches that one has to submit to the will of God as defined in the Torah, Gospel, and Koran, that by doing so one would attain peace and mercy from God, if it teaches that one must be just and fair to all of mankind no-matter their origin or belief as practiced by the Prophet Muhammad(pbuh), then true believers in Islam would manifest these principles in their daily actions and lives. 

However the sad inconvenient truth is that we don’t live in a world defined by true Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  So we have to continue to ask, when will the real Jews, Christians, and Muslims stand up?  Those of us in these great religious traditions act shocked or look perplexed when some question the need for religion, yet we are the ones that allow actions to be committed that provoke the scrutiny of the outsider and gives them the ammunition to reasonably ask such a question.  How long will we allow our religions to be hijacked?  How long will we allow our complacency to be taken as a pass by the rogue elements to continue their death march?  How long will we not realize that Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad(pbuh) would break bread together and be in agreement as brothers, yet we won’t?  How long will we get angry that people call our house run down and would rather bulldoze it, yet we won’t fix it up or rebuild it ourselves?

Sure I believe we need religion. 

What good is a belief, principle, or set of ideas if we don’t formulate a structure or plan in which to effectively communicate and ACT on them?

What good is a society without laws?  Its the same good as a faith or belief without guidance(religion).

However, if that structure, plan, document, etc. doesnt work in such a manner that is doesnt better the society in which it exists and is supposed to give guidance or govern, then it must be amended or thrown out altogether! 

The Jihad Of Ramadan

This title may be a “little” misleading, well at least to non Muslims, and without going into theological dissertations about Islamic jurisprudence, basically what I’m referring to is the spiritual and physical tight ropes Muslims walk during this blessed and holy month.

These are the last several days of Ramadan and one would expect by this time in the month the jihad or holy struggle required of us by fasting would be easy… Well it isn’t.

This struggle remains throughout Ramadan and the adherence to such becomes increasingly important even as we approach the “finish line”.

In my humble opinion, Allah (swt) rewards us throughout this month and the blessings are greater when the jihad becomes greater.

This wasn’t or isn’t intended to be a short kutbah or sermon, its more of an introduction about my Ramadan experience, particularly today’s experience.

Today’s fasting was especially difficult for me. It’s actually my fault to begin with. I have a major certification class, in which I started typing this entry during our lunch break, and I was reminded of my jihad.

My rememberance of jihad came quickly today because of several “misteps”…well, I didn’t go to sleep until 1 am, the baby woke up around 4 am, stayed that way until 7 am when I left home, and my sahoor (breakfast before sunrise) wasn’t that great, because I was too sleepy to eat.

Most Muslims  and even non Muslims in general can see the suicide in this.

Well, I get to the class, and the people to my right and left are drinking coffee and eating pastries.  We all know that must have been a great joy for me to witness…

Actually it wasn’t that bad, because class was an hour or two after my sahoor.

Now the reason behind this post:

Given the circumstances (being dead tired, hungry, etc), I cannot even begin to fully disclose how difficult it was for me to sit through lunch while my classmates ate catered foods.

And that explains my jihad: I’m weak from my hunger and fatigue and I have to witness eating and drinking all around me. Not to mention like most lectures of this calibre, it was kinda long and dry and needless to say I wasnt the spokesperson for Red Bull today.  Add to that my self imposed “condition” and you have a recipe for certain disaster.

However, even with the great temptation of breaking my fast, I maintained it.  Not because I wasn’t hungry, thirsty, or just plain out tired and could have used the carbs, but because I refocused and remembered why I was fasting in the first place.

Oftentimes, as Muslims or just religious people in general, we get into the “habit” or “routine” of just practice.  We become so mechanical in our worship, that we forget why we are even practicing in the first place.  Like when I was a “Christian”… There was a song called “Jesus is the reason for the season” this song came about because people celebrated Christmas, but rarely used it as a time of reflection to remember the one whom they namesake the holiday. 

My point is whether your a Muslim, Christian, or Jew, no matter your “religion” is, oftentimes we get so caught up in tradition or practice, we forget all about principle. This can happen in many and varying forms, not just fasting, but praying, charity, etc.

