I wasn't that angry about the Prop 8 ruling until….

California high court upholds same-sex marriage ban

Last Night!

First of all, I think it’s a miscarriage of Justice that the California Supreme Court upheld the ruling barring same-sex marriage outlined under the notorious Prop 8 legislation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Do those words mean anything anymore?

Last night I got into a heated debate with the co-host of my now defunct radio show (we should have tapped it) about the ruling and how we felt about it.  Now I may be one of the few Muslims who supports gay marriage, even though I don’t believe gay rights activists should use or pursue the word “marriage”, and my co-host was contrary to my beliefs.  We wrangled for two hours last night on this topic until we broke it up because it was getting very late.

I’m still angry, almost foaming at the mouth angry, this morning, because I do not understand how people honestly believe that it’s perfectly OK to deny a certain segment of society rights because we don’t agree with them.  It really doesn’t matter how those who support Prop 8 color their arguments.  In principle, what supporters of Prop 8 are saying to gays and those against Prop 8 is “we don’t agree with your lifestyle, therefore you shouldn’t have the same rights as we do, as our different way of living is superior and worthy of greater rights and protections under the law”.

So last night for two hours I debated this issue.  Here I was debating the merits of legal theory, Islam, history, philosophy, science, psychology, etc.  and still I was considered wrong.  In the end, to be perfectly blunt and honest, as a minority, a double one at that (black and Muslim), I cannot in good conscience ever support the denying of rights to another minority.  To do so would mean that I should accept when or if the same is ever done to me.

I have heard all the arguments, some I will detail, but I truly don’t think that as Americans we are on the right path supporting initiatives like Prop 8.  If it’s OK to deny rights to one group of citizens one day, it will be perfectly OK to do the same to another group another day.

Here are some of the more popular arguments made last night:

It’s not the same as the Civil Rights movement, because that was about race and you can’t “choose” your skin color.

– Now, “choose” is a loaded word and it gets into a whole other argument, but my retort is that even then, it wasn’t just about race.  Race was just the argument and catalyst among others that motivated one group Americans to decide that it was perfectly and legally OK to deny the rights of another group Americans.

It was the classic “we are the majority and we feel that this (insert minority) group is detrimental to our society and doesn’t deserve to have the same rights as we do” that was the catalyst behind all the Jim Crow era laws and statutes that sought to deny marriage rights, voting rights, education rights, etc. to blacks.  This “thing” i.e. arguments and issue is cyclical.  The same arguments were historically made against blacks and other minorities like the Irish, Japanese, Catholics, etc.  We were a threat to society.  Our morals weren’t the same, what about the children how would they react to an interracial couple or blacks in power over whites, are their lifestyles even the same, what about their immoral music and dancing, didn’t it say in the Bible that they were cursed because of the color of their skin anyway, etc. etc.?  Replace black with gay and the same arguments have been modified for today.  Our Civil Rights leaders of that day argued on legal principle.  It didn’t matter how the majority white populace personally felt about blacks, that has no bearing on the Constitution.  The argument was and remains today, is it lawful to deny equal rights and protections under the law, to a certain segment or group of law-abiding, tax paying, citizens, based on another segment or group of society’s personally felt/held beliefs about that certain group?  Is it OK to deny rights based on beliefs?  Our Civil Rights leaders responded with a resounding NO and fought until the government agreed with them and things have changed since then because of their efforts.  As a result, did the sky turn black?  Did dogs and cats start hanging out?  Did white kids suddenly turn black? (well…nevermind on that comment 🙂 ) Did black men immediately go out and start raping white women?  What became of those formerly illegal interracial marriages?  Did the kids go crazy?  Was society ruined?  I don’t think so.  Now a white supremacist might beg to differ on that accord.  Either way, the principles are still the same in my opinion.  I don’t have to like or believe in anything that my neighbor does, but if they obey the law and pay their taxes like I do, they should have the same legal protections and guarantees as I do.  Seems pretty simple to me anyway.

Then there’s my personal favorite:

God prohibits homosexuality as a grave sin (abomination), what kind of society would we be if we allowed unnatural things that God specifically forbids?

– This I call this argument the trying to have it both ways argument.  People who talk like this when defending their support of Prop 8 are really asking me whether or not I prefer to die by fire or by drowning.  I mean which one is worse, I’m dying anyway right?  First of all, what God states in the Bible or Qur’an for that matter, has no bearing on the US Constitution.

I know, I know, what kind of Muslim am I right?  Well, I’m the kind of Muslim who thinks and understands the reality that we live in a secular state and if we are going to live in a secular state we should uphold the laws of that state, if not, we are free to not live in said secular state, or dissolve the government under which we live.  So which one is it?  Are we going to attempt to impose our religious beliefs on a secular society or are we going to leave?  We can’t have it both ways, because religion should never even be in the debate about the legal protections.  But if we must go there…..

A:  I never stated that voters should not have the right to vote their “conscience” or “beliefs”.  That would make me a hypocrite.  However, what I am stating is that when we do, we have to be mindful that those beliefs that we are voting to impose on others who don’t share ours could come around and haunt us as one day it may be another’s beliefs which we don’t share that is legislated against us.  Muslims, lets say we go along with these other religious groups, don’t we realize that if we went along with the “Christian” majority who supports things like Prop 8, we would in essence be responsible for strengthening their political power and legislative abilities? Afterall, they are the majority and we just happen to religiously agree on this particular issue, but in a few years from now, aren’t we then saying by our support this time, that we will equally be OK when this same group decides in some other local, state, or national legislative body that certain restrictions should be placed on Muslims?  I mean the majority wins right?  What happens when a terrorist who happens to be Muslim does something like another 9/11, God forbid, and a “proposition” is placed on a ballot during a major election that limits the building of Mosques or requiring registrations of converts to Islam, etc.?  I mean it would be in the interest of National Security right?  What about society and the values of this nation?  Isn’t the argument that this is a Christian-Judeo nation enough?  Islam is contrary to the values of society and the morality, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah, these would be their arguments against us.  We would have helped create the beast.  They could easily state that converts “chose” to be Muslims, other Muslims “chose” to come to the United States, right?  Since we “chose” these things, and “chose” to live in a society that believes and have different lifestyles than we do, we should be OK with our rights being a little less than the majority of society right?  All the while, we should still be expected to pay our taxes and abide by the law too.  So we can be equally taxed, but shouldn’t complain when we don’t have equal legal protections and representation, because of course, it’s God’s will and societal “norms” is it not?

