First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
Unions; Religious Intolerance
When the USAirways flight attendants and baggage handlers in Philadelphia staged their Christmas sickout, they may have thought they were acting in the noble tradition of heroic soldiers of the labor movement.
What they were actually doing was destroying their own jobs and hurting unions in general.
First of all, you have to know when to go on strike. If your employer is making money but labor is not getting its fair share, and you don't have a contract in place, then it makes sense to strike.
If you have a contract, but strike anyway, then why should management ever negotiate with you? You don't keep your word -- or your union doesn't really speak for you.
And if your company is going bankrupt -- and has submitted that bankruptcy to the courts, so you know they're not faking -- then what kind of stupid do you have to be to go on strike?
Particularly when you are in the transportation industry.
Because that sickout wasn't an action against USAirways. It was a hostile attack on the passengers.
And in case anyone in the union hasn't noticed, the only way they can keep their jobs is if more people pay money to fly on their airline.
And here's why these workers are stupid squared: The passengers whose Christmas vacation they destroyed were the very people who fly USAirways.
What did former and potential USAirways passengers learn at Christmastime this year?
Don't fly USAirways, that's what they learned. Because you never know when some of their employees are going to break their promise -- violate their contract -- and shut down an airport.
Your travel plans can't be counted on, if you fly USAirways. That's what they learned.
So here's what those workers accomplished with their sickout:
1. They taught the public not to trust reservations made with USAirways.
2. They greatly increased the chance of USAirways going out of business entirely, costing them all their jobs.
3. Because of their callous selfishness, they made the whole country just a little less sympathetic with union labor in general, weakening the pro-union vote in American elections in the future.
Boy, those workers sure showed management not to mess with them!
You want to know why religious people get a bad name?
Soon after the tsunami, we got a "faith-promoting" email that is apparently circulating around the nets. It seems that an Indonesian Christian noticed that the tsunami happened right after a series of anti-Christian activities by Indonesian Muslims.
The email saw the hand of a vengeful Christian God in the tsunami, avenging those attacks by slaughtering Muslims and heathen Buddhists on the beaches of Sumatra, while the Christians were in church meetings.
I guess God didn't mind that Hindus in India and Sri Lanka who had done no harm to Christians also got killed.
Come on, folks! God put us into a world where nature sometimes does bad things, but to say that God deliberately caused an earthquake and tsunami in order to punish a few Muslims in Indonesia, incidentally slaughtering a hundred thousand people in other countries who had nothing to do with those offenses, is blasphemy.
It is an attack on the decency of God. As a Christian, I'm mortally offended that any Christian would charge God with such a crime.
Rain falls on the wicked and the righteous; so do tornados. What separates the righteous (of any religion) from the wicked is how they respond to such disasters. With love and kindness, sharing and cooperation? Or with looting, secret acts of vengeance ... and gloating over the harm done to enemies?
Which reaction would typify a true Christian?
I'm proud of the fact that along with government action, there has been an outpouring of funds and donations to Christian charities in order to help the tsunami survivors. That is the Christian response.
And anyone who blames natural disasters -- or even malicious events like 9/11 -- on the supposed sins of the victims is no Christian.
Murder in the name of God has struck in America, it seems. A Coptic Christian immigrant family from Egypt was tied up and slashed to death in their homes right after the father posted anti-Muslim statements on the nets.
It may turn out that this crime had nothing to do with Muslims.
Let's keep in mind, however, that it is well known that murder in the name of God is too often the first response to opposition in many Muslim nations.
I'm not just talking about suicide bombers in Israel or Iraq.
I'm talking about the fact that Christian missionaries know better than to teach a Muslim in a Muslim country. If the missionaries themselves aren't murdered, any converts they make almost certainly will be.
Islam is a one-way religion. You can freely convert to Islam from any other faith. But for a Muslim to convert to another religion is to run a grave risk of being murdered.
In free countries like America, where Muslim citizens have absorbed the rules of religious freedom, murder is not as likely, of course. But as Muslim fundamentalism spreads throughout the world, more and more Muslims are being taught that opposition to Islam is a crime worthy of the death penalty -- and not just for the perpetrator, but for his whole family as well.
It's time to stop pretending that Islam is "just another religion."
Yes, for many American believers in Islam, it is a peaceful faith that can be practiced without danger to anyone. It is part of the community of faith.
But in Muslim-ruled countries, and more and more in free countries as well, fanatical Muslims feel entitled by God to murder whomever they have judged to be "enemies" of Islam.
There have been "Christians" like that, too -- for instance, anti-abortion fanatics who feel entitled to murder abortionists.
But the public reaction to those events was outrage and shame, and a general condemnation of conservative religious groups in general throughout the American media.
When a Muslim behaves that way, however, "multiculturalism" kicks in and everybody pussyfoots around the problem, deliberately refraining from any remark that might be construed as criticism of Islam in general.
It's time to stop giving Islam a free ride for the actions of the fanatics within their fold.
It's time for us to see all those peace-loving, moderate, freedom-treasuring American Muslims openly condemning murder in the name of God, naming names and expelling the perpetrators from their religious community.
In my church, if anyone ever preached that we had the right to kill people who worked against us, that person would be excommunicated and openly condemned.
But we Mormons were publicly condemned anyway in slanderous pseudo-historical books when people who claimed to be Mormons (but had been booted out of the church and condemned) committed murders. We were charged with creating a "culture of violence."
Let's face it, folks: Islam, right now, today, is a religious community that includes a very large, very influential group of people who preach murder and jihad and world domination. Their rhetoric is even more hateful than the vile spewings of Hitler's Nazi Party before World War II. And since the moderate, peace-loving, tolerant Muslim majority (if it is a majority) is largely silent -- probably out of fear -- we are forced to take that rhetoric seriously.
What's shameful is that the people in America who should be standing up for freedom and tolerance -- the American Left -- instead gives all this hate speech a free ride. Instead, they condemn anyone who condemns the murderous rhetoric of Islam, and insist that we have pro-Muslim propaganda in our schools and universities.
It's time for American Muslim imams to issue their own fatwahs against those who murder in the name of God. It's time for us to see energetic action that shows us that Islam is not, in fact, what Osama bin Laden and the Ayatollahs of Iran claim that it is.
It's also time for the American Left to speak up as loudly against Muslim violence and hate speech as they do against the far less dangerous and harmful Christian Right.
The murder of that Coptic family may not have as high a body count as the events of 9/11, but they should frighten us even more.
The victims of 9/11 were semi-randomly chosen.
But this family, if they were killed for what the father wrote, mark the beginning of targeted murders designed to silence opponents of fanatical Islam.
Muslims accuse Jews in Israel of being assassins and child-killers, but it's Muslims, not Jews, who are murdering children, and assassinating, and terrorizing throughout the world. And it's "moderate" Muslims who shelter, protect, fund, and provide recruiting opportunities for these fanatics.
Islam is not just another religion. It's a religion in whose name a war is being conducted against Americans -- and, whenever possible, on American soil.
Of course, by publishing this essay, don't I mark myself as an opponent of fanatical Islam? Don't I put my own family at risk?
Not if I am joined by thousands and thousands of other people in condemning any religion that protects and encourages murder -- including Islam.
People who oppose Islamicist murder and jihad are only in danger when they stand alone.
And those who leave them to stand alone, instead of standing up with them to voice their condemnation, are like all those silent Germans in World War II who turned their backs and pretended not to know.
(And if any harm does come to me and my family, it will only prove that I am right. I'd rather not be a martyr, thank you very much, but tyrants and terrorists only succeed when we fear them.)
Don't you get it yet? There's a war on, which was started by fanatical Muslims in the name of Islam; it's a war conducted by suicide bombs, terrorism, and acts of murder.
We don't fight that way. There must be no vigilante attacks on individual Muslims who have done no harm. We believe in the rule of law.
But there must be loud condemnation by Americans of every political and religious group -- and insistence that individual Muslims and Muslim governments and Muslim religious leaders everywhere join us in that condemnation of murderers and assassins and terrorists.
The special sympathetic treatment of Islam in our schools and universities must stop now.
And whoever does not join in the condemnation of jihadist Islam should be assumed to be sympathetic to our enemies and despised for it.
But do you know what will happen? I will be condemned and criticized for my "intolerance." I will be called a warmonger because I have publicly noticed that we're at war. I will be charged with encouraging hate and vigilantism, regardless of what I actually said in this essay.
Here is the truth: I am not an enemy of Islam. I'm a believer in religious freedom, and any Muslim who accepts religious freedom -- including the freedom of Muslims to leave Islam if they choose -- is my friend, not my enemy. Let them persuade as many converts as they wish, in any country -- as long as they allow the same freedom to believers of other faiths.
Because ultimately that's what this war is all about. Freedom of religion versus the Islamicist claim to have a right to force Islamic law on everyone in every nation, and to kill anyone who opposes them.
That's the first freedom in the Bill of Rights.
And while the American Left is busy using that clause to tear down Nativity scenes and keep the Ten Commandments out of courtrooms, Americans and others, here and abroad, are dying because one religion -- Islam -- refuses to abide by the rules of religious tolerance.
Copyright © 2005 by Orson Scott Card.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.