13 Sep 2001
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31 Jan 2005



We who neither worship nor pray to any god nevertheless stand with all other civilized people of good will, in grief, in hope, and in steadfast defiance of the barbaric and destructive forces of fanaticism—of whatever stripe—which preach intolerance, practice violence against the innocent, plot the destruction of liberty, and seek to degrade humanity.


The adversary has not won.  He has not, as he had hoped, come even close to crippling our society and breaking our spirit.  America and its people are far greater and stronger than his small and diseased mind can fathom.  He cannot win—unless we let him.  If he should provoke us to lower ourselves to his level, if he should goad us into avenging his acts of blind hatred with rash and misdirected acts of our own, if he should incite us to renounce our standards of liberty and justice, if he should trick us into victimizing each other, then we will disgrace the memory of those who have sacrificed and died, and we will give to the enemy the victory that he could not hope to win through his own efforts.

But we—Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, Jews, Wiccans, and others alike—will never permit him that wicked satisfaction.  Indeed, though he had hoped to weaken and divide us, in his folly he has instead hardened the resolve and united the might of the entire civilized world against himself and his allies.  The clever ingenuity of his schemes is trivial, compared to the horrendous stupidity of his action.  All of his brazen acts of murder and destruction are put to shame by the quiet courage of a single act of mercy or charity by an emergency worker or private citizen.

Freedom's enemy is not an individual, an ethnic group, a religion, or a nationality.  It is an irrational fanaticism which infiltrates all societies, including our own, feeding on ignorance and hatred wherever it finds them.  Fanaticism knows no boundaries of geography, ethnicity, faith, or politics.  It lurks not only in distant mountains, forests, and deserts, but in many of our own pulpits and offices of state as well.  The answer is not more ignorance and hatred; by acceding to them, we would not defeat the evil, but rather immerse ourselves in it.  Only wisdom and understanding can hope to expose and conquer the murderous hatred posing as righteous wrath.


Unlike the adversary, we do not seek to victimize the innocent, and we shall not so disgrace ourselves in pursuit of our goal.  We shall not lose patience or direction, and we shall not yield to any irrational temptation to vent our anger upon those innocents who merely resemble the criminal through superficial association of ethnicity, religion, or language.  For by answering one injustice with another, we would give the enemy precisely the victory which he could not win by force and terror:  confirmation that we are as shallow, foolish, and spiritually diseased as he.

True justice might be frustratingly slow, but it is sure.  If we are patient, resourceful, focused, and persistent, eventually the criminals and their lackeys will be identified.  They will be hunted down.  They will be held accountable.  Their supporters will discover that the price of abetting slaughter and destruction is high.  Their sympathizers will be shamed before the eyes of the world.  And their would-be emulators in other persuasions will have ample cause (if not the intelligence) to rethink their tenets.  In this we can all have faith!


Alas, it seems the noble sentiments and proud spirit of unity, sung by a global chorus of billions aroused by the outrages against humanity on 11 September 2001, have been cast aside.  Conservative leaders have an agenda of their own, and are not about to let reality or public outrage divert them from it.  Part-way through the task of hunting down the wrongdoers and bringing them to justice, they evidently forgot what it was they were about, where their duty lay, who the real enemy was.  Instead, they launched a grudge war against an old but virtually impotent adversary.  In so doing, they opened to chaos an entire country once closed to terrorism, and now the region and the world are a much more dangerous place because of it.  And to top it off, those who contrived the scheme, and who pushed it through against the stern advice of top intelligence experts, now refuse to accept any blame themselves.  Instead, the lying rascals have tried to lay responsibility for the calamity of their own misjudgment at the doorstep of the very military and intelligence organizations whose counsel and information they deliberately ignored.  The scoundrels have betrayed the brave men and women under their command, and are a disgrace to the ideals of liberty, justice, and truth.

If that is not enough to destroy our faith in the resolve, purpose, and leadership of the United States of America, I cannot imagine what else could.

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