B:  As it relates to God….what Bible or Qur’an are we reading?  Last I checked, Homosexuality is not at the top of the list and isn’t even in the top 10 on God’s list according to the most conservative interpretations.  So my question is, why are we so zealous on this issue alone?  I mean, if we want to be God’s avengers on Earth and protect society against immorality and values, one would have to ask, what the hell happened in America then?  So you want to talk about “unnatural”? What about Teen pregnancy?  Have we looked at the latest statistics they are through the roof!  What about the divorce statistics?   Most marriages in America end up in divorce.  Births out of wedlock and single parent homes, exist in greater numbers today than at any other time in history.  Then there are those “little” things like adultery, lying, stealing, poverty, crime, the treatment of the elderly, the orphans, etc. etc. etc.  What are we planning to do about these things?  Are they “natural” in God’s eyes?  I don’t see any protests or legal propositions on ballots that punish or deny the rights of those guilty of lying, cheating, stealing, etc.  I don’t see any propositions on the ballots that make it illegal to allow a child to be homeless or go hungry, let alone entire families.  In our “moral” society we will even foreclose on the home of an elderly man or woman and send them to a home for the elderly which we may or may not pay for!  Do we even want to discuss the treatment of the elderly at some of these facilities?  Don’t get me started on health care and insurance!   We have a lot of nerve!  We have a lot of guts invoking the name of God to effectively legally persecute one group of society because of what we call sinful, yet turn a blind eye to the daily sins of our current society as if they were nothing.  Something about swatting/straining at gnats comes to mind….  To be clear, I care more about the immorality of a society who is the wealthiest in the nation in the world that would allow citizens to go without basic needs like food and shelter than I do about two adults who want to live in a monogamous, life-long committed relationship, even if they are two men or two women.  In other words, I don’t believe religious people even have the theological right to be so up in arms about this issue, meanwhile ignoring when the least of the people in this country suffer.

I mean can you imagine if these so-called religious types were as zealous about ensuring that poverty was eradicated as they are about gay marriage?  Imagine if things like usury were sought out and targeted to be denied?  Imagine if CNN covered protests against lenders because they were so energized as the Prop 8 rallies?  Imagine if it were proposed that it should be illegal to not care and ensure proper care for orphans and the elderly?  Then and only then do I think it would be proper to start with religious debates and arguments against gay marriage.  We don’t even have our house in order, but we are so concerned about another’s house.  As it stands right now, we religious types will sit and observe wars that devastate other nations and people, miscarriages of justice, and all other manners of immorality in and committed by this country in our name, yet we care more about whether or not gay men and women get to share their lives legally, as heterosexual couples currently do and have the same rights, ups, and downs that can come with marriage.   This is supposed to somehow be more important!  I’m sorry, I’m just not buying that line of thinking.

Now even though this is not a common argument and rightfully so, it was suggested to me that “studies” have shown that gays are more promiscuous than heterosexuals and therefore pose more of a “threat” to society…..

– Now that one almost made me laugh!  Now the “threats” were completely outlined, but they apparently range from the transmission of STD’s, to the impact on the psyche of children who may think it’s OK to have sex with anyone….

But isn’t this argument counterproductive to the cause of Prop 8 supporters?

Let me skip over the obvious insulting nature of the commentary, as evidently there truly is nothing new under the sun, history records and shows us that it was the same type of “studies” and arguments that made many believe that blacks were more sexually aggressive to the point of being sexual predators, miscreants, and overly promiscuous, and therefore we should be “regulated”, some even tried to sterilize black men.

But let’s just say for a minute that any of these “studies” were true.  Wouldn’t it then seem to reason that we should then support gay marriage? Wouldn’t marriage lessen promiscuity by providing a legal framework and structure that would limit the spread of STD’s as a result?  Wouldn’t stable long term commitments provide an environment and show an example to children that it’s not OK to drop your pants every chance you get and that you can live productive lives in a committed long term relationship?  Are we suggesting that more marriage is a bad thing?  Are we suggesting that providing a legal structure and framework that is equal to all citizens who want to take “plunge” would somehow result in more instability and promiscuity?  I mean God forbid we let the gays get married right?  Then many heterosexual marriages would end in divorce, children may live in single or no parent homes, teens might actually start having sex and having children out of wedlock, entire communities would be ravaged because of the lack of stability in them due to little or no marriages….. but wait that’s already happening!

Oh, I know, that isn’t as bad, what’s bad is that gays want to actually do what heterosexuals are seriously failing to do!  How dare they want to actually do what we should be doing!  How dare they actually want stability, secure committed families and structures and the legal rights to support them as they obey the laws and pay taxes!

How dare they think of themselves as equal citizens who shouldn’t be taxed without equal representation and legislation afforded to other citizens.

What’s the worse that can happen?  Maybe they would end up in happier, sustained, marriages….maybe, their marriages wouldn’t follow our holier than thou examples, hey they might actually stay married!  What could be wrong with that?

I could rant on this subject for days on end.  I obviously haven’t covered every point in my debate last night or my entire feelings on the subject, but I have to state in closing that we have to fight this thing.

Either we uphold the principles of our Constitution or we abolish them.  Either we live in a secular society that guarantees rights for all her citizens regardless of beliefs and yes lifestyle, or we do not.  If we allow a pseudo religious police to have power over those who believe differently than them, then we should be equally willing to deal with the consequences of the future actions this religious police and constituency may take, when they take up a new cause, or find a new target to police brandishing their form of morality and imposing it on society at large.

My religious brethren, you truly worry me with your lukewarm attitudes concerning scripture and theology.  Picking and choosing what parts of the scripture you want to enforce and while standing by ignoring other parts of scripture leads down a slippery slope.  It may be that the very ones with whom you want to deny rights and condemn could be the very ones ahead of us through the gates of paradise.  Have mercy and compassion even with those whom you have theological, ideological, or lifestyle differences.  Remember that God Alone is the Judge and is the Only Grantor of Paradise.  These Inalienable Rights that Thomas Jefferson so eloquently spoke of in our Declaration of Independence, were accurately stated to come from God Alone.  If possessing equal rights and protections under the law, will produce a citizenry that is happy, who are we as man to interfere with the pursuit of this happiness?  This happiness that comes from the ability to live ones life freely under a just system and legislation, states that one’s God given right to be happy and have the liberty thereof, should be protected.  This happiness can not be granted or denied by man because one group believes that the legal guarantees that they have should be justified and protected over others due to differing individual or collective beliefs and pursuits.  The pursuit of liberty and happiness should coexist and manifest itself in equal rights and protections under the law, if we are to be true to our founding documents and principles that speak of rights that are inalienable.

Maybe, just maybe if we focused more on living our lives to the highest standards of Our Creator, then we would not have to worry about the lives of our neighbors as they would readily embrace our examples. If our example reflected those principles and actions that we readily condemn others for not having, then we wouldn’t have to worry about those who don’t reflect them as they would be with us, as it is written in our scripture, that those who are not shall not prosper right?

However, given the current state of affairs in this nation and the world, who would actually want to be a Christian or a Muslim if these terms were defined by the actions and example of those who only seem to have the ability to organize, rally, and support legislation when and if it’s designed merely to deny the rights of those who don’t believe as they do?

Related Articles:

California high court upholds Prop. 8

California high court upholds same-sex marriage ban

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I wasnt that angry about the Prop 8 ruling until….

