Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ali.

Deport ‘em.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo and kosher store murders by Islamists in France, this remark didn’t surprise.

But deport whom – all tens of millions Arabic and other Muslims living in western nations, no matter how law abiding, born in-country or long ago naturalized? What about non-Muslim/non-Arab spouses and mixed-race children? Is some minimum share of Arabic DNA tolerable?

“They’re Nazis who supported Nazis in WWII. Deport ‘em.”  Guilt by ethnicity would have justified U.S. banishment of all Germans, Austrians, Italians and Japanese –every fourth or fifth American – in the early 1940s. In this event, foreign members of these groups slaughtered millions of people in a few years, dwarfing the relatively few non-Muslims slain by similarly few Arabic and other Muslims over subsequent decades. Yet members from all these groups subsequently helped build a better world.

If sharing any degree of religious or biological DNA with perpetrators of violence merits segregation, each of us needs a private planet. Moreover, if we are concerned about Nazism, we may want to notice that some of Europe’s most vigorous anti-Muslim backlash is coming from sources with Neo-Nazi associations.  Like Christianity, Islam’s membership probably represents every race; Nazism, not so much.

Nevertheless, a cancer grows within Islam. Its pathology matches the disease that rampaged through Europe, killing millions in post-Reformation wars among Christians. The same contagion drove hundreds of thousands American Christians to butcher fellow American Christians while martyring themselves in “Civil” efforts to perpetuate human slavery.

Carriers transmitting such plagues and more innocuous ailments typically exhibit three religious symptoms:

  • selective use of scriptures and traditions to justify repression while dismissing overwhelming evidence that humanity’s “true north” is liberty for all;
  • euphoria arising from conviction that these repressions express Divine will; and
  • emphasis on afterlife rewards for repressive conduct.

Some contend that religion’s abolition is necessary when zealots can wield weapons of mass destruction. Such a plan is both infeasible and inadvisable.

Others assert that universal conversion to their religious doctrines would save the day. See preceding paragraph.

Contrary to what we might expect, a growing body of evidence suggests we all have built-in immunity to us-them pathologies, religious and otherwise. Like much genetic potential, however, this immunity needs to “turned on.” And so it increasingly has been, as we’ve realized over time that our survival and well-being depends in no small part on the well-being of those around us. Consequently, empathy for others has been expanding since humanity’s origins, gradually overcoming primal stranger-fear on a jaggedly upward trajectory.

Religions would give empathy a huge turbo-boost simply by requiring all doctrines to adhere to the primacy of one simple, universally experienced spiritual truth: Abundant life is solely gained by seeking others’ well-being as energetically as we seek our own.

Every religion expresses some version of “do unto others,” but none honor it as “the prime directive.”  Yet this is precisely the way, truth and life with which Jesus identified himself, insisting there was “no other way” to transcendent Oneness identical to his.  Declaring love alone works and endures, the apostle Paul concurred. Corroborating both, the apostle John asserted that “God is love.” Many centuries later, the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him – and all of us) echoed them all:

. . . There should be neither harm, nor reciprocating of harm . . . No one is a believer until he loves for his neighbor, and for his brother, what he loves for himself . . . Do unto all men as you would they should unto you . . .

Whether gifted by Supreme Being, being-ness itself or impersonal ideal, the Golden GPS works – it liberates and enriches doer and “do-ee” alike.

We necessarily isolate individuals who intend violence against others, but integration of/with everyone else, not mass deportations, marks the approach to true north.

Je suis vous, et vous êtes moi.

Rob HunterRob Hunter is a business owner, real estate investor, fly fisherman, avid reader, and writer. Rob has four adult children and lives with his wife Carolyn and their two dogs, Spud and Lucy, in Billings, Montana. Rob is a board member of Presence, which – as he puts it – has been pivotal to transforming his perceptions of the biblical narrative and spiritual life.

 

 

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