To those who are attacking our embassies and are convinced they are committing an act of justice on behalf of the one true faith, I would say to you, that the one true God does not need mankind to seek justice on his behalf.
If you think your God needs human assistance, we are not worshiping the same God. My God doesn’t need my help. I need his.
I have been blessed with a gift for languages and an ability to travel abroad without people immediately recognizing me as an American. This affords me an opportunity to be privy to things people might not otherwise say in front of an American. I have heard things about Americans and Christians, for example, that I was offended by. Yet I have sat and listened, with these people eventually learning who I am. While they would usually apologize, these sometimes awkward situations could create opportunities for dialogues, teaching and new understandings of differing cultures.
I am not blind to sensitivities about the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), but there are more productive ways to get people to respect what you hold dear than death, destruction and chaos.
While the timing of the events in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf is clearly not coincidental, we must be careful to not paint all of these attacks with a broad brush. This is not a monolithic Muslim conspiracy.
Current news today I find most interesting are about those in Egypt and Libya embarrassed by the actions of their own countrymen. The Egyptians and Libyans I have met during my extensive travels in the region have always maintained that the majority of their fellow citizens love the American people despite having issues with American foreign policy. The situation in Lebanon, for instance, could easily be attributed to a spill-over from the war in Syria — and Hezbollah and others taking advantage of the situation.
In Yemen, it is quite different in that there seems to be a deep-seated hatred of all things Western in general and American in particular.
I live in an isolated and rural part of Pennsylvania where certain prejudices die hard, long and slow deaths — where there are still people who can tell you about when the Irish Catholics immigrants fought a long and deadly war with the Ku Klux Klan because of prejudice and the arrogance of blind certainty.
The same arrogance of blind certainty had “Sam Bacile” produce an offensive film — “Innocence of the Muslims” — about a religion he believes to be a cancer. This arrogance of blind certainty had Egyptians tearing down an American flag and replacing it with a black flag in protest of the film. Arrogance of blind certainty led a small group of Libyans to murder a man, U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, whom many more Libyans believed was a hero of their revolution. The arrogance of blind certainty has the US embassy in Yemen under siege. And the arrogance of blind certainty has my neighbors referring to all Arabs by names I had believed, hoped and prayed had been removed from their vocabularies for good.
Our government officials will respond to these attacks abroad in the manner they deem necessary. For the rest of us, it is time for people of faith to pray that the Holy Spirit changes the hearts of those who believe they have a direct and unique access into the heart of God and can speak and act on his behalf.
Galatians 6:7-8 says: “[D]o not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, so shall he reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
Those who coordinated the attacks should apologize to their God (astigfru allah) for what they have wrought. For those so easily duped in to going along with what increasingly seem to be coordinated attacks, those people must spend time reading their scripture and pay attention to what is really written. What is happening is a radical departure from any of the Abrahamic teachings.
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Archbishop Council Nedd II, a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, has travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf and helped in the creation of a new Episcopal parish in the United Arab Emirates. He is the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Missionary Church in the United States and the Archbishop of Abu Dhabi. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org .
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.