California high court upholds same-sex marriage ban Last Night! First of all, I think it's a miscarriage of Justice that the California Supreme Court upheld the ruling barring same-sex marriage outlined under the notorious Prop 8 legislation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Do those words mean anything anymore? Last night I got into a heated debate with the c0-host of my now defunct radio show (we should have tapped it) about the ruling and how we felt about it.  Now I may be one of the few Muslims who supports gay marriage, even though I don't believe gay rights activists should use or pursue the word "marriage", and my co-host was contrary to my beliefs.  We wrangled for two hours last night on this topic until we broke it up because it was getting very late. I'm still angry, almost foaming at the mouth angry, this morning, because I do not understand how people honestly believe that it's perfectly OK to deny a certain segment of society rights because we don't agree with them.  It really doesn't matter how those who support Prop 8 color their arguments.  In principle, what supporters of Prop 8 are saying to gays and those against Prop 8 is "we don't agree with your lifestyle, therefore you shouldn't have the same rights as we do, as our different way of living is superior and worthy of greater rights and protections under the law". So last night for two hours I debated this issue.  Here I was debating the merits of legal theory, Islam, history, philosophy, science, psychology, etc.  and still I was considered wrong.  In the end, to be perfectly blunt and honest, as a minority, a double one at that (black and Muslim), I cannot in good conscience ever support the denying of rights to another minority.  To do so would mean that I should accept when or if the same is ever done to me. I have heard all the arguments, some I will detail, but I truly don't think that as Americans we are on the right path supporting initiatives like Prop 8.  If it's OK to deny rights to one group of citizens one day, it will be perfectly OK to do the same to another group another day. Here are some of the more popular arguments made last night:

It's not the same as the Civil Rights movement, because that was about race and you can't "choose" your skin color.

– Now, "choose" is a loaded word and it gets into a whole other argument, but my retort is that even then, it wasn't just about race.  Race was just the argument and catalyst among others that motivated one group Americans to decide that it was perfectly and legally OK to deny the rights of another group Americans. It was the classic "we are the majority and we feel that this (insert minority) group is detrimental to our society and doesn't deserve to have the same rights as we do" that was the catalyst behind all the Jim Crow era laws and statutes that sought to deny marriage rights, voting rights, education rights, etc. to blacks.  This "thing" i.e. arguments and issue is cyclical.  The same arguments were historically made against blacks and other minorities like the Irish, Japanese, Catholics, etc.  We were a threat to society.  Our morals weren't the same, what about the children how would they react to an interracial couple or blacks in power over whites, are their lifestyles even the same, what about their immoral music and dancing, didn't it say in the Bible that they were cursed because of the color of their skin anyway, etc. etc. etc.?  Replace black with gay and the same arguments have been modified for today.  Our Civil Rights leaders of that day argued on legal principle.  It didn't matter how the majority white populace personally felt about blacks, that has no bearing on the Constitution.  The argument was and remains today, is it lawful to deny equal rights and protections under the law, to a certain segment or group of law-abiding, tax paying, citizens, based on another segment or group of society's personally felt/held beliefs about that certain group?  Is it OK to deny rights based on beliefs?  Our Civil Rights leaders responded with a resounding NO and fought until the government agreed with them and things have changed since then because of their efforts.  As a result, did the sky turn black?  Did dogs and cats start hanging out?  Did white kids suddenly turn black? (well…nevermind on that comment 🙂 ) Did black men immediately go out and start raping white women?  What became of those formerly illegal interracial marriages?  Did the kids go crazy?  Was society ruined?  I don't think so.  Now a white supremacist might beg to differ on that accord.  Either way, the principles are still the same in my opinion.  I don't have to like or believe in anything that my neighbor does, but if they obey the law and pay their taxes like I do, they should have the same legal protections and guarantees as I do.  Seems pretty simple to me anyway. Then there's my personal favorite:

God prohibits homosexuality as a grave sin (abomination), what kind of society would we be if we allowed unnatural things that God specifically forbids?

– This I call this argument the trying to have it both ways argument.  People who talk like this when defending their support of Prop 8 are really asking me whether or not I prefer to die by fire or by drowning.  I mean which one is worse, I'm dying anyway right?  First of all, what God states in the Bible or Qur'an for that matter, has no bearing on the US Constitution. I know, I know, what kind of Muslim am I right?  Well, I'm the kind of Muslim who thinks and understands the reality that we live in a secular state and if we are going to live in a secular state we should uphold the laws of that state, if not, we are free to not live in said secular state, or dissolve the government under which we live.  So which one is it?  Are we going to attempt to impose our religious beliefs on a secular society or are we going to leave?  We can't have it both ways, because religion should never even be in the debate about the legal protections.  But if we must go there….. A:  I never stated that voters should not have the right to vote their "conscience" or "beliefs".  That would make me a hypocrite.  However, what I am stating is that when we do, we have to be mindful that those beliefs that we are voting to impose on others who don't share ours could come around and haunt us as one day it may be another's beliefs which we don't share that is legislated against us.  Muslims, lets say we go along with these other religous groups, don't we realize that if we went along with the "Christian" majority who supports things like Prop 8, we would in essence be responsible for strengthening their political power and legislative abilities? Afterall, they are the majority and we just happen to religiously agree on this particular issue, but in a few years from now, aren't we then saying by our support this time, that we will equally be OK when this same group decides in some other local, state, or national legislative body that certain restrictions should be placed on Muslims?  I mean the majority wins right?  What happens when a terrorist who happens to be Muslim does something like another 9/11, God forbid, and a "proposition" is placed on a ballot during a major election that limits the building of Mosques or requiring registrations of converts to Islam, etc.?  I mean it would be in the interest of National Security right?  What about society and the values of this nation?  Isn't the argument that this is a Christian-Judeo nation enough?  Islam is contrary to the values of society and the morality, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah, these would be their arguments against us.  We would have helped create the beast.  They could easily state that converts "chose" to be Muslims, other Muslims "chose" to come to the United States, right?  Since we "chose" these things, and "chose" to live in a society that believes and have different lifestyles than we do, we should be OK with our rights being a little less than the majority of society right?  All the while, we should still be expected to pay our taxes and abide by the law too.  So we can be equally taxed, but shouldn't complain when we don't have equal legal protections and representation, because of course, it's God's will and societal "norms" is it not? B:  As it relates to God….what Bible or Qur'an are we reading?  Last I checked, Homosexuality is not at the top of the list and isn't even in the top 10 on God's list according to the most conservative interpretations.  So my question is, why are we so zealous on this issue alone?  I mean, if we want to be God's avengers on Earth and protect society against immorality and values, one would have to ask, what the hell happened in America then?  So you want to talk about "unnatural"? What about Teen pregnancy?  Have we looked at the latest statistics they are through the roof!  What about the divorce statistics?   Most marriages in America end up in divorce.  Births out of wedlock and single parent homes, exist in greater numbers today than at any other time in history.  Then there are those "little" things like adultery, lying, stealing, poverty, crime, the treatment of the elderly, the orphans, etc. etc. etc.  What are we planning to do about these things?  Are they "natural" in God's eyes?  I don't see any protests or legal propositions on ballots that punish or deny the rights of those guilty of lying, cheating, stealing, etc.  I don't see any propositions on the ballots that make it illegal to allow a child to be homeless or go hungry, let alone entire families.  In our "moral" society we will even foreclose on the home of an elderly man or woman and send them to a home for the elderly which we may or may not pay for!  Do we even want to discuss the treatment of the elderly at some of these facilities?  Don't get me started on health care and insurance!   We have a lot of nerve!  We have a lot of guts invoking the name of God to effectively legally persecute one group of society because of what we call sinful, yet turn a blind eye to the dialy sins of our current society as if they were nothing.  Something about swatting/straining at gnats comes to mind….  To be clear, I care more about the immorality of a society who is the wealthiest in the nation in the world that would allow citizens to go without basic needs like food and shelter than I do about two adults who want to live in a monogamous, life-long committed relationship, even if they are two men or two women.  In other words, I don't believe religious people even have the theological right to be so up in arms about this issue, meanwhile ignoring when the least of the people in this country suffer. I mean can you imagine if these so-called religious types were as zealous about ensuring that poverty was eradicated as they are about gay marriage?  Imagine if things like usury were sought out and targeted to be denied?  Imagine if CNN covered protests against lenders because they were so energized as the Prop 8 rallies?  Imagine if it were proposed that it should be illegal to not care and ensure proper care for orphans and the elderly?  Then and only then do I think it would be proper to start with religious debates and arguments against gay marriage.  We don't even have our house in order, but we are so concerned about another's house.  As it stands right now, we religious types will sit and observe wars that devastate other nations and people, miscarriages of justice, and all other manners of immorality in and commited by this country in our name, yet we care more about whether or not gay men and women get to share their lives legally, as heterosexual couples currently do and have the same rights, ups, and downs that can come with marriage.   This is supposed to somehow be more important!  I'm sorry, I'm just not buying that line of thinking.

Now even though this is not a common argument and rightfully so, it was suggested to me that "studies" have shown that gays are more promiscuous than heterosexuals and therefore pose more of a "threat" to society…..

– Now that one almost made me laugh!  Now the "threats" were completely outlined, but they apparently range from the transmission of STD's, to the impact on the psyche of children who may think it's OK to have sex with anyone…. But isn't this argument counterproductive to the cause of Prop 8 supporters? Let me skip over the obvious insulting nature of the commentary, as evidently there truly is nothing new under the sun, history records and shows us that it was the same type of "studies" and arguments that made many believe that blacks were more sexually agressive to the point of being sexual predators, miscreants, and overly promiscuous, and therefore we should be "regulated", some even tried to sterilize black men. But let's just say for a minute that any of these "studies" were true.  Wouldn't it then seem to reason that we should then support gay marriage? Wouldn't marriage lessen promiscuity by providing a legal framework and structure that would limit the spread of STD's as a result?  Wouldn't stable long term commitments provide an environment and show an example to children that it's not OK to drop your pants every chance you get and that you can live productive lives in a committed long term relationship?  Are we suggesting that more marriage is a bad thing?  Are we suggesting that providing a legal structure and framework that is equal to all citizens who want to take "plunge" would somehow result in more instability and promiscuity?  I mean God forbid we let the gays get married right?  Then many heterosexual marriages would end in divorce, children may live in single or no parent homes, teens might actually start having sex and having children out of wedlock, entire communities would be ravaged because of the lack of stability in them due to little or know marriages….. but wait that's already happening! Oh, I know, that isn't as bad, what's bad is that gays want to actually do what heterosexuals are seriously failing to do!  How dare they want to actually do what we should be doing!  How dare they actually want stability, secure committed families and structures and the legal rights to support them as they obey the laws and pay taxes! How dare they think of themselves as equal citizens who shouldn't be taxed without equal representation and legislation afforded to other citizens. What's the worse that can happen?  Maybe they would end up in happier, sustained, marriages….maybe, their marriages wouldn't follow our holier than thou examples, hey they might actually stay married!  What could be wrong with that? I could rant on this subject for days on end.  I obviously haven't covered every point in my debate last night or my entire feelings on the subject, but I have to state in closing that we have to fight this thing. Either we uphold the principles of our Constitution or we abolish them.  Either we live in a secular society that guarantees rights for all her citizens regardless of beliefs and yes lifestyle, or we do not.  If we allow a pseudo religious police to have power over those who believe differently than them, then we should be equally willing to deal with the consequences of the future actions this religous police and constituency may take, when they take up a new cause, or find a new target to police brandishing their form of morality and imposing it on society at large. My religious brethren, you truly worry me with your lukewarm attitudes concerning scripture and theology.  Picking and choosing what parts of the scripture you want to enforce and while standing by ignoring other parts of scripture leads down a slippery slope.  It may be that the very ones with whom you want to deny rights and condemn could be the very ones ahead of us through the gates of paradise.  Have mercy and compassion even with those whom you have theological, ideological, or lifesytle differences.  Remember that God Alone is the Judge and is the Only Granter of Paradise.  These Alienable Rights that Thomas Jefferson so elequently spoke of in our Declarition of Independence, were accurately stated to come from God Alone.  If possesing equal rights and protections under the law, will produce a citizenry that is happy, who are we as man to intefere with the pursuit of this happiness?  This happiness that comes from the ability to live ones life freely under a just system and legislation, states that one's God given right to be happy and have the liberty thereof, should be protected.  This happiness can not be granted or denied by man because one group believes that the legal garantees that they have should be justified and protected over others due to differing individual or collective beliefs and pursuits.  The pursuit of liberty and happiness should coexist and manifest itself in equal rights and protections under the law, if we are to be true to our founding documents and principles that speak of rights that are inalienable. Maybe, just maybe if we focused more on living our lives to the highest standards of Our Creator, then we would not have to worry about the lives of our neighbors as they would would readily embrace our examples. If our example reflected those principles and actions that we readily condemn others for not having, then we wouldn't have to worry about those who don't reflect them as they would be with us, as it is written in our scripture, that those who are not shall not prosper right? However, given the current state of affairs in this nation and the world, who would actually want to be a Christian or a Muslim if these terms were defined by the actions and example of those who only seem to have the ability to organize, rally, and support legislation when and if it's designed merely to deny the rights of those who don't believe as they do? Related Articles:

California high court upholds Prop. 8

California high court upholds same-sex marriage ban

I wasn’t that angry about the Prop 8 ruling until….

California high court upholds same-sex marriage ban

Last Night!

First of all, I think it’s a miscarriage of Justice that the California Supreme Court upheld the ruling barring same-sex marriage outlined under the notorious Prop 8 legislation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Do those words mean anything anymore?