So, I began to reflect on Ramadan and what it truly means in essence.  Granted, I haven’t even really discussed Ramadan at length this month, primarily, because there is a wealth of blogs that already do that, and many of them I read anyway, but I wanted to add my 2 cents today, because it all came full circle for me.

Ramadan is not just about fasting because this is the month in which the Prophet(saw) received the revelation of the Koran.  Its not just a time to be better Muslims, adding extra prayers, paying zakat, or whatever we do to be closer to Allah (swt) so that we may receive blessings and forgiveness.

Ramadan is about the jihad that we face throughout this sport and play we call “life”.  Ramadan exemplifies the concept of jihad moreso than at anyother time because it forces jihad to be real for every Muslim.

Jihad as we know, is the holy struggle that one must face daily between doing what is righteous and what is not.  Everyone doesn’t sin everyday, contrary to some dogma’s out there, so in truth everyone’s jihad is not the same.  In fact, for some Muslims, Jews, and Christians their jihad is a breeze more often than not, I happen to know some people like this, we tend to call them “true” believers.

Everyone doesnt sin daily, however, everyone surely eats and drinks something right?  Allah (swt) uses Ramadan to put every believer on equal footing, by prohibiting those things that are normally allowed, in this case food and drink.  It’s a lot easier to deny and prevent fornication, lying, stealing, etc. than it is to deny and prevent food and drink, especially for a month.

So Allah (swt) uses this as a test to show us that we have potential.  If we can deny the physical need(s) for a period of time, surely we can deny the physical want(s) many of which are carnal and oft forbidden anyway.  This is a time of discipline and spiritual training.  This is when we find out if  we have what it takes to actually be “Muslim” one who submits himself or herself to do the will of Almighty God, Allah (swt).

So this “talk” is every bit as much a writing to encourage the believers of all religions, as it is a reflection on my behavior and my ability to call back into focus those higher principles which are greater than my physical reality.

Nevertheless, I maintained and in truth I took a glance at the food and thought of every “out” clause in the Islamic lexicon like feeding the poor, or making up a day, etc.  However, once I called into remembrance Ramadan and its many blessings, those desires to eat faded away.

Situations such as the one I faced today are what Allah (swt) allows to happen to make us better believers.  We are constantly in an evolution process that involves testing, for surely this it what separates those who will enter paradise from those that will enter the hellfire.  Allah (swt) is the blacksmith and we are the steel.  He tests us with the fire, then the pounding, then relieves us with the waters, just to start the process all over again.  If we accept these tests and persevere, we become the sayfuldeen or sword of religion, that Allah (swt) desires for us all.

In the end I praise Allah (swt) for giving me this test and the blessing of today, not only will it make me a better Muslim because I remained steadfast to my submission, but also, I learned to be better prepared to face the fire when it comes. For instance, I’m going to bed early tonight and have a hearty sahoor tomorrow.  🙂

Ramadan Mubarak

9:126 Are they, then, not aware that they are being tested year-in, year-out? And yet, they do not repent and do not bethink themselves of God;

أَوَلاَ يَرَوْنَ أَنَّهُمْ يُفْتَنُونَ فِي كُلِّ عَامٍ مَّرَّةً أَوْ مَرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ لاَ يَتُوبُونَ وَلاَ هُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ

20:131 And never turn thine, eyes with longing towards whatever splendour of this world’s life We may have allowed so many others to enjoy in order that We might test them thereby: for the sustenance which thy Sustainer provides for thee is better and more enduring.

وَلَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَيْنَيْكَ إِلَى مَا مَتَّعْنَا بِهِ أَزْوَاجًا مِّنْهُمْ زَهْرَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنيَا لِنَفْتِنَهُمْ فِيهِ وَرِزْقُ رَبِّكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى

67:2 He who has created death as well as life, so that He might put you to a test and thus show which of you is best in conduct, and make you realize that He alone is almighty, truly forgiving.

الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ

Guantanamo Detainees

I ordinarily don’t engage in discussions about this topic.  For the most part, I thought it should be common sense.  How can we hold people for many years uncharged and without a legal process?  How can we claim moral superiority as a Nation when people are detained by our government with no rights?

