While eating breakfast this morning, remnants from yesterday’s news are still circulating, and I can hear in the background updates about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Those, like myself, who scroll through news and social media most of the time, know that it wasn’t just Paris that was under attack, but a few other cities, as well.
But the Paris attack is the main topic of conversation on our dining table, and so, it’s the one I’m sharing about today.
My grandmother is in her late 80s. That being said, she grew up in a society of less-tolerant citizens, so it came as no surprise to me when she remarked, off-handedly, “someone should drop an atomic bomb on them.” “Them”, being members of ISIS and the ongoing war in Syria.
I made a face. This, coming from the woman who went through wars herself. (My grams was born in 1927, so she was a child during World War II, and later on, a mother during the imposition of the Marcos Regime declaring martial law.) But then again, she did live far from the country’s capital/war-stricken areas, and if that’s the case, the wars back then were not as real to her as those living in it, as the wars right now are more news and stories to her than a horrifying reality that millions are facing.
“Grams, it’s so easy to say dropping atomic bombs of them is the best course when we’re not thinking of consequences,” I said, keeping in mind the civilians who lost their lives during the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks from way back when.
My mother, however, agreed with my grams. “They should be killed,” she said. And while I think she means the terrorist and terrorist groups, I found it necessary to tell her, “You know, a lot of Muslims are condemning the attacks. They want peace.” This, coming from the many posts on Twitter from Muslims declaring themselves and saying that they don’t want war. Despite my cynicism in media and knowledge of tailored status on social media, I actually believe these posts because, as Stephen King tweeted, “Hating all Muslims for what happened in Paris is like hating all Christians because of the gay-hating Westboro Baptist Church.”
My mother (and grams, I suppose) is not buying any of that. “They are all the same,” she declared. “They pretend that they’re against it, but secretly, they’re happy for the attacks.”
And I don’t know about you but this pissed me off.
This religious intolerance from my decidedly devout Catholic mother is one of the reasons I’m not too keen on religion. I know too many Christians and Catholics who are too blinded by faith. While many Catholics take to heart the “You shall have no other gods before me bit,” they forget that the Bible had a lot to say about accepting others as well.
The easiest one I found is from Luke 6:37, which said, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”
And my gram’s and mom’s words are all judgmental, condemning, and unforgiving. But, as Stephen Colbert said, “You cannot correct an old person every time they say something offensive,” so I decided to shut up about it. At the dining table, at least.
A friend of mine mentioned that bigotry and intolerance are what started all these attacks and wars and terrorism in the first place, and I think we should remember that. Then there’s also this quote from minister Charles Kimball: “[M]ore wars have been waged, more people killed, and more evil perpetrated in the name of religion than by any other institutional force in human history.”
If you condemn all Muslims for what one sect believes in, if you condemn all Muslims for terror that they are also running away from, do you really think you’re better than these terrorists who terrorized Beirut, attacked Paris, and bombed a funeral in Baghdad? What effect will #PrayForParis and #PrayForTheWorld have if they’re empty prayers with more hatred than hope for others?
Do you really think hating on an entire religion makes you better than the terrorists who waged their war?
Because if so, it’s time to take a second look.
This isn’t what humanity is supposed to be like.