Catholics must lead the way in providing for a culