Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Enemy Is Fear

“The enemy is fear.  We think it is hate, but it is fear.”  Gandhi

“Fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering.”  Yoda

In early American history, people feared the Natives so much that they committed genocide against thousands.  Those who were left were forced to move onto reservations.  When I lived on an Indian reservation in the late 70’s, I was appalled to hear missionaries still calling them savages!  The families I lived with and got to know became my family and I came to love all Native Americans, their spirituality, and their culture.

Through fear, Hitler brainwashed almost a whole country into committing genocide against Jews, the disabled, and so many others just because of a difference in beliefs.  What most don’t know is that Hitler claimed to be a Christian and was only doing the work of God.  I’ve known many Jewish people and my best friend in grade school was Jewish.

When I lived in California, I had a roommate who was Mexican.  She invited me to a very large family event.  I didn’t know who was legal or illegal, if any were illegal at all.  I just know that I fell in love with her family and their culture.

At one time, I was very homophobic and was taught to believe that all LGBT’s were evil…until I began meeting and getting to know those who were gay or transgendered.  Since then, I’ve met and known countless LGBT’s and today many are some of my closest friends.  Some say that gay marriages are a threat to traditional marriages, but I would think that divorce and infidelity would be a bigger threat than any gay marriage ever could be.  These are mentioned in the Bible, but you never hear anyone go after or try to enact laws against those who get divorced and/or remarried or who cheat on their spouses. 

Before 9/11, I was fortunate to have friends who were Muslim so I already knew that not “all Muslims are terrorists” as so many have been told to believe.  The Islamic Center in Murfreesboro used to have a monthly picnic where they invited anyone in the community to come meet and get to know them.  A friend and I went to one and we met some of the most loving and amazing people.  In 2012, I was personally invited to the grand opening of their Mosque where the Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez was one of the key speakers, and it was an honor to share that moment with them.  Everyone, including the Imam, was super nice.  In fact, I have yet to meet a Muslim I didn’t like.   Extremist Muslims do not represent all Muslims any more than extremist Christians represent all Christians.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that Muslims highly respect and revere Jesus.  In fact, Jesus is mentioned more times in the Qur’an than the prophet Muhammad.  Whenever Muhammad and Jesus’ names are said or written by Muslims, they always add “Peace Be Upon Him” after both names.  I don’t mean for this to be a lesson on Islam, but after doing my research, I found we have a lot more in common than not. 

It is sad that people have to demonize and dehumanize groups of people to justify their fear, which in turn leads to hate, and all we do is end up suffering.  It’s time to stop the fear and hate!

The point is, when we get past the fear of other people, cultures, and/or religions and actually get to know people as human beings, we find that there really isn’t anything to fear and that we can find a lot of commonality.  My suggestion would be to get rid of the negative labels we put on people, open your heart, see people through the eyes of love, and get to know our fellow brothers and sisters on this great planet called Mother Earth!  All the people that I’ve met from the groups above have blessed me greatly just because they are in my life, and so many have given me the wonderful gift of friendship.

Marianne Williamson said, “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.”

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.”  1 John 4:18

Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper October 23, 2015.


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