While eating lunch, I was getting ready to do my normal news chum post, when I began rereading the article about the attack in France, the French response, the responses on Facebook, and I began thinking about what I had written earlier in the week about freedom of religion in the US. I was thinking about how we began the week all up in arms about the symbolism of the Starbucks Red Cup. I knew that Islam was not to blame for this attack, but was rolling around in my mind how to prevent such attacks in the future. Could we, for example, ban the type of fundamentalism that led to ISIL. The answer is no; the characteristics of the ISIL group — a belief in scripture as law — exists not only there but in fundmentalist Christianity, and even in some Orthodox Jewish sects.
Then it hit me. In America, we judge people not by their beliefs, but by what they do. To use an extreme example, one could want to commit all sorts of sexual depravities in one’s head, but if they only remain thoughts untranslated into action, there’s no crime. Jimmy Carter can lust in his heart all he wants; it is when he acts that there is a problem. We do not have, nor should we have, the thought police.
The answer to this violence is not to bar or attack religions, or to bar and attack refugees. It is to bar and punish those who commit terrorism. It is to enforce the laws we have regarding planning treason, endangering the public, possessing explosives without permits, etc.
It is also to consider the other end of judging people by what they do. We should be recognizing those who are pushing for peace, speaking up about the peaceful side of belief, preaching how belief tells us to care about the downtrodden, those in worse situations than us, and for mutual respect.
Our enemy here is not religion or refugees. It is terrorists, and those who want to create chaos through terror.