Now I have heard the “excuses” like these guys are “terrorists” etc. and we shouldn’t care, because our troops would get treated worse.  Well, when has it ever been OK to be immoral because someone else is?  Like many a mother has told her children, “would you jump off a bridge because your friends have?”. 

America is supposed to be a shining example of Freedom, Justice, and Equality.  Yet, those in power and their supporters for some odd reason, believe that these values that we are supposed to represent are conditional.

 I bring this up, because I made the grave mistake of visiting a Military Forum, which I haven’t visited in about a month.  I began to read a thread about an incident at GITMO and the responses that were given in the thread by active duty and veteran Military personnel, was appalling at best.  There were a few voices of reason, but a few nevertheless.  As a former Marine Sergeant, let me state for the record that I served under a code of Honor, Courage, and Commitment, I never felt those values were conditional, and I was always taught that REGARDLESS of how we are treated, we should always be nothing but HONORABLE, even to our real or perceived enemies.

Anyway the thread in question on Military.com Forums was entitled “Marine Guards at GITMO should be careful who they drink with!”  The thread starter remarks:

“Trust is everthing in the Military. Marine Guards relaxing with a few drinks got a liitle to friendly with a female Marine para legal Sgt. for a Navy lawyer.The Guards never realized this pretty Marine was a spook.. She took in all their stories about the Guards hitting Muslims across the side of th head, and punching them when they started acting up.Of course she felt it was her duty to snitch on her fellow Marines.

She reported what the Guards thought was supposed to be confidential, and they are being investigated for their brutal treatment of the Muslims. Foolishly one of the Guards made a statement: “If he knew who she was they would have never spoken to her,” the smart thing was for to let her her prove it, she was not wearing a wire, it just our word against hers!!

What happens when an American Guard is attacked, and injured by a Iraqi prisoner?

I’ll tell you nothing happens, the injured soldier is shipped to Germany, and sent home, and the incident is forgotten.

I know from a personal experience with a friend of mine who was so injured by a Iragi during Desert Storm.

He was guarding Iraqi prisoners digging draining ditches, while he was lighing up, the Iraqi suddenly turned and swung his shovel, and hit himm square in the mouth..

Years later I noticed while he was painting my house, he had no front teeth, and had trouble eating.
I said, you need some kind of bridge put in, you can hardly chew your food.

He finally told me how he lost his teeth, and I told him their is a VA nearby next to Fort Monroe, hell your entitled to dental care.

He kind of made a face when I mentioned the VA, to much of a hassel, I lose to much time from work.

Regardless I went to the VA and picked up applications for benifits, when I gave him the papers he ripped them up. I said why did you do that, he replied its been over 10 years, and I can’t take the hassle.

We made calls, and found a clinic in North Carolina that would bridge his missing teeth for $200. I told him if you can’t get a ride, I’ll drive you down there.

He managed to get there on his own, and when I seen him again he looked like a new man, nice even front teeth, and I kidded him, now your going to have to beat off all the good looking women.

The moral of the story, don’t feel sorry for the Muslims who get a slap in the head once in awhile, “they owe us.”
and watch out for spys and spooks who befriend you.”

This posters comments were in reference to the following story:

Marine: Gitmo guards bragged of beatings

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061006/ap_on_re_us/guantanamo_alleged_abuse;_ylt=AvHtPxnoIo78ppu3QbAmfTSs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMT

Excerpt:

The Pentagon said Friday that it will investigate a Marine’s sworn statement that guards at Guantanamo Bay bragged about beating detainees and described it as a common practice.

The Marine, a paralegal who was at the U.S. Navy station in Cuba last month, alleges that several guards she talked to at the base club said they routinely hit detainees.

“From the whole conversation, I understood that striking detainees was a common practice,” the sergeant wrote. “Everyone in the group laughed at the others’ stories of beating detainees.”

