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Jan20TueDo we stand up for people of different faiths? January 20, 2015 by Major Kathie Chiu
Make coffee and boiled egg. Put on shoes and jacket. Grab keys, purse and cellphone. Out the door. Start the car, turn out of the driveway, drive to work. The car seems to know the way. Arrive at work, greet people, take off your coat and put your purse away. Sit at your desk.
- Filed Under:
- Opinion & Critical Thought
If you're like me, you like the stability of the rituals we make for ourselves. We go about our daily routines, safe in the knowledge that life is peaceful and predictable.
Then shots are fired. A soldier is dead. Our careful routines are disrupted and we join with the rest of the country, eyes transfixed on the screen, waiting to find out what happened.
When we're shaken by events like the tragic death of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, we are filled with questions that don't seem to have any answers.
Are we still safe? Can we trust our Muslim neighbours? Is the world going crazy?
It's easy to climb on board with all the knee-jerk reactions on TV and in the blogosphere: “We need to stop immigration from these countries.” “There's something wrong with a religion that inspires terrorists.” “They're going to come here and impose their way of life on us!”
My son noticed a conversation I had on Facebook about this. Someone posted a verse from the Quran about killing infidels and used it to argue that the problem was Islam itself. I tried to explain that blaming an entire religion because some distort it for their own selfish and evil gains is counterproductive. However, sometimes people are stuck in ignorance. This person called himself a Christian and he and his wife were arguing with me that I was wrong and Islam is not a peaceful religion.
I knew it was going downhill when the wife started saying that I should know it was completely out of God's will for me, a woman, to be ordained, and that I didn't seem to be able to read Scripture clearly.
That's when my son started to do his research. He looked up the verse from the Quran and posted a comment, explaining it was a call to arms at the battle of Badr, encouraging 300 Muslim fighters facing an impossible situation. Then he compared it to verses in our Bible where God instructs the Israelites to kill every man, woman and child while taking a city.
“How are they different?” he asked.
He knows the answer. He knows they're both ancient books, telling stories from ancient times and distant cultures, and so easily taken out of context to justify all kinds of evil deeds by people thirsting for power and control.
Then he posted a definition of the word Islam, noting that the root word means peace. They ignored that and became condescending, citing his youthful ignorance. One day, they said, he'll figure it out.
Not to be swept aside, he posted: “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
I am so proud of him.
I'm thankful my son has this attitude. He stood up for people of a different faith. He was shouted down, but he knows the truth. He will stand up for his Muslim neighbours and friends at school. He won't resort to knee-jerk reactions. He won't let fear lead him to act differently.
I love Canada. I love our unique and diverse communities that welcome people from around the world. They represent different countries, cultures and religions, and they are all welcome here.
Our Christian faith teaches us to live in peace, be humble before God, to love mercy and justice. Above all, the unmerited grace of God we receive inspires us to offer that grace to others, no matter what faith they practise. Let's remember that, not just in our daily lives, but on social media as well.
Major Kathie Chiu grew up in The Salvation Army and has been an officer for 22 years. She has five children, including two teenaged boys still living at home, and eight grandchildren. She is the corps officer in Richmond, B.C.