I live in the lovely, incredibly Christian state of Oklahoma. When I say incredibly Christian I mean it. Ada, population 17,000, has 51 churches. Oklahoma is indeed the Bible Belt Buckle and as a Pagan living here I've learned a few things, mainly to keep my mouth shut on most of my opinions. I scroll though my Facebook feed and see everyone I know posting exactly what is on their mind and I keep scrolling because I know 1. my opinion won't be popular 2. my opinion isn't wanted 3. my opinion will get me viciously (verbally) attacked, mostly by my own loving family.
It's a pretty depressing situation.
I guess I could say "fuck it" and post what I want, and I usually do, but some subjects are so hot button I simply don't have the emotional energy to deal with the hate anymore, because while I can read their opinion, disagree with it, respect their right to have that opinion, and keep scrolling, apparently I am an idiot to expect the same respect. It drives me crazy sometimes.
I love my faith, I love my path. I find it beautiful, it speaks directly to my soul and drives me to be a better person, but it's not an easy path to walk living where I do. I recognize it could be worse though, there are still people killed every day for being labeled "witch" and that brings me to the point of my post today.
It all started bright and early with this article on my newsfeed on Facebook. Basically it is a woman in the progressive state of Arkansas has declared her indoor shooting range a "Muslim-free zone."
Now I have a couple of different opinions about this. I dislike a whole lot of government involving its self in my business so if she wants to be a bigot, whatever. I reserve the right to boycott her store and call her out on her small mindedness. She reserves the right to refuse service and I don't want the government trying to change that because for every once of power we give them they take another fifty pounds.
Paranoid? Possibly, but I think at this juncture we all should be.
My problem is that she cites the Oklahoma "Muslim" beheading. I remember the original news cast, before they found out the man was Muslim. He beaded the women because he was fired, not because of his faith. When it came to light that the man was Muslim I knew that the focus would shift and things would be blown out of proportion.
Now there it is, in every article, his religious affiliation. It has been all over the news, including national news, and has been a Very Big Deal.
But, did you hear about the other Oklahoma beheading?
What? You didn't?
In this case a Christian man (nearly) beheaded another man for practicing witchcraft. This never even came up in the news. Not once. The only reason I found out about it was because OUT OF STATE websites posted something and my Google alerts picked it up.
Oh but he was on drugs so it was all the meth's fault.
You don't hear anyone saying they are going to ban Christians from their business for fear of their lives, despite Christianity's own bloody past, and present.
There are bad eggs no matter what the faith.
Here's my main issue though, I'm sure you're ready for me to get to the point. So many Americans are sheep, waiting to be told what to be afraid of.
The media blows ebola out of proportion, by the way there are no more cases of it in the US but we were all terrified of a pandemic.
It sensationalizes anything having to do with Islam.
"Holy cow did you hear that crazy person that did that bad thing had a brother's sister-in-law's uncle's cousin that read the Quran once?"
It keeps us so busy labeling and hating one another while the local and federal government engages in random stupidity. If we could spend a little less time being afraid, and a little more time on compassion, maybe we could pull ourselves out of this craziness instead of waiting for congress to do it for us.