Last night I got into a heated debate with the c0-host of my now defunct radio show (we should have tapped it) about the ruling and how we felt about it.  Now I may be one of the few Muslims who supports gay marriage, even though I don’t believe gay rights activists should use or pursue the word “marriage”, and my co-host was contrary to my beliefs.  We wrangled for two hours last night on this topic until we broke it up because it was getting very late.

I’m still angry, almost foaming at the mouth angry, this morning, because I do not understand how people honestly believe that it’s perfectly OK to deny a certain segment of society rights because we don’t agree with them.  It really doesn’t matter how those who support Prop 8 color their arguments.  In principle, what supporters of Prop 8 are saying to gays and those against Prop 8 is “we don’t agree with your lifestyle, therefore you shouldn’t have the same rights as we do, as our different way of living is superior and worthy of greater rights and protections under the law”.

So last night for two hours I debated this issue.  Here I was debating the merits of legal theory, Islam, history, philosophy, science, psychology, etc.  and still I was considered wrong.  In the end, to be perfectly blunt and honest, as a minority, a double one at that (black and Muslim), I cannot in good conscience ever support the denying of rights to another minority.  To do so would mean that I should accept when or if the same is ever done to me.

I have heard all the arguments, some I will detail, but I truly don’t think that as Americans we are on the right path supporting initiatives like Prop 8.  If it’s OK to deny rights to one group of citizens one day, it will be perfectly OK to do the same to another group another day.

Here are some of the more popular arguments made last night:

It’s not the same as the Civil Rights movement, because that was about race and you can’t “choose” your skin color.

– Now, “choose” is a loaded word and it gets into a whole other argument, but my retort is that even then, it wasn’t just about race.  Race was just the argument and catalyst among others that motivated one group Americans to decide that it was perfectly and legally OK to deny the rights of another group Americans.

It was the classic “we are the majority and we feel that this (insert minority) group is detrimental to our society and doesn’t deserve to have the same rights as we do” that was the catalyst behind all the Jim Crow era laws and statutes that sought to deny marriage rights, voting rights, education rights, etc. to blacks.  This “thing” i.e. arguments and issue is cyclical.  The same arguments were historically made against blacks and other minorities like the Irish, Japanese, Catholics, etc.  We were a threat to society.  Our morals weren’t the same, what about the children how would they react to an interracial couple or blacks in power over whites, are their lifestyles even the same, what about their immoral music and dancing, didn’t it say in the Bible that they were cursed because of the color of their skin anyway, etc. etc. etc.?  Replace black with gay and the same arguments have been modified for today.  Our Civil Rights leaders of that day argued on legal principle.  It didn’t matter how the majority white populace personally felt about blacks, that has no bearing on the Constitution.  The argument was and remains today, is it lawful to deny equal rights and protections under the law, to a certain segment or group of law-abiding, tax paying, citizens, based on another segment or group of society’s personally felt/held beliefs about that certain group?  Is it OK to deny rights based on beliefs?  Our Civil Rights leaders responded with a resounding NO and fought until the government agreed with them and things have changed since then because of their efforts.  As a result, did the sky turn black?  Did dogs and cats start hanging out?  Did white kids suddenly turn black? (well…nevermind on that comment 🙂 ) Did black men immediately go out and start raping white women?  What became of those formerly illegal interracial marriages?  Did the kids go crazy?  Was society ruined?  I don’t think so.  Now a white supremacist might beg to differ on that accord.  Either way, the principles are still the same in my opinion.  I don’t have to like or believe in anything that my neighbor does, but if they obey the law and pay their taxes like I do, they should have the same legal protections and guarantees as I do.  Seems pretty simple to me anyway.

Then there’s my personal favorite:

God prohibits homosexuality as a grave sin (abomination), what kind of society would we be if we allowed unnatural things that God specifically forbids?

– This I call this argument the trying to have it both ways argument.  People who talk like this when defending their support of Prop 8 are really asking me whether or not I prefer to die by fire or by drowning.  I mean which one is worse, I’m dying anyway right?  First of all, what God states in the Bible or Qur’an for that matter, has no bearing on the US Constitution.

I know, I know, what kind of Muslim am I right?  Well, I’m the kind of Muslim who thinks and understands the reality that we live in a secular state and if we are going to live in a secular state we should uphold the laws of that state, if not, we are free to not live in said secular state, or dissolve the government under which we live.  So which one is it?  Are we going to attempt to impose our religious beliefs on a secular society or are we going to leave?  We can’t have it both ways, because religion should never even be in the debate about the legal protections.  But if we must go there…..

A:  I never stated that voters should not have the right to vote their “conscience” or “beliefs”.  That would make me a hypocrite.  However, what I am stating is that when we do, we have to be mindful that those beliefs that we are voting to impose on others who don’t share ours could come around and haunt us as one day it may be another’s beliefs which we don’t share that is legislated against us.  Muslims, lets say we go along with these other religous groups, don’t we realize that if we went along with the “Christian” majority who supports things like Prop 8, we would in essence be responsible for strengthening their political power and legislative abilities? Afterall, they are the majority and we just happen to religiously agree on this particular issue, but in a few years from now, aren’t we then saying by our support this time, that we will equally be OK when this same group decides in some other local, state, or national legislative body that certain restrictions should be placed on Muslims?  I mean the majority wins right?  What happens when a terrorist who happens to be Muslim does something like another 9/11, God forbid, and a “proposition” is placed on a ballot during a major election that limits the building of Mosques or requiring registrations of converts to Islam, etc.?  I mean it would be in the interest of National Security right?  What about society and the values of this nation?  Isn’t the argument that this is a Christian-Judeo nation enough?  Islam is contrary to the values of society and the morality, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah, these would be their arguments against us.  We would have helped create the beast.  They could easily state that converts “chose” to be Muslims, other Muslims “chose” to come to the United States, right?  Since we “chose” these things, and “chose” to live in a society that believes and have different lifestyles than we do, we should be OK with our rights being a little less than the majority of society right?  All the while, we should still be expected to pay our taxes and abide by the law too.  So we can be equally taxed, but shouldn’t complain when we don’t have equal legal protections and representation, because of course, it’s God’s will and societal “norms” is it not?

B:  As it relates to God….what Bible or Qur’an are we reading?  Last I checked, Homosexuality is not at the top of the list and isn’t even in the top 10 on God’s list according to the most conservative interpretations.  So my question is, why are we so zealous on this issue alone?  I mean, if we want to be God’s avengers on Earth and protect society against immorality and values, one would have to ask, what the hell happened in America then?  So you want to talk about “unnatural”? What about Teen pregnancy?  Have we looked at the latest statistics they are through the roof!  What about the divorce statistics?   Most marriages in America end up in divorce.  Births out of wedlock and single parent homes, exist in greater numbers today than at any other time in history.  Then there are those “little” things like adultery, lying, stealing, poverty, crime, the treatment of the elderly, the orphans, etc. etc. etc.  What are we planning to do about these things?  Are they “natural” in God’s eyes?  I don’t see any protests or legal propositions on ballots that punish or deny the rights of those guilty of lying, cheating, stealing, etc.  I don’t see any propositions on the ballots that make it illegal to allow a child to be homeless or go hungry, let alone entire families.  In our “moral” society we will even foreclose on the home of an elderly man or woman and send them to a home for the elderly which we may or may not pay for!  Do we even want to discuss the treatment of the elderly at some of these facilities?  Don’t get me started on health care and insurance!   We have a lot of nerve!  We have a lot of guts invoking the name of God to effectively legally persecute one group of society because of what we call sinful, yet turn a blind eye to the dialy sins of our current society as if they were nothing.  Something about swatting/straining at gnats comes to mind….  To be clear, I care more about the immorality of a society who is the wealthiest in the nation in the world that would allow citizens to go without basic needs like food and shelter than I do about two adults who want to live in a monogamous, life-long committed relationship, even if they are two men or two women.  In other words, I don’t believe religious people even have the theological right to be so up in arms about this issue, meanwhile ignoring when the least of the people in this country suffer.

I mean can you imagine if these so-called religious types were as zealous about ensuring that poverty was eradicated as they are about gay marriage?  Imagine if things like usury were sought out and targeted to be denied?  Imagine if CNN covered protests against lenders because they were so energized as the Prop 8 rallies?  Imagine if it were proposed that it should be illegal to not care and ensure proper care for orphans and the elderly?  Then and only then do I think it would be proper to start with religious debates and arguments against gay marriage.  We don’t even have our house in order, but we are so concerned about another’s house.  As it stands right now, we religious types will sit and observe wars that devastate other nations and people, miscarriages of justice, and all other manners of immorality in and commited by this country in our name, yet we care more about whether or not gay men and women get to share their lives legally, as heterosexual couples currently do and have the same rights, ups, and downs that can come with marriage.   This is supposed to somehow be more important!  I’m sorry, I’m just not buying that line of thinking.

Now even though this is not a common argument and rightfully so, it was suggested to me that “studies” have shown that gays are more promiscuous than heterosexuals and therefore pose more of a “threat” to society…..

– Now that one almost made me laugh!  Now the “threats” were completely outlined, but they apparently range from the transmission of STD’s, to the impact on the psyche of children who may think it’s OK to have sex with anyone….

But isn’t this argument counterproductive to the cause of Prop 8 supporters?

Let me skip over the obvious insulting nature of the commentary, as evidently there truly is nothing new under the sun, history records and shows us that it was the same type of “studies” and arguments that made many believe that blacks were more sexually agressive to the point of being sexual predators, miscreants, and overly promiscuous, and therefore we should be “regulated”, some even tried to sterilize black men.

But let’s just say for a minute that any of these “studies” were true.  Wouldn’t it then seem to reason that we should then support gay marriage? Wouldn’t marriage lessen promiscuity by providing a legal framework and structure that would limit the spread of STD’s as a result?  Wouldn’t stable long term commitments provide an environment and show an example to children that it’s not OK to drop your pants every chance you get and that you can live productive lives in a committed long term relationship?  Are we suggesting that more marriage is a bad thing?  Are we suggesting that providing a legal structure and framework that is equal to all citizens who want to take “plunge” would somehow result in more instability and promiscuity?  I mean God forbid we let the gays get married right?  Then many heterosexual marriages would end in divorce, children may live in single or no parent homes, teens might actually start having sex and having children out of wedlock, entire communities would be ravaged because of the lack of stability in them due to little or know marriages….. but wait that’s already happening!

Oh, I know, that isn’t as bad, what’s bad is that gays want to actually do what heterosexuals are seriously failing to do!  How dare they want to actually do what we should be doing!  How dare they actually want stability, secure committed families and structures and the legal rights to support them as they obey the laws and pay taxes!

How dare they think of themselves as equal citizens who shouldn’t be taxed without equal representation and legislation afforded to other citizens.

What’s the worse that can happen?  Maybe they would end up in happier, sustained, marriages….maybe, their marriages wouldn’t follow our holier than thou examples, hey they might actually stay married!  What could be wrong with that?

I could rant on this subject for days on end.  I obviously haven’t covered every point in my debate last night or my entire feelings on the subject, but I have to state in closing that we have to fight this thing.

Either we uphold the principles of our Constitution or we abolish them.  Either we live in a secular society that guarantees rights for all her citizens regardless of beliefs and yes lifestyle, or we do not.  If we allow a pseudo religious police to have power over those who believe differently than them, then we should be equally willing to deal with the consequences of the future actions this religous police and constituency may take, when they take up a new cause, or find a new target to police brandishing their form of morality and imposing it on society at large.

My religious brethren, you truly worry me with your lukewarm attitudes concerning scripture and theology.  Picking and choosing what parts of the scripture you want to enforce and while standing by ignoring other parts of scripture leads down a slippery slope.  It may be that the very ones with whom you want to deny rights and condemn could be the very ones ahead of us through the gates of paradise.  Have mercy and compassion even with those whom you have theological, ideological, or lifesytle differences.  Remember that God Alone is the Judge and is the Only Granter of Paradise.  These Alienable Rights that Thomas Jefferson so elequently spoke of in our Declarition of Independence, were accurately stated to come from God Alone.  If possesing equal rights and protections under the law, will produce a citizenry that is happy, who are we as man to intefere with the pursuit of this happiness?  This happiness that comes from the ability to live ones life freely under a just system and legislation, states that one’s God given right to be happy and have the liberty thereof, should be protected.  This happiness can not be granted or denied by man because one group believes that the legal garantees that they have should be justified and protected over others due to differing individual or collective beliefs and pursuits.  The pursuit of liberty and happiness should coexist and manifest itself in equal rights and protections under the law, if we are to be true to our founding documents and principles that speak of rights that are inalienable.

Maybe, just maybe if we focused more on living our lives to the highest standards of Our Creator, then we would not have to worry about the lives of our neighbors as they would would readily embrace our examples. If our example reflected those principles and actions that we readily condemn others for not having, then we wouldn’t have to worry about those who don’t reflect them as they would be with us, as it is written in our scripture, that those who are not shall not prosper right?

However, given the current state of affairs in this nation and the world, who would actually want to be a Christian or a Muslim if these terms were defined by the actions and example of those who only seem to have the ability to organize, rally, and support legislation when and if it’s designed merely to deny the rights of those who don’t believe as they do?

Related Articles:

California high court upholds Prop. 8

California high court upholds same-sex marriage ban

I'm convinced the GOP doesn't want to win national elections….

 

Granted, I’m not a registered Republican, however I do believe our government would be more effective if political views and decisions weren’t so partisan.  I believe the Republicans are just not interested in having their views represented in the Government.

Several weeks ago I blogged about a dream I had, where I was a Republican strategist and I stated that the biggest problem the party has is its lack of diversity and the general appearance by most Americans that the Republican Party is the Party of old white Christians who could care less about minorities.  While that may not be true in every instance, it sure looks that way.  The problem that many in the Party have not realized is that this Country is getting more and more diverse and while they have made a step by choosing Michael Steele as the RNC Chairman, they still have found many ways to isolate themselves and be looked at as a party devoid of diversity.

Exhibit A:  Michael Steele not even in office a couple of months is embarrassed on the national stage by Rush Limbaugh.

Exhibit B:  Colin Powell is mocked by Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and others.

Exhibit C:  In Florida, while the Democratic Party is preparing to offer a list of candidates for the 2010 election that are diverse in gender, race, and age, the Republican Partie’s candidate list features all white males, with only one under the age of 50.

Exhibit D: Today, President Obama nominates the first Latina Woman for the Supreme Court (brilliant chess move btw) and already we are hearing comments from the Right like “she doesn’t have the temperment (wink, wink)” her intelligence is being questioned, and some comment that she made 8 years about white men most likely taken out of context is brought up, and of course, the label of “activist judge”.

I don’t get the Republican Party.  They lost huge in the general election (blow out anyone) and they have been loosing seats left and right since 2006, yet they continue to rally behind commentators and past elected officials who take the stances and positions that are to the far Right of the party and very unpopular with the majority of Americans.

Why move further to the Right when the Country is in the Center?  Most Americans do not share the views of a Rush Limbaugh or Darth Cheney.  A word of advice Republicans, none of these guys appeal to the majority of Americans and it doesn’t help that you keep letting them mock minority candidates.  The Democratic Party is increasingly appearing to be the Party of Diversity embracing the look of America meanwhile the Republican Party continues down the path of the old white Evangelical Party with a black guy up front who is just a figure-head while Rush Limbaugh and Darth Cheney truly run the Party.  Let’s see:  In the coming years are more Americans going to look like and be in positions of power like our current Democratic Party leaders such as President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, etc. (i.e. diverse in gender and race) or will more Americans look like and act like Rush Limbaugh and Darth Cheney?  If it were me I would be begging General Powell to stay and where in the world is Dr. Rice?  I’m willing to bet she’s not leaning toward Rush’s ideologies either.  If current trends continue, expect the Republicans to be extinct in the next decade.  Maybe we can bring back the Whig Party or something. 🙂

Related Articles:

Partisan confirmation hearings expected for Sotomayor

Analysis: Powell flap gets GOP to ask ‘What kind of party are we?’

Im convinced the GOP doesn't want to win national elections….

Granted, I'm not a registered Republican, however I do believe our government would be more effective if political views and decisions weren't so partisan.  I believe the Republicans are just not interested in having their views represented in the Government. Several weeks ago I blogged about a dream I had, where I was a Republican strategist and I stated that the biggest problem the party has is it's lack of diversity and the general appearance by most Americans that the Republican Party is the Party of old white Christians who could care less about minorities.  While that may not be true in every instance, it sure looks that way.  The problem that many in the Party have not realized is that this Country is getting more and more diverse and while they have made a step by choosing Michael Steele as the RNC Chairman, they still have found many ways to isolate themselves and be looked at as a party devoid of diversity. Exhibit A:  Michael Steele not even in office a couple of months is embarrassed on the national stage by Rush Limbaugh. Exhibit B:  Colin Powell is mocked by Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and others. Exhibit C:  In Florida, while the Democratic Party is preparing to offer a list of candidates for the 2010 election that are diverse in gender, race, and age, the Republican Partie's candidate list features all white males, with only one under the age of 50. Exhibit D: Today, President Obama nominates the first Latina Woman for the Supreme Court (brilliant chess move btw) and already we are hearing comments from the Right like "she doesn't have the temperment (wink, wink)" her intelligence is being questioned, and some comment that she made 8 years about about white men most likely taken out of context is brought up, and of course, the label of "activist judge". I don't get the Republican Party.  They lost huge in the general election (blow out anyone) and they have been loosing seats left and right since 2006, yet they continue to rally behind commentators and past elected officials who take the stances and positions that are to the far Right of the party and very unpopular with the majority of Americans. Why move further to the Right when the Country is in the Center?  Most Americans do not share the views of a Rush Limbaugh or Darth Cheney.  A word of advice Republicans, none of these guys appeal to the majority of Americans and it doesn't help that you keep letting them mock minority candidates.  The Democratic Party is increasingly appearing to be the Party of Diversity embracing the look of America meanwhile the Republican Pary continues down the path of the old white Evangelical Party with a black guy up front who is just a figure head while Rush Limbaugh and Darth Cheney truly run the Party.  Let's see:  In the coming years are more Americans going to look like and be in positions of power like our current Democratic Party leaders such as President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, etc. (i.e. diverse in gender and race) or will more Americans look like and act like Rush Limbaugh and Darth Cheney?  If it were me I would be begging General Powell to stay and where in the world is Dr. Rice?  I'm willing to bet she's not leaning toward Rush's ideologies either.  If current trends continue, expect the Republicans to be extinct in the next decade.  Maybe we can bring back the Whig Party or something. 🙂 Related Articles:

Partisan confirmation hearings expected for Sotomayor

Analysis: Powell flap gets GOP to ask 'What kind of party are we?'

I’m convinced the GOP doesn’t want to win national elections….

Granted, I’m not a registered Republican, however I do believe our government would be more effective if political views and decisions weren’t so partisan.  I believe the Republicans are just not interested in having their views represented in the Government.

Several weeks ago I blogged about a dream I had, where I was a Republican strategist and I stated that the biggest problem the party has is it’s lack of diversity and the general appearance by most Americans that the Republican Party is the Party of old white Christians who could care less about minorities.  While that may not be true in every instance, it sure looks that way.  The problem that many in the Party have not realized is that this Country is getting more and more diverse and while they have made a step by choosing Michael Steele as the RNC Chairman, they still have found many ways to isolate themselves and be looked at as a party devoid of diversity.

Exhibit A:  Michael Steele not even in office a couple of months is embarrassed on the national stage by Rush Limbaugh.

Exhibit B:  Colin Powell is mocked by Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and others.

Exhibit C:  In Florida, while the Democratic Party is preparing to offer a list of candidates for the 2010 election that are diverse in gender, race, and age, the Republican Partie’s candidate list features all white males, with only one under the age of 50.

Exhibit D: Today, President Obama nominates the first Latina Woman for the Supreme Court (brilliant chess move btw) and already we are hearing comments from the Right like “she doesn’t have the temperment (wink, wink)” her intelligence is being questioned, and some comment that she made 8 years about about white men most likely taken out of context is brought up, and of course, the label of “activist judge”.

I don’t get the Republican Party.  They lost huge in the general election (blow out anyone) and they have been loosing seats left and right since 2006, yet they continue to rally behind commentators and past elected officials who take the stances and positions that are to the far Right of the party and very unpopular with the majority of Americans.

