"Religion followed by a witless will
To torture self, or come at power to hurt
Another - 'tis of Tamas, dark and ill."
The Book of Religion by the Threefold Kinds of Faith
I cannot accept a role or countenance an act that removes thought from the world. First, this is not legal in the American system of government. Note the court decision that allowed the American National Socialists to march in Skokie, Illinois in 1978. Even the speech of hate and the repulsive image of the Swastika are allowed. Second, it is not possible to erase thought. Even the best brainwashing techniques of the Cold War showed that given time and separation from the controlled environment in which this kind of programming is attempted, the individual returns eventually back to their normal habits of thought.
It isn't right and it won't work.
However, what can be changed is the unwarranted use of force. I hope that we are not fighting in the Middle East to change their culture or attempting to make them adopt ours. Yes, there are things about that culture that I find distasteful, particularly the treatment of women and children, just as there are aspects of the Western culture that some Islamists find revolting, but these are not going to change by the use of force. What we should look at critically is precisely the use of force to attempt to modify behavior, because this is precisely a behavior itself. This can be changed.
Should we kill to stop the killing? I am afraid we must. Will they kill us in return? They have.
And so it will go on, act after hateful act as it has gone on for as long as we have human memory to relate. Yet as Gandhi noted, Love always wins and the tyrants fall. So we must find and share reasons to love. This is not soft, but the hardest and the boldest action. We must find what we share. Golda Meir said, 'the violence will stop when we love our children more than we hate each other.' There are mothers today in Bagdhad, in New York and Lahore who love their children and wish only to see them do well in life. As said in the Middle East, God willing, another should live as well as I desire to live. As said in the Bible, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Islam is a religion of truth and mercy and beauty. It cannot perish because these are values it shares with all true religions and these are eternal values. No belief with these as core shall perish. That some believe they can make one religion master of all truth and all believers is deeply hurtful to these beliefs. A Christian who takes this path takes the sword in their own hand and plunges it into the side of the Christ. The Muslim who takes this path tars his own children in pig's blood. The Hindu who takes this path accepts the gift of Tamas that does not bless.
We must step back from the feast of rottenness, and we must accept our differences as the joyful expressions of God at play, and learn to hear the voice of Creation singing to us in our wakeful dream. I know it cannot be a perfect world, or a peaceful world, but it can be a world where our children play free of fear of one another based simply on the color of skin, dress, or how, when, and where we go to pray. This, I believe is the world the God of Abraham and Mohammed and Arjuna earnestly waits for us to create. God sees through our eyes but with infinite mercy, does not control every act of our hands or hearts. God watches and waits for the time when we ourselves undertake acts of mercy, compassion, and tolerance, and in these, knows joy.
There is much darkness in our hearts but there is infinite light in our souls. Pray in whatever tongue with whatever gifts you have, that this light overcomes that darkness soon, today, in this moment before another car bomb takes more lives, before more helicopters rain down death on the innocent, before we once again sully Creation in the eyes of God.
For the sake of our children, for the sake of our world, for the love of God, pray for this earnestly. God willing, let this be done; God providing, let us do this.