The Washington Posts’ “On Faith” blog asks its panel of religious leaders and pundits what “message” they would like to send to religious extremists on the anniversary of 9/11. Author, activist, and Reclaiming Witch Starahwk uses this opportunity to send a message of love.
“On this tragic anniversary, I’d like to remind us all that whether we say God or Goddess, him or her, however we depict the divine, the ultimate essence is love. Pagans believe that we are each an embodiment of the Goddess. Other religions speak of the divine spark in each human being, or the incarnation of God on earth. They are all telling us to treat each person as if she or he might be God walking around, perhaps begging for a meal or a kind word, perhaps hitching a ride as Pele the volcano Goddess is said to do in Hawaii … If we want peace and security, we must address the causes of war. If we want a world based on spiritual connection and humanitarian values, we must become pre-emptive peacemakers. The Shambala warriors of Tibet are said to have two great weapons with which to dismantle the weapons of destruction: insight and compassion. Let us all wield those weapons. The earth is crying out for us all to use all our powers of mind and heart for her and our healing. Let us listen to that call.”
Also of note from the panel responses is the Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, President of Chicago Theological Seminary, who makes plain the pride and folly of using God(s) to justify bad behavior.
“My message to those who would use religion to justify indiscriminate killing in the name of God is simply as follows: “This is your own pride and sinfulness acting. God had nothing to do with it.” But the same message also needs to be sent to those religious extremists like the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who described the 9/11 attacks (though he quickly recanted) as God’s wrath against a laundry list of those people and organizations with which he disagreed. This too is religious language pressed into the service of justifying hatred.”
You can find other responses from a variety of religious perspectives at the “On Faith” site. For more Pagan voices regarding 9/11, you can read my entry from the fifth anniversary of the attacks. I think my closing words then, still hold true today.
“I’m hoping that we can move forward from this anniversary wiser and ready to make real change in the world. War and paranoia has failed to change our terror-haunted nation for the better, one can hope that a new way will be chosen. A way that doesn’t politicize the tragedy for political gain, a way that lives up to the very best of our country’s history.”
I wish you all a day of reflection and peace.