Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hatred and Fear as American Values?

I was in New York City when I first heard about the controversy surrounding the proposed community center at Park51. You know, the "ground zero mosque."

(Check out that link above, it's the official link for the community center. The more I read about it, the more I think it will be an amazing thing for the community. Unfortunately, it's getting off to a spectacularly bad start, thanks to its opponents)

I remember talking a bit about it with my friend, sort of shaking my head thinking how ridiculous it all was, and assuming it would disappear in a few days.

I'm truly dismayed that people are still talking about it. Bile rises every time I see someone posting on Facebook that they like "I do not support a mosque being built 600 feet from the World Trade Center." It amazes me that the same people who are always hearkening back to our founding fathers and the inerrancy of the constitution are willing to completely ignore the whole "freedom of religion" thing. Because, as Sarah Palin put it, it rubs people the wrong way. I watched an interview with her (never a good idea for my blood pressure) wherein she accused President Obama of being out of touch with what the American people were "feeling."


President Obama had just said that they have every legal right to build a center there, and she is talking about peoples FEELINGS. It's our government's job is to uphold the LAW (and in the next breath Palin accuses President Obama of swaying to polls... aka, public opinion, or "feeling." Please decide, which is it? Is he too swayed by peoples feelings, or not in touch with people's feelings?) It does not matter whether the President thinks (or FEELS) it's a good idea or not. His job is to uphold the law. And the law says that a religious group can build a place of worship on this piece of private property.

Do we, as a country, really want to get into the business of deciding where it is appropriate for a house of worship? To decide that one religion can be in this location, but another not? That is a very, very, very slippery slope. We are either for freedom of religion, or we aren't. If we start deciding that certain religions don't belong in certain areas we are beginning to sound a lot like Nazi Germany.

And here's the thing... people's feelings are hurt because a community center, to be run by Muslims (and that will include a place of worship), is being built near the site of the World Trade Center. The only reason people find this offensive is because they associate all Muslims with the terrorists responsible for the tragedy on 9/11. They can say all they want that they don't, but they prove themselves otherwise. And we cannot stand idly by while they make that horrible connection.

I hate to think that I, as a Christian, will be lumped together with extremists who bomb abortion clinics or carry "I hate fags" signs. (although I know that to some, I am lumped together with them).

The right wing talking heads continue to whip their listeners into a frenzy over a small piece of real estate that most of them will never come anywhere near in their lifetime. They speak only of a "Mosque at Ground Zero", and I've encountered people who think that this is somehow the nation's official memorial to to the victims of 9/11. Because that's the way it's being presented. That's the lie that's being perpetuated. That's the distraction that is keeping everyone thinking about something that should not have been anything but possibly a passing notice in the national news. That's the latest item in a long line of fear mongering

And it's appalling.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ashes to Ashes

I did a strange thing last night. I poured the remains of my brother in law from a mason jar into a ziplock baggie.

Before my husband's brother died, he requested that some of his ashes be spread over the Pacific Ocean: the place he had learned to surf, a place of family vacations, a place he loved. We buried some of them in a memorial garden on a cold February day after his memorial service, as the wind blew snow in swirls around us. But the rest will finally be released into the waters of the Pacific this week.

This morning my husband took a plane to California, and I was charged with making sure that the ashes would pass through security. Hence the baggie. Double bagged, actually.

This afternoon the jar was still sitting on the kitchen counter. I decided it might make an interesting subject for today's project365 photograph.

021 : 365
To dust we shall return

You can see that there is still a bit of dust in the bottom of jar.

cross posted from View from the Maypole

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Coming or going?

These days it seems that I don't know if I'm coming or going... having just moved, then made a trip, and returned to my new home... I feel like I'm late to everything as I haven't yet figured out how long it takes to get anywhere, and I can't seem to get out the door any sooner. So it's only fitting that I'm late to join my fellow 365 photographers in Sue's latest endeavor. The idea is to take a picture a day every day for a year. I've set up a separate space (View from the Maypole, feel free to visit me over there, as well!) for all of those pictures, but may occasionally cross post here. Case in point: the pictures below, from my recent trip...I'd been in Michigan for a week, then I hopped on a plane and flew to NYC. Crazy, but the baptism has been scheduled for months! Here are my daily highlights, plus a bonus picture at the end:

I flew to NYC for the baptism, and also tucked down to Philly to visit some friends. (and OH how many times I wished I had taken my good camera. Lesson learned. I hope)

003 : 365
I want to be a part of it

Our plane couldn't land on our first pass over La Guardia (another plane didn't clear the runway in time) so we swooped over Manhattan, and I took some pictures out of my plane window. If only the clouds would have moved out of the way...

004 : 365
Holy Baptism

A window in the chapel of St. Bartholomew, where I became a godmother for the third time

005 : 365
Half: part 1

006 : 365
Half: part 2

My college roomie now has twins. Fraternal, obviously. They turned one right after my visit, and were a pure delight. Also, watching my dear friend parent these girls, and their big brother, was wonderful.

007 : 365
Broadway and 23rd
I had lunch with Magpie (and failed to get a picture! I had meant to, but we talked the whole time and I plumb forgot) but she told me to be sure to check out the art installation. There were identical statues on buildings all around this intersection, teetering high above. I had missed them entirely when I passed below on my way to lunch.

008 : 365
taken with my iphone at the Museum of Natural History

009 : 365

010 : 365
Suitcase living


And here I am with my newest godson, isn't he a doll? And SO sweet. Obviously, I did not take this photograph.

Although it was more than a bit nutty to take off so soon after arrival in my new state, it actually was good for my mental state. I was feeling pretty depressed and a change of focus for a week really brought me back to a better place, and more emotionally ready to come back and throw myself into being in my new home.