Yesterday a shocking and cowardly terrorist attack was perpetrated against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo leaving at least a dozen dead, and a country in mourning. All who cherish freedom weeps with France. My heart is very heavy, and I pray for all who have been harmed by this senseless crime. There has been an outpouring of support and solidarity throughout Europe and the world. Hashtags #IamCharlie and #JeSuisCharlie are trending to show global support in this time of tragedy.
I join with all of those who are angered by this attack and who are resolved to stand for freedom of the press and freedom of expression. However, I have been very concerned by the “anti-religion” sentiments widely expressed across the internet and through media outlets. Some people have mistakenly chosen to believe that because this particular magazine was critical of religion, and because the terrorists claim to be acting in the name of “religion”, then it follows that religion itself is the enemy. Salmon Rushdie proclaimed “Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason” and concluded that “Religions, like all other ideas, deserve…our fearless disrespect.” Wow. [As a religious person I disagree completely, but – ironically – it is the religious-based tenets which I believe in which defend Rushdie’s right to feel and say what he believes.]
How many times have we heard; “If only there were no religion, there would be no hate“?
This could not be further from the truth!
Religion is not the enemy. Hatred, Intolerance, and Evil itself has always been the great enemy of mankind. Evil has no regard for human life. Evil has no respect for basic human rights. Evil has no tolerance for freedom of any kind. It desires to crush all freedom of expression, of the press, and of religion. The only way to fight evil then, is to promote everything evil hates. Goodness. Kindness. Tolerance. The freedom of expression, the freedom of the press, and especially the freedom of religious belief/practice/worship. It baffles me that those very people who are so outraged by intolerant acts toward personal expression or the press, would in any way excuse and even promote intolerance against religion! #hypocrisyalert!
On October 2, 2001, less than 3 weeks after the 9/11 USA terror attacks, Gordon B. Hinckley, acting prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stood at the pulpit of the annual General Conference of the church to give his concluding remarks. He candidly discussed the war on terrorism that we were embarking on. His remarks are just as relevant today, and possibly more .
“The terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions…We value our Muslim neighbors across the world and hope that those who live by the tenets of their faith will not suffer. I ask particularly that our own people do not become a party in any way to the persecution of the innocent. Rather, let us be friendly and helpful, protective and supportive. It is the terrorist organizations that must be ferreted out and brought down. …”
“…From the day of Cain to the present, the adversary has been the great mastermind of the terrible conflicts that have brought so much suffering. Treachery and terrorism began with him. And they will continue until the Son of God returns to rule and reign with peace and righteousness among the sons and daughters of God.”
– President Gordon B. Hinckley, The Times In Which We Live, Oct. 2001
I consider myself a very religious person. I am an active, practicing member of the LDS Church. I also have friends who are devout followers of many different religions. We are all people of peace who strive to make the world a better place. None of us are or ever will be terrorists as long as we continue to follow the tenets of our religions; which are strong morals, family values, respect for others and sanctity of life just to name a few. These are the tenets that the Constitution of my country is based on – Judeo-Christian teachings- and the Constitutions throughout the world have all been patterned after this document and founded on similar tenets. We love our families. We love our countries. We value hard work, service and building of our communities. The God we worship may be called by different names, but it is a God of love that we all strive to follow. Those who perpetrate acts of violence in the name of any religion are evil and disillusioned people who are the farthest from living their religion as a person can possibly be.
“I was asked what I think of those who, in the name of their religion, carry out such infamous activities. I replied, “Religion offers no shield for wickedness, for evil, for those kinds of things. The God in whom I believe does not foster this kind of action. He is a God of mercy. He is a God of love. He is a God of peace and reassurance, and I look to Him in times such as this as a comfort and a source of strength.”
– Hinckley, The Times In Which We Live, Oct. 2001
When terror strikes, it is shocking. It is very frightening. We weep for all the innocent lives that were senselessly lost and for all those who are suffering and will be effected for generations to come. We feel a gamut of emotions from disbelief, to fear, to anger and despair. We worry about our own safety and the safety of those we love. We worry about where our world is going, and how much worse things might get. How do we find solace and comfort? Where can we turn for peace?
Today the MormonChannel released this new video, which couldn’t have been more inspired or perfectly timed. It encourages us to find solace by turning to God in prayer.
In this time of unrest, I am choosing to turn to God and to pray for peace. Will you? – MoSop
“Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us.” – Gordon B. Hinckley