Why move further to the Right when the Country is in the Center?  Most Americans do not share the views of a Rush Limbaugh or Darth Cheney.  A word of advice Republicans, none of these guys appeal to the majority of Americans and it doesn’t help that you keep letting them mock minority candidates.  The Democratic Party is increasingly appearing to be the Party of Diversity embracing the look of America meanwhile the Republican Pary continues down the path of the old white Evangelical Party with a black guy up front who is just a figure head while Rush Limbaugh and Darth Cheney truly run the Party.  Let’s see:  In the coming years are more Americans going to look like and be in positions of power like our current Democratic Party leaders such as President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, etc. (i.e. diverse in gender and race) or will more Americans look like and act like Rush Limbaugh and Darth Cheney?  If it were me I would be begging General Powell to stay and where in the world is Dr. Rice?  I’m willing to bet she’s not leaning toward Rush’s ideologies either.  If current trends continue, expect the Republicans to be extinct in the next decade.  Maybe we can bring back the Whig Party or something. 🙂

Related Articles:

Partisan confirmation hearings expected for Sotomayor

Analysis: Powell flap gets GOP to ask ‘What kind of party are we?’

4 idiots in New York and what should Muslims do about it?

I had plans this morning to blog about completing my reading of the Vampire Chronicles, and until I found out that 4 idiots were arrested in a terror plot to blow up two New York synagogues.

As I read the headlines all I kept thinking was “please don’t be American born” and as I read the articles, not only did my hopes get crushed, but I also found out that it is worse than that, as they are not just American born, but black converts to Islam!  I’m so angry that I could go to NY right now and wring their necks myself!

It is the actions of guys like this that make me want to disable my blog and all my efforts all together, because they and those like them do more harm to the greater Muslim community than any can actually count. They make my postings and actions and those of others appear to be pointless.

I’m trying to be rational about this whole thing and wait for the facts, but the truth is that in this day and age, the facts do not matter.  These are the types of incidents and stories that make anti-Muslims salivate.  Just look at how the reports are written.  The writers intentions are clearly understood.  They want to widen the fears of Americans and make the anti-Muslim campaign stronger by adding new targets to focus on.  No longer is it just foreign born Muslims who are from the Middle East, now it’s “jailhouse converts” aka African Americans who converted to Islam whether or not they have served prison terms or not.

So now the fear level has been elevated due to the actions of 4 guys.

Nevermind that there are millions of African American converts who have never harmed even a fly, it doesn’t matter because now we are also on the “hit list”.  Now we can respond with “what about Muhammad Ali or Dave Chappelle” or many other readily recognized black Muslim converts, but it will not matter.

Look at the reports, the fact that it was a Muslim informant in the same mosque as these four that alerted the authorities will not be highlighted. It’s illegal in the media to show Muslims in a good light.  It’s illegal in the media to show that Muslims actually do help authorities in these matters.  That doesn’t get ratings.  What’s exiting is to scare the pants off the ignorant and make them think that terror cells exist in their local mosques and now they are to fear not just Middle Eastern Muslims but black Muslims as well.  It’s only a matter of time before they zone in on White American converts or Asian Muslims.

So what are we to do?  I can’t honestly state that we have to do more in the mosque, because we already are, and apparently the mosque in Newburg where they guys went to is doing something right, since it was a Muslim there who called the authorities.  I can’t honestly state that we have to make statements of condemnation, because we do all the time, and they go largely ignored by the media.

All that I can state is that we have to continue at the grassroots level to actively engage both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, with the example of the true teachings of Islam that will expose in the minds of others by our efforts the lies and falsehoods of those like these four whose ideology of hate is culminates in a desire to kill innocents.

What is there left to state?  If anything, the only thing that we as Muslims can do is continue to petition the media for fare coverage.  Why is it that four black converts that wanted to kill can make headlines, but black converts like myself who honorably served this nation cannot?  Maybe, just maybe, it was their previous criminal pursuits and incarceration that shaped their actions more than the religion they claim to profess?  Maybe it was their environment?  Where did they grow up for instance?  Obviously the numbers prove that they are the exception, one can point to thousands of black converts who have given much to this nation in service.

I challenge the media to openly debate the issue of who speaks for Islam?  Should we Muslims just lay asleep and allow them to tell us that the minority speaks for the majority?

This is why we need our own anti-defamation league.  Why should we allow the media to continue to use the worst of us to help fuel the evil stereotypes that ignore and label the best of us?

As Muslims our duty is on two fold:

1 We have to continue to expose enemies of Islam like these four miscreants who pretend to be Muslim, yet their actions are anything but.

2 We have to win the battle of “the message” and challenge both the media and the detractors as it relates to who we truly are.  We can’t continue to allow others to define who we are.  We can’t allow them to do this because it undervalues, undermines, and marginalizes us.  We have to control the message and the talking points because if we do not, our lives become unnecessarily difficult because of the actions of those with whom we don’t even agree with or know.

I don’t know about you, but I will not sit here as an American Muslim who has served this nation his entire adult life, while the very rights I served to defend are taken away from me because of my religion.  I will not sit here and watch my family and friends treated unfairly because of our religion.

Vigilance is the only course of action.

related articles:

FBI arrest four in alleged plot to bomb Bronx synagogues, shoot down plane

4 arrested in alleged NYC synagogue bomb plot

Update:

Just got this press release in from MPAC,

MPAC Outraged Over NYC Synagogue Plots

The Muslim Public Affairs Council is outraged over the alleged plan of four men to carry out attacks against Jewish houses of worship in New York City. The four men were arrested after planting what they thought were explosives near a synagogue and community center. MPAC applauds the FBI for foiling the group’s plot to bomb New York City synagogues and use surface-to-air missiles to attack U.S. military planes.

SEE: “4 Accused of Bombing Plot at Bronx Synagogues” (New York Times)

Earlier this morning, MPAC Executive Director, Salam Al-Marayati, wrote to Rabbi Schneier, President and Founder of the New York based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and other Jewish leaders stating:

“I write to you today with shock and dismay over reports that four Muslims planned to bomb synagogues in the New York City area. This criminal attitude is reprehensible and wretched. On behalf of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, I want to demonstrate solidarity with you and all Jewish Americans against any attack motivated by anti-Semitism. We, Muslims and Jews, are all believers in the One God who wants justice in our society. We are all American citizens who band together to protect our country against any threat. We are all members of humanity who want to work for the betterment of society, in building bridges of understanding, against those who want to destroy those bridges. Thank you for all the work you do at the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. I hope to be with you in the near future by the will of God.”

Islam considers the use of terrorism to be unacceptable for any purpose, and MPAC reaffirms the position of condemning acts of violence against any faith group in the name of Islam. Additionally, those seeking to carry out acts of violence should be swiftly brought to justice.

MPAC is calling upon members of the American Muslim community to be on alert and take pro-active measures to protect the security of our religious institutions, communities, and nation.