Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Septembers, 38 Years Apart

On an overcast September morning, there was a blast.  Windows were blown out and walls collapsed.  The work of a group of terrorists would be exposed.  Thousands of mourners would gather to hear national leaders speak.  Songs would be written.  National laws soon after changed.

Some years after, members of the same religion as the terrorists would try to build a community center downtown, only a couple of streets away from the horrible act.

But no one revolted.  No one protested.  It wasn’t considered “bad taste” or “an affront to the victims” In fact the community center would be supported by the Governor.  And by the 1990’s, this center would be heralded for its value to students. (article)

The blast was the September 1963 16th Street church bombing in Birmingham Alabama.  And it was carried out by an extremist organization, the United Klans of America (history here and here).  They screamed for the take down of American Jews.  They terrorized their neighbors into silence and spoke in the name of Christianity. 

In fact no one associated these terrorists with Christianity.  No one assumed they were a bulwark of Christian values. They were a hate group.  And the country gathered to mourn its people’s losses and fight for its people rights. Martin Luther King inspired us to dream.

Today, my dental hygienist said she thought it was an affront to the honor of the 9-11 victims that “they” would build a mosque near the WTC.  She didn’t mean any harm, and in fact she said she wanted to learn more by reading Three Cups of Tea.  But the winds of intolerance seem to be blowing (article).  I don’t blame her.  I blame the lack of Martin Luther Kings.


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