On Patriot Day

It's hard to believe the September 11 attacks happened sixteen years ago. I still remember sitting first in art history and then in sophomore social studies watching the news and waiting to see what would happen next. At the age of fifteen, I couldn't truly grasp what was going on, but it was a day that forever changed the world.

Since 9/11, we've endured TSA body scanners, inherent distrust of Muslims, and seemingly endless wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. I have multiple reasons to believe I'm on a few government watch lists, courtesy of the PATRIOT Act and subsequent executive orders and legislation. We have, as a world, sacrificed privacy for security -- security and fear, fear of the Other.

The Other has been on our radar ever since that day sixteen years ago. Immigrants and refugees have borne the brunt of our suspicions, but we harbor a special anxiety about Muslims. Now, the claims of Christianity and Islam are fully incompatible and almost totally mutually exclusive, and there has certainly been anti-Muslim violence perpetrated by Christians in the past just as Muslims continue to wage literal war against Christians, Jews, and anyone else of a different faith today. Those realities will not change, but neither do they provide license for us to hate them, fear them, or wish them ill. We are to love and pray for Muslims, hoping they will one day find the salvation made possible through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Today, on the sixteenth anniversary of the attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, let us honor our dead, love our survivors, and pray for our enemies. Let us show love in all of those ways, for this is God's will for us.

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