Another senseless shooting has occurred. The details are still sketchy as I write this, but a gunman walked into a Sikh Temple outside of a Milwaukee suburb and six people died and three others injured. There is speculation that the gunman was a white supremacist.
The Sikh community has suffered greatly since 9-11. Some folks assume they are Muslims because of their Turbans. They are not. As far as I am concerned, there is no way to every justify walking into a religious community and killing people. I do not care if they are Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Unitarian or United Methodist. I will never understand why anyone thinks they have the right to kill people because of their faith or their looks or their background.
Regardless of the motive, of one thing I am clear, we as a nation must get back to our basic values. Freedom of religion, freedom to choose how we live out our faith, and freedom of speech where we actually listen to one another and learn from one another. We need to find new ways to communicate and interact with people who are different from us. As Christians, we must learn respect for other faiths and stand against up any prejudice and hate when we hear it.
I am tired. Tired of mass shootings where the victims are forgotten quickly, but the perpetrator is remembered forever. I am tired of yelling and ugliness on both sides of any argument. I truly understand deeply held beliefs. I do not understand the conviction “that what I believe in gives me license to do as I please, say what I want and hurt others.” I am pretty sure that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is part of almost all faith traditions.
Today, I am praying for the Sikh community in Wisconsin and everywhere. Their faith in One Supreme Being, equality of men and women, respect for other faiths and service to all people embody the values we claim as Americans. May this tragedy challenge us to live more faithfully into a people that respects others, teaches openness and understanding. Through opening and understanding, may I be
Graced to Serve