Do you think there would be much opposition if the Roman Catholic order, the Benedictines, announced they intended to build a monastery a few blocks from Ground Zero in New York? I doubt it. Do you know, according to German historian William Shirer that for two years Adolph Hitler, no introduction needed, attended classes at the Benedictine Monastery in Lambach, Austria, where he sang in the choir, took singing lessons, and, according to his own account in Mein Kampf, intoxicated himself with the solemn splendor of church festivals and dreamed of one day taking Holy orders? Opposing the Benedictines building a monastery because of Hitler would be just as irrational as opposing Muslims building a mosque because of Bin Laden.
In our city of 16,000, hometown of Ronald Reagan, we have many Muslims in the medical profession providing thoughtful, caring, skillful medical services to our families on a daily basis and raising families of their own to be good U.S. citizens. It is pitiful as many are indirectly, and directly, suggesting that mosques and Muslims are synonymous with Middle East terrorists. The ongoing struggle between irrational and rational thoughts has been going on since man started walking upright on planet Earth. Thomas Jefferson preached that rational thought would eventually triumph in the course of human events. However, it does seem to be a “two steps forward, one step backward” process, and the mosque outcry is not one of the forward steps.
Intolerance of people’s beliefs, race, color, religion and other aspects of humanity is one of the most negative emotions in mankind and the driving force behind human beings killing more than 100 million fellow humans since 1900. A mandatory course on tolerance ought to be developed and taught in every school in the world. Meanwhile, perhaps we can practice the Native American advice of not judging others until we have walked in their moccasins for two weeks.
James G. Burke
Mayor, City of Dixon
From the Sept. 15-21, 2010 issue