A GATHERING OF 'SECULAR' MUSLIMS
Some folks have been asking why moderate, modern, reasonably Muslim voices are not heard more often than the voices of the radicals and militants. It looks as if a whole bunch of those more sensible -- and even secular -- voices will be coming together for a gathering in Florida in a few day. Wonder what kind of media coverage this will get.
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DOING GOOD THINGS, BUT NOT TOO MANY?
Perhaps you saw the story recently about Holocaust diarist Anne Frank's family's failed effort to get a visa to come to the United States.
The Jewish Daily Forward, in an editorial, had an interesting -- and perhaps surprising -- take on this. It said it wasn't much interested in the efforts by a member of Congress to name Anne Frank (pictured here) a postumous American citizen. Rather, it said, the U.S. should do what it can now to help save the lives of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled Iraq.
In many ways, I like this attitude. It's similar to the idea that before we issue a formal apology for, say, slavery, we should be doing what we can today to alleviate the still-remaining vestiges of racism in our society.
And yet there is something powerful about a government taking a formal step to acknowledge its past failures.
So why can't we do both? Why can't we honor not just Anne Frank but also the many other Jews whom America should have -- but didn't -- let into the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s and at the same time be working to find help for the refugees from Iraq?
Are we limited to the number of good deeds we can do at any particular time?
To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.
PS: I'll be teaching a writing class the week of July 2 at Ghost Ranch, the national Presbyterian conference center in northern New Mexico. Click on the "writing class" link for information about the seminar and how to join us. I'd love to have you there for a beautiful week in the red rock hills that artist George O'Keeffe made famous.