Spiritual Responses to Terrorism: Saying No to Fear
Prepared for Mari Ann Graham, Fr. Posey, and the folks at our forum on Dec. 6, 2001, 7-9:30 pm at UST.
(Do not blame them for the author’s words below!) – by Michael Andregg, JPST program at St. Thomas
The causes of the attack on September 11, 2001 include at least 17 distinct elements, only one of which I am going to focus on this evening. That is attractive for busy people, but it is also simplistic. We cannot prevent future acts of terrorism if we only consider one aspect of 17 causes. In fact, this is why many great problems continue unsolved -- they have multiple causes, but people are impatient. We pick one or two of the most attractive causes, often because they are easiest to deal with, work awhile, and then move on declaring the problem unsolvable. Abject poverty is like that too, a problem I will return to. But time is limited, so I'll identify all 17 causes very briefly, then focus what time remains on the one that brings us together tonight – Spiritual intolerance, ignorance, bigotry, and ultimately hatred and violence.
1. There is a huge struggle going on today worldwide, between fundamentalist forms of religion based on fear and envy, and ecumenical forms of religion based on love and tolerance. This struggle is occurring within every major faith, and is central to questions of why bombs go off today, and more importantly, also to how we may act as individuals and nations to stop the killing between factions over religious differences. This is the big cause that I will return to in a few minutes. But first, the other 16.
2. Wars have at least two sides, and the reasons they fight are often not identical. Osama Bin Laden has been very explicit about his reasons for the war. His first reason is the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and support for a government there he views as profoundly corrupt. Which it is.
3. U.S. support for Israel is the second cause he cited in his fatwa against Americans everywhere.
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