Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Burn The Books

I remember an episode (Video of Season 5, Episode #5 on Youtube) of Walton's Mountain where the community was enraged over some of the things that John Boy was publishing in the newspaper. He was publishing excerpts from Mein Kampf because Hitler at the time was rising to power. While everyone thought that what he was doing was a deplorable action, they were ready to do whatever it took to silence John Boy. Actions that were escalating to dangerous forms of violence brought the entire community to a breaking point.

So the Rev Matthew Fordwick decided to bring the community together where they could burn any and all German books. They felt that since the Nazis were burning our American books, that the action should not go unprotested. Reverend Fordwick wanted to have a symbolic book burning of their own. As he emphasized in the show, Hitler wanted to replace the bible with his book but that they would never allow it to happen in our country.

As you go on into the show episode, you quickly see what happens. They were beginning to throw books into the fire out of ignorance until John Boy risked his life and reputation to stand up for what he believed in. As he looked down at the pile of books on the ground, one caught his attention. He asked if there was anyone who could read German and when a lady finally got the courage to stand up and be recognized as a German, she began to read a section from the book in German. Up until this point, this lady had to hide the fact that she was German because of what people in our society would have done to her at the time. So, it was a big step for her to come forward and acknowledge who she was. Then, John Boy had her translate what she had just read into English and everyone quickly heard the beginning words of the Bible. It was a Bible written in German that they were going to burn. It was going to be burned out of ignorance and fear.

At the time, the enemy of the people of the United States was German. People wanted nothing to do with the Germans and considered them an evil people that were going to destroy our way of life. Does anyone see any parallels with today? What about any parallels with other groups of people like the Native Americans, the French, the Spanish, the British and the Japanese. At one time or another in our country's history, we have fought wars against people who we believed were going to destroy our way of life. When I was young, it was the communists. Now, it is the Muslims that we are taught to hate because of what a fringe group of people did that happen to be Muslim. Okay, you could strongly argue that they did the horrible atrocities on our soil because of their religion but again, it was a fringe group, not Muslims in general. Yes, you can argue your political points all day long and draw different conclusions but if you look at our history in this country, we are traveling down a similar path that we have traveled before.

Now a church in Gainesville, Florida called the "Dove Outreach Center" is proposing that we begin burning the Koran (the Holy Book of the Islam Religion). It does strike me as odd that the name of their church indicates a place of peace and love, yet what they are doing is anything but that. I would like to know where in the Bible, it describes Jesus participating and endorsing book burning such as what is being done. I'm sure they have some scripture they would quickly state that more than likely twists the words around for justification.

What disturbs me more is that they condemn and are angered by the way these other religions and countries burn our books and burn our flags. Yet, they are doing the very same thing. They are calling these other religions radical and extremist and hating what they do but the actions they are doing are the same as that which they hate. Am I the only one that can see this or are there more that are tired of the fringe in our country.

One would think that a "Dove Outreach Center" Church would truly practice love and peace, not hatred and acts of violence. I guess if they are going to burn their church hymnals, bibles and flags at the same time, than maybe it would make more sense. However, I doubt they will do that because it is not in their best interest to take this course of action.

I am saddened though that there is so much hatred against a people as a group for what a radical element perpetuated on our country. Yes, I do not stand by idly and think in any way that what happened on 9/11 was okay for these terrorists to do. But 20 people do not represent all parts of Islam or Islamic countries. Sure, I don't agree with many things taking place in some of these hard-line Islamic countries but I'm sure there are many things that other countries don't agree with the United States. Does that mean we have to hate? Does that mean we have to show our intolerance for others? Does it mean that we bastardize what love truly means?

Each of us should have the freedom to believe and live our lives in the way that we want to. This concept goes beyond our own liberty we participate in with our founding fathers. It is a basic human right that should be available to us regardless of laws, political affiliations, religious institutions and between the borders where you live. We weren't born to be controlled by anyone, no matter who they are.

Today, we have entered a time in our country where a few seem to feel they speak for many. Unfortunately, we have lost the individuality of ourselves as a human race where we can think for ourselves and speak for ourselves without following some political ideology or religious institution. We get so locked in to what the news media reports as true fact when there is hardly a moment where fact prevails. We have become mindless humans following the rest of the heard as if we were sheep walking out to a pasture.

My only hope is that we as a human race will wake up. I'm not talking about a particular country, religion or political party. These are lessor parts of the human race. What I am hoping is that we will all become aware of our short comings and how the actions we take impact the world as a whole. If we want to heal the world and bring peace to it, our actions must first begin with ourselves.

We are all connected together and our actions affect out entire civilization. We are approaching a time where we truly need to understand what this means. Following blindly what others say is not awareness and it is not an evolution of our species. We are meant to evolve but in order to do so, we must wake up. May we all wake up before it is too late.

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