Now this is my problem:  Besides the obvious disagreement I have about our policy in GITMO, what even disturbs me the most is that we have personnel in our military and supporters that feel that this type of behavior is OK.  The real issue that no one is really touching is the present and real Islamicphobia that exists within a certain element of our citizens and rampant within our Military and policy makers.  This form of hate can not be viewed in any other context than with that of supremacist groups.  Once you allow hate to ferment in your heart for any group, you begin to view them as less than human and the result is the reports out of GITMO, Iraq, etc.  because Muslims have now become less than human in the minds of some, gross abuses go without rebuke in both actions and policy.  Because Muslims are less than human, we never hear about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died because of our policies, or the thousand of Palestinians that suffer under Zionist policy and pretty much how the entire Muslim populace is demeaned, harassed, and abused, by policy makers, other citizens, and dictators that run our countries, many of which America openly supports.  As a black man I’m that much more upset, because it was this same disease of the heart, mind, and morality that allowed the lynchings, beatings, rape, and slaughter of my ancestors in America for four hundred years.  It was this same disease that allowed Nazi Germany to slaughter so many innocent Jews while the world watched.  Hate is rampant and it shouldn’t matter that the object of such just happens to share the same religion or look like those who committed terrorist acts on 9/11.

Here is a small sampling of the disgust from fellow veterans I read today in commentary to the above mentioned thread:

“America is playing a wish wash game. At one point someone is going to have to say, that we just dont care about these terrorists. Why do you? Do you support them and their cause? They plot or killed innocent women and children. When or if released, will return to the same evil deeds. We as Americans cannot cave in to world opinion and must continue to focus on whats important, and that is defeating the terrorists before they get another chance to attack us.”

“A dirty Rat is what she is….nothing is worse than a snitch. Ive had enough of these whistle blowers and this will only hurt morale.”

“Honor? We are in a war with brutal savage people and we have to worry about our own people b*tching at us over some of the most minor crap of this WOT. The enemy is out there, this little female dog needs to either understand this, or go join the Peace Corp so she can get abducted by terrorists and rescued by our service members, the very ones she stabbed in the back.”

“Anger the average Arab, What BS, what about angering Americans.Here are a few incidents you don’t read about in our bleeding heart media on beatings, and the injuring the American Guards by The Muslims prisoners.1. Sticking a ball point pen into the eye of a Guard and blinding the man.
2. Spitting in the faces of our Guards
3. Swinging a shovel and busting the jaw and knocking out the front teeth of a Army Guard.
4. Throwing feces, and urine into the faces of Guards.
5. Heaving food out of their cells that is not part of their strict diet.
6. Punching Guards square in the face
7. hunger strikes if they don’t get their demands
8. Demand they have clean towels and sheets before they perform their daily prayer ritual.
9. Constantly cursing Guards in Arabic in their presence.
10. Faking illness in order to be taken to the hospital, no easy task, it takes 3 Guards to move the dangerous Muslim, and this is the time the Guards are most at risk.

If the Navy allows this para-legal female Marine Sgt to testify and have these 3 Marines and one Sailor to go before the mast, hell will have to paid for all future rats and spooks.

Enough of what the drunk Kennedy, Frenchy Kerry, bleeding heart Leahy, mealy mouth Biden, and the Arabs will think. ****’im.

The Muslim deserve every slap beside the head, and boot in the ***, they are asking for it, and they have it coming.

The scabs on these threads who think this female spook is honorable, CAN GO TO HELL ”

For more “intelligent” debate about Muslim “savages” feel free to take a look around this message board.  One things for certain, just from these posts alone, you can begin to unravel the “mystery” behind the treatment of Muslims wherever US Troops are present.  For the record, these dishonorable turds, don’t represent the majority of the Honorable Men in Women serving this Country, but they sure reflect a “special” group.

http://forums.military.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/409192893/m/1680093290001/p/1

God

Oftentimes, when I’m not being bombarded with debate from non-Muslims, I debate with atheists.  The confrontation ordinarily starts with the notion that science is superior in logic than religion.  I often laugh at the irony of the whole notion, primarily due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of secular ideas about science were pioneered by men of religion.  Not to toot the horn of Islam, but I kind of hinted at this subject in my “Clash of the Civilizations” thread.  Muslims pioneered mathematics, medicine, astronomy, etc.  pretty much science in the “western” world as we know it, yet those who stick to these scientific beliefs, often mock those who believe in God.  I find that amusing…maybe its just me.

