Category Archives: history

My Personal Reflection on 9/11

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It is now the 11th Anniversary…but this is all still relevant, so I am re-blogging it. The only thing that has changed is my sons answer, he now  realizes that a chocolate river for everyone isn’t feasible, but he still wants a world that is by far and large better than this one.

Tomorrow marks the 10th Anniversary of one of the saddest days in our nation’s history, the day on which nearly 3,000 men, women, and children were murdered in what is still, in the opinions of many of people, a senseless act of violence (although, it did have a root cause, but that is a discussion for another time). As I reflect upon that  day and recall what I was doing on the morning we were attacked, I cannot help but think about what we have become since: a nation plagued by fear, driven by revenge and misplaced hatred, and weighted down by a war of ever mounting costs, both in lives and money.

And I am sad.

I am sad because as I watched the second plane crash into South Tower as the North Tower burned, I held my infant son in my arms. I am sad because as the reports came in that it was in deed an attack on the United States, an act of war, I knew that the world into which I had bore him had just taken a turn for the worse…and, much to my dismay, I was right. I am sad because my child, now ten, has never known a world without war. I am sad because he has grown up in a world in which right-wing extremists and political ideologues equate Islam with murder and hate as they use their media outlets to monger war and fear.

And I am angry.

I am angry because as the years have progressed we have not. As we throw more and more money at war and destruction, we have allowed our education system to decline, our entitlement programs to all but disappear, and our infrastructures to deteriorate. I am angry because as we are force fed lies about the importance of democracy and freedom, we are oppressing millions worldwide. I am angry because we are no closer to ending terrorism than we were when the war began. Why? Because the root causes of terrorism is hatred and poverty, which cannot be overcome with violence; in fact, violence only exacerbates them. It cultivates them like shit on a field of weeds. I am angry because after ten years of war,hundreds of thousands of casualties (US, Afghan, and Iraqi), and trillions of dollars we are still in mourning for the lives lost on that sunny September morning; lives that are still lost, and no amount of money burned, no number of lives sacrificed will ever bring them back. I am angry because the only thing the War on Terror has succeeded in doing is eroding everything that makes America great, chief amongst them is our religious freedom.  In the aftermath of 9/11, right-wing Christian zealots have used fear of terrorism as an excuse to limit the free exercise of religion for Muslim Americans across the country as they attempt to prevent citizens of this nation from building houses of worship simply because those citizens happen to practice Islam.

This is not the world I want for my child. A world plagued by fear, greed, and hatred. When asked what sort of world my child would make if given the chance, he said, “I would make a world where people matter because they are people, and everyone has enough money and food. Oh, and a river of chocolate in their yards…” Children are awesome.

And so I am also hopeful.

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Religious Freedom: America’s True Heritage

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The idea that Christianity, namely the Puriticanical version, founded America, which is an assumption made by religious and non-religious alike, is inaccurate. This is an assumption which overlooks the religious pluralism that actually existed throughout the colonies, as well as ignores the fact that a few colonies were actually founded on the principle of religious freedom. For example, Pennsylvania, which was founded by the Quaker William Penn, allowed all manners of worship from Anglicanism to Judaism to Native traditions; and Rhode Island, which was founded by Roger Williams, who gave Jefferson the idea for “a wall of separation between church and state“, and Anne Hutchinson, also promised religious freedom to all residents. As time progressed more colonies, like Maryland, which passed itsAct for Religious Toleration in 1649, began to allow religious freedom; although many did so only in practice and not by law.

When America became a nation, religious freedom was among the primary concerns of the people and the legislators alike, leading to fierce debates over what relationship, if any, should exist between state and religion. These debates eventually culminated in the ratification of the First Amendment, which effectively established secularism of state as the law of the land. Ironically, most of the chief proponents of religious freedom were churches, like the Anabaptist, the Methodist, and the Quakers all of whom petitioned their colonial, then state and federal, legislatures to uphold the truth that religion exists solely between a man and his god and that no government, least of all a republican one (as in a Republic, which is what we are), should attempt to coerce any citizen to believe what his heart and his mind have not determined for himself. In fact, in both the Journal of the Virginia House of Burgessand in the Journal of the House of the Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are a multitude of petitions from the mid-1700′s, following the height of the First Great Awakening, through to 1786 when Jefferson’s Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom was enacted as state law, all from the various religious groups demanding religious freedom. There was one petition that even went so far as to argue that religious freedom must also include the “Moslem” (Muslim), who, like the Christian, does also believe that his religion is true. Futhermore, numerous letters were published in various colonial newpapers, such as theVirginia Gazette, throughout the late colonial and early Republican periods, which were written by Americans who argued in favor of laws which protected religious freedom for all.

Therefore, historically speaking, religious pluralism, and thus freedom, is the true foundation of this nation. We must stop perpetuating the lie that Christianity, in any single form, is the foundation of America because it is not. As stated in the Treaty of Tripoli of 1797, it never was and never will be.

Originally written by me, Karen Lyn, and published on “Take Back America Movement” on August 15, 2011.