Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sidney Center, NY, Does Religious Unity Right

The Sufi community in the little town of Sidney Center, NY, buried one of their own on the community's farm. The Board of Supervisors investigated to make sure the burial was legal. It was. Nonetheless, one Supervisor, an anti-government Republican named Robert McCarthy, still objected, calling for the dead to be disinterred because "you can't just bury Grandma in the backyard under the picnic table."

That is the ugly part. This is the good part.

The town rallied 'round the Sufis
. The next Board of Supervisors meetings was packed - a rare occurrence - calling shame on McCarthy. A local lawyer, who is Jewish, offered to represent the Sufis pro bono. A Republican committee woman resigned in disgust, and instead went to the Sufi community center to meet her turbaned neighbors for the first time. Hans Hass, spokesman for the Sufis, became a national figure for a moment as the story spread. But Hass was already a well-respected local figure, integrated into the town. Hass is a building contractor, volunteer fireman, and captain of the ambulance squad (!).

As if on cue to illustrate the points I had been writing about from American Grace, Sidney Center shows how religious difference binds us together, even in the face of the uncivil minority.

21 comments:

Whit said...

"[A]nti-government Republican"

If he were anti-government, wouldn't he oppose unnecessary government regulation (if indeed people should be able to use their backyards as makeshift graveyards)? This is more a question of the rule of law. It was legal. You can't arbitrarily make a legal act illegal after the fact.

Us anti-government (or perhaps limited government would be more accurate) types mostly oppose unnecessary regulation such as Chicago's ordinances that (to protect restaurants) essentially prohibit food trucks and that (to protect florists) prohibit selling flowers on the street. Some states (I don't know about New York) prevent people from buying caskets direct from the manufacturer and force you to buy through the funeral home at a much higher price. I could go on.

As for "Republican", I think it has been more the Left that is ignoring the rule of law. The recent health care and financial "reform" bills delegated much of the power to make the rules to unelected administrative agencies which are now making things up as they go along. HHS is issuing "waivers" of ObamaCare's requirements to some (possibly politically favored) companies, but not to other similarly situated (but perhaps less politically connected or less able to spend money on lobbyists) companies. The courts have found rights (like to have an abortion or "marry" a person of the same sex) nowhere found in the Constitution's text. No matter what you think of the merits of the abortion and same-sex "marriage" issues, courts should stick to the text and let the political process work out the rest.

Victoria Wheeler said...

I'm glad you posted this! It's always good to hear a piece of positive news about religious diversity.

Anonymous said...

Did you have to mention the political party of the antagonist in the story? It would have been less divisive which is something you say you care about.

Gruntled said...

Anonymous: yes, otherwise the resignation of the Republican committeewoman would have made no sense.

Susan Weise said...

Sufis are the peace loving muslims, right? Good they weren't Sunnis or things things might have turned out tragically different.

Gruntled said...

The vast majority of Muslims are peace loving, as are the vast majority of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and Confucians.

(Also, Sufis are Sunnis).

palomine said...

True enough, but aren't the vast majority of terrorists Muslim? And hasn't that been true for decades at least. That's fair, don't you think?

Gruntled said...

The vast majority of abortion shooters are evangelical Christians and traditional Catholics. Should we fear all evangelicals and Catholics?

Terrorists are extremely rare, especially in this country. Treating all Muslims as if they might be terrorists is exactly like treating all black men as if they might be criminals. It is both immoral and self-defeating.

palomine said...

Calm down Mr. Gruntled no one said we should treat all Muslims as terrorist, but clarity is important.

Are there more abortionist killers or are there more extremist Muslim terrorist? What would you say the ratio is?

It is your idea of moral equivalence between these two groups that is immoral and self-defeating. You are smarter than that.

Gruntled said...

I really don't know what the ratio is, or even if it can be calculated. How do you count the Irish Republican Army? ETA in Spain? The Serbian militias? The Lord's Resistance Army? The Hutu genocidal killers?

In this country I think there are more Christian terrorists than Muslim ones. So far, no American Muslims have killed anyone in this country. Timothy McVeigh killed more Americans than all the American Muslim terrorists combined.

I think treating a large group as potential criminals because a small number of them are is the kind of moral equivalence that is immoral and self-defeating.

palomine said...

McVeigh Did not kill Americans because his holy book told him to. Islamic extremist do. So again, there is no real moral equivalence though you pretend there is.

The truth should be more important to you than political correctness.

Kerri said...

beau--

thank you, once again, for posting reasonable statements about our country and the world in general. Your civility in response to any and all comments on your blog is also an invaluable lesson for all of us internet folks.

palomine said...

Kerri I agree. Beau you have the patience of Job. Merry X-mas.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Timothy McVeigh say he was an agnostic and didn't believe in Hell? It's kind of tough to label him a Christian terrorist when he didn't embrace the Christian religion. But the Muslim terrorists are pretty clear that their religion is their motivation. McVeigh seemed to be motivated by his hatred of government intrusion.

gruntled said...

McVeigh went back and forth, but I agree he is not a clear case. Most of the militias, though, are explicitly and extravagantly Christian. The people who shoot abortion doctors are clearly Christian.

My main point is that treating all Muslims as if they were or could easily be terrorists is immoral and imprudent.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Beau, but your main point is a a straw man. No one has argued against it.

gruntled said...

My main point is that ordinary decent Americans stood up to a bully in power.

anon 946 said...

I agree with your second main point then. But not your first one.

Whit said...

Gruntled,

We need to distinguish among (1) Islamist terrorists, and their supporters, who wish to, by force and coercion, establish Islamist rule over the world, (2) non-terrorist Islamists, non-violent Muslims who nevertheless support the goal of the first group to establish Sharia as the basis of law, and (3) those Muslims who oppose both the aims and the methods of the first group. The first group may be small among American Muslims (though new polls suggest it is not small in the wider Muslim world), but I do not hear American Muslims generally among those speaking out against the ideology of the first two groups, which I find troubling.

We also need to distinguish between Islamism which poses a threat to our nation and our culture, and abortion doc killers who, while certainly criminals, pose no threat to our overall survival.

Finally, we need to distinguish between the abortion doc killers, some of whom may claim to be Christians but are supported by no Christian doctrine or significant Christian leader, and Islamists whose goals and methods are supported by parts of the Koran and many of their religious leaders.

Anonymous said...

Bingo Whit.

Gruntleds inability to understand the nuanced stance taken by Whit amazes and frustrates me. Political correctness can blind us and can be very dangerous to our nation.

Pauline said...

In the last 24 months 126 individuals were indicted on terror related charges.50 were Americans, all were Muslins.