 Either way, this is an important discussion and dialogue, because often you find on the net in the various forums and chat-rooms many “religious” types buckling in debate against proclaimed atheists, because they say we can’t reason outside of our religious texts.

I’m not convinced this is completely true.  While it may be for some religions, ideologies, and/or doctrines, in my humble opinion it cannot be said about Islam and Muslims in general.

In my “early” days of Islam I was taught that Islam = Science and Science = Islam.  To expound on that equation, Islam in principle as it is presented in the Koran uses that scientific method to introduce concepts about the religion and God in general.  In Islam, the concept of Ilm(knowledge) is prevalent throughout the Koran.  Ilm, is the principle that states that reason outweighs blind faith.  In other words, Muslims don’t “tend” to just believe, they know. 

 In the Koran, Allah questions the reader as to why they should do this or do that.  For instance, Allah doesn’t just say believe, He says believe because… So in other words, in theory, if the reasoning doesn’t suit you, then don’t believe.  This is why Muslims are taught to reason out their faith and beliefs and if others don’t accept the logic, just leave it alone.

2:164 Verily, in the creation of the heavens and of the earth, and the succession of night and day: and in the ships that speed through the sea with what is useful to man: and in the waters which God sends down from the sky, giving life thereby to the earth after it had, been lifeless, and causing all manner of living creatures to multiply thereon: and in the change of the winds, and the clouds that run their appointed courses between sky and earth: in all this there are messages indeed for people who use their reason.

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلاَفِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَالْفُلْكِ الَّتِي تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِمَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللّهُ مِنَ السَّمَاء مِن مَّاء فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الأرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ دَآبَّةٍ وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ وَالسَّحَابِ الْمُسَخِّرِ بَيْنَ السَّمَاء وَالأَرْضِ لآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ

My point in all this?  I’m trying to give “some” background reasoning as to how or why I believe in God. 

God is a very loaded word.  “God” is an English word first of all, and can apply to many things or beliefs.  I have been taught that God means Force/Power.  In other words “God” is a Force and Power.  “God” can be anything that exercises force and power over you.  For instance, in the Bible, in Genesis it says that man was created in the image and likeness of God.  Then in Psalms David(pbuh) says “ye are ALL gods, children of the most high God”.  Jesus(pbuh) in the NT further exclaims that he is one with the Father(God) and the disciples are one with him.  So if one was to understand these statements as literal, one could say that every man is God, Jesus is God, the Disciples are God, etc.  How is that possible?  Lets not forget the Bible also says that Satan is the God of this world.

So what is God?  Like I was taught “God” is the name or title ascribed to that force and power that exercises or has will above that which submits to that force and power.  Now this can be even more broadened, because addictions are also “God” as well, because that which the addict submits to is his/her/their “God”, because it exercises force and power over them.

That is why in Islam God is called Allah.  “Allah” when broken down in the original Arabic is Al-Illah.  AL meaning THE as a definitive verb meaning the greatest manifestation, perfect, specific.  For instance in America if I said “A White House” you would ask me which one?  Where? But if I said “The White House” you would automatically know which White House I was talking about.  The one in Washington DC where the President lives.  Illah in Arabic means God.  So if God equals force and power which could be any force/power, Al – Illah would mean The Force and Power.  Not just any old force/power or God, but The God.

So, by now, some may say Im dancing in circles and havent proved anything yet, but just give me a couple of lines or paragraphs 🙂

As we already know, everything and everyone in this universe has to submit to what we call the laws of nature.  The laws of nature are various forces and powers that when broken down in the various scientific lexicons, pretty bluntly articulate that there are certain “rules” or forces and powers we just have to submit to.  Like birds fly, men walk, fish swim, etc.  The law of Gravity, Theory of Relativity, etc.  Granted, through experimentation and study, we find exceptions to many of these rules, like there are mammals that live in water, fish that can “walk” etc.  However, one could definitely see that even in these “exceptions” the exempt still have to adhere to laws as well.

