No other religion holds as many people in fear as does Islam. We can insult Christians by dipping crucifixes in urine and by court marshaling soldiers for their belief in traditional marriage, but God help us if we draw a cartoon of Mohammed. No one dares offend a Muslim for fear of his house being burned or his throat cut.
Because our nation and our people have refused to admit the reasons for our fears, we will never be able to address them. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are in a religious war – we have been since before Sept. 11 – and we are losing. The enemy has a unifying cause, but we are divided multiple times over – we even boast in our “diversity.”
Comparing the Two
But since this blog deals with legalism (from time to time), I thought today would be a perfect day to point out a painful similarity between terrorism and legalism: fear.
Fear is what keeps the faithful faithful. Those in legalistic environments dare not challenge the status quo for fear of being ostracized, stigmatized, or being separated from fellowship. Even if someone felt it perfectly acceptable to go to a movie, one dare not be seen going to the theater. The woman that wears pants at home wouldn’t dare wear them outside – someone in the church might call them “liberal.”
(The following was added after the original post in response to a tweet) Pants? Movies? Thousands die after the towers fall and all I have to compare it with are pants and movies? To be honest, I wrote the above paragraph while choking back anger and carefully trying to choose my words. I lived for 30 years in fear of others. I saw my father degraded, belittled, and blackballed. I nearly took my own life when I finally felt I could no longer live up to the legalistic expectations of not only others, but myself. Pants and movies were only the tip of the iceberg.
Fear…however it is used to control the actions of others…whether imposed by others or by one’s self…that’s my point.
Legalism is oppressive, freedom-stealing violence against grace.
Legalism, like terrorism, kills.