- Cullman, Alabama

April 24, 2013

Faith and bombs

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — The investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing is pointing to the all-too-familiar theme of religious faith playing a major role in violence.

Two Chechen brothers suspected of the deadly bombing and killing of an MIT officer were apparently not affiliated with a specific terrorist group, but the role of Islam in their decision to bring death and destruction to innocent people weighed heavily in their actions. The brothers didn’t just arrive on a boat yesterday. Both had been living in the United States for a decade, but somewhere along the way adopted radicalized views of the nation they long had called home.

Events in the Middle East and other parts of the world where religion plays a prominent role in inciting violence has been curious from afar for most Americans. But warnings of similar problems coming to our shores have been issued since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In a nation where religious freedom has long been valued, the thought of faith playing a role in extreme violence has been unimaginable for most Americans. We have long been proud of our nation standing as a beacon of freedom, a place where different cultures and traditions can live side by side.

Nevertheless, reality is dawning that life may never be the same as we move foreward. We will be challenged as a nation to maintain our unique freedoms. The issue of immigration will need to become a more serious issue if we are to remain a land of freedom.

Open borders and lax immigration policies are not the way to maintain freedom and personal liberties. As a nation, a sensible approach to controlling who enters and leaves the country is an obligation of government. Americans cannot enjoy the fruits of the Constitution without reasonable control of the immigration policy.

On another level of personal responsibility, religious faith should never be an excuse to harm others. Any doctrine that targets the innocent should be rejected and dennounced for its attempt to pervert the message and sensibility of faith.