The God would be the Source of these rules, laws, forces, powers.  Im not going to go on an Intelligent Design speech, because I don’t quite adhere to that philosophy, however those that do are close in my humble opinion.  The God would be the Source or Origin of all that is.  The Author behind the Big Bang, The Matter and Anti-Matter, etc. etc.  Some might relegate these scientific principles to matter or energy.  But I would counter that, matter and energy is constant.  It takes many forms is present in all things, and just is.  Kinda like in Biblical Exodus, God says I am that I am. 

You can’t escape the fact that energy is not created or un-created but transferred and takes various forms and defined many ways like Kinetic energy for instance.  So, that Force and Power that is present in our definition of matter and energy, for the believer is God.

At this point, many atheists are probably raising the proverbial “bs” flag, because I still haven’t answered some key things about “God”.

So far, my argument is that we are caught in a discussion of semantics.  Much like Jews, Christians, and Muslims who can’t agree if they even believe in the same God.  For the atheist Energy is Energy or Force is Force, etc.  But “energy” “force” etc. are just words to label a principle or idea.  Just like God.  Your Energy I call God.  Your Force I call God.  But not just God, but to be specific Allah, The God.  The same principles behind the scientific identification and labels describe God for the believer.

Now the exception…

Even if we can agree on the Semantic argument, is this Force/Power intelligent?  Does it have a will?  Well, what is intelligence? What is Will?  Is a human intelligent as opposed to an ant?  How do we measure the complexity involved with the movement of a finger to that of an amoeba?  What about the atom as opposed to the cell?  Are these things “intelligent” do they have “will”?  I would argue that intelligence is immeasurable and exists only in the subjective or relative to the observer.  I would argue that will is the definition of anything that has aim and purpose, outside or even within our understanding of that aim and purpose.  In other words, we can explain how rain exists, but can we truly explain why it exists?  Let me clarify, what purpose do we have rain?  Why is it that our existence relies on rain, why not sulfur?  Granted we can break down the scientific reasons for this, but can we explain the “big” why?  Why life on Earth and not Venus?  Is it just pure chance and coincidence?  Maybe, but can we explain that outside the surface scientific explanation?  Can we explain why there was a big bang?  Or are we merely reduced to just knowing that it is?  My point is that this “God” if we were to break it down to hypothesis, would be that force behind all these things that we observe or explain.  God would be the “big” why?  We can’t articulate the aim and purpose, but we can speculate and observe.  Much like the Ant.  We can observe, explain, etc. the Ant, but we can possibly know what goes on in the mind of the Ant, if it even has such a measurable thing.

So God is semantic.  You believe in your Force, Power, Matter, Law, etc.  I call it God.  It is Supreme and Superior to us, because we know it exists and has effects over us, that we cant get around.  We must submit to these laws.  We can have oxygen tanks in space to help us breath, but if the tanks ran out…

The true problem doesn’t come in because we agree or disagree about the “theory” of “God”, the problem comes in with religion.  The Dogmatic expressions and ideas that are often expressed in religion are what oft go against scientific thought and this causes the rift between the Atheist and the Believer.

It is my belief, that if we threw religion out all together in theory, we could all agree that God exists in one form or definition or another.  What the Atheist doesn’t take into consideration and the believer in many instances, is that Science and Religion are the same exact thing for the most part.  Both recognize that there is “something” greater than us all and this “something” is at times understandable and at others unexplainable.  But both agree that no matter what, “It” this “Something” exists.  Scientists and Religions just attempt at explaining this “Something” or “It”.

Most scientists would not call another scientists theory or explanation “stupid” “backward” “fairytale” etc.  True scholars and scientists would just try to disprove or modify that theory to come at acceptable truth.  Which goes into epistemology, but that’s for another day. 🙂 Either way, we should review religion in general the same.  You either agree with the “theory” or “explanation” or don’t.  This can be based off a myriad of things, ideas, experiences, findings, etc.  But that doesn’t automatically disqualify the other’s idea does it? 

We could dance in circles with this one, for hours, and if you want to debate specific questions or ideas Im game.  My attempt is just to give an argument in the case of the “theory” of God.  Now religion….

Many of my Muslim brethren are probably wondering when I’m going to get to Islam.

Well, Islam is the Arabic for the English “Submission”.  From the Arabic “Islam” one also gets SLM or Salaam, which means “Peace” in English.  So Islam is better interpreted to mean that Peace can only be derived through Submission.  Submission to what?  The Koran explains that we should show reverence and submit to the Source and Origin of All that Is.  Primarily, due to the fact that it is greater.  The Koran also says that this reverence should extend to all origins like the womb i.e. the mother, elderly, etc. because those are your direct beginnings.  So the Islamic submission says that in principle you should submit or reverence your beginning.  However, you should be just that much more submissive to the Origin of all things.  So instead of submitting to a tree, the weather, men, ancestors, etc.  things that other religions and ideologies do, one should give even greater reverence to the Source of all that.  The Source of the Atom, the Source of the Sperm, etc.  This is Islam in principle.  The religion itself, like religion in general, gives guidelines as to how to maximize this submission to keep the mizan or balance.  Think Yin and Yang.

In summary, Muslims believe in God, because as the Koran explains, its perfectly reasonable to Submit yourself to that which has will over you that you cannot escape.  I can not make the sun rise in the West, the Earth rotate on a different axis, determine when my hair will grey etc.  In the latter, I could dye it, but it still is truly grey isn’t it?  This is why Science has always been an integral part of Islam and Muslims pioneered the sciences and mathematics.  Allah in the Koran tells Muslims to look and study Creation and all that exists, not because these discoveries will disprove anything or God to be specific, but quite the opposite, science glorifies how Supreme the Supreme is.  Science shows that no matter how far your break down the atom, it all comes from Something. 

So Atheists, I can understand your disbelief in Theism or religion, but if you carefully analyze your theorems and beliefs you will see that you and those like myself are closer in ideology than what appears on the surface.

Representation

I don’t believe I’m alone when I say that the current elected officials in our government sufficiently represent us.  I believe it goes without saying that most Americans want representatives that ideally, put their interests aside in favor of the interests of the constituents.  How many honestly feel they have that in their current representatives?  Its becoming increasingly clear that unless you have a lot of money, odds are you won’t be represented.  What should a people do when their elected officials don’t represent them?  Most citizens want to have a decent roof over their heads, food on the table, and the ability to provide these things with adequate employment.  Most citizens want to live in a crime and drug free neighborhood where they can raise healthy and strong children.  Most citizens want the ability to ensure a proper education for their children.  Most citizens want a health care system that provides the needed and special care necessary to sustain a quality of life that doesn’t depend on rent or surgery.  These examples and many others are more than enough for us to reevaluate our elected officials, and act accordingly to make sure they do in fact represent you.

 Certainly you have heard this before, but how many are actually going to move on these familiar words?  What’s your breaking point?  What’s the magic button one has to press in order to make you act?  How much longer can you sit back and pretend there isn’t a world bigger than your local reality?

These are things I often ponder as I plan and execute my steps toward what I believe is my purpose in life.  I am truly convinced more and more with each passing day my purpose is to serve people.  Service can be in many forms, for me I believe it is in the sphere of representation.  I want to be the voice for those who have no voice.  I want to be one of the few who actually get into politics because they want to help make this country and this world a better place. 

As cheesy as it often sounds, these ideas truly come from a place that really believes that all it takes is the right voice at the right time to help mobilize and lead the masses to effectively build a better neighborhood, community, country, and world.  I don’t know about some of you, but it drives me crazy to read or see how we can easily spend billions overseas, however our crime goes up, our poor get poorer, senior citizens can even afford their medication, children don’t have adequate health-care, proper employment doesn’t exist, etc. etc. etc.  I get fed up when I read how Congress can approve a pay raise for themselves, but won’t raise the minimum wage.  I mean come on, who works for who?  I don’t even want to touch the hypocrisy of “National Security”… Yeah right, we are scared so much about our security that our boarders remain porous and small aircraft can crash into buildings in NYC without the government knowing.

This is turning into a rant, so let me sum this up:  Pretty much like many of you, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Instead of constantly talking about it, I’m prepared to do something about it.  Let us pray that we all get a little sick and tired.