Here where I am, the end of the summer is marked by what is called the Great Minnesota Get-Together: the Minnesota State Fair.
One theme for the food that is sold at the fair is "food-on-a-stick": fried Twinkies, chocolate-dipped cheesecake, and caramelized bacon--on a stick.
The other day while hanging out with some Quaker friends, one of them suggested we could have a Quaker booth at the fair next year and sell Silence-on-a-Stick.
The idea got some laughs, but in light of what is happening with the increase in "Islamophobia" in the U.S., I was struck by our initial corporate Quaker silence across the country. When I started this post a few days ago, I took heart at what rabbinic student Rachel Barenblat wrote shortly after a drunk man urinated on the rugs of a New York mosque. I left the following comment:
...Not only did I post the link on my Facebook page but I also called my local TV station and referred them to your blog, asking that some air time be dedicated to the GOOD THINGS that Americans can do for one another.While I search my own heart for how I might be led in these horrifying times, I also ask that others point me to positive responses and goodwill outreach that is taking place.
One downside to the portion of Quakers that has no formally recognized clergy is that we sometimes lack the leadership such as what you and apparently Stu provided in this instance: in a moment of inspiration, to act and not just pray.
What are the Quakers in your corner of the world doing to refute the blame and the hate that is going on?
What does our faith call us to do, in addition to pray?
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
I'm grateful to see messages now put out by New York Yearly Meeting in collaboration with AFSC, as well as a statement from Friends Committee on National Legislation.
Some highlights from these statements:
NYYM and AFSC:
- We dare to imagine the site of the World TradeTowers surrounded by the evidence of our nation’s commitment to religious freedom, and our nation’s pluralism. We welcome it alongside current mosques and other houses of worship, and other interfaith and community centers near the site and throughout our city.
- To counter the distrust and misinformation, more people need to state publicly that they support the freedom of American Muslims to worship and to gather together.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --What do these melancholic words impel us to do, at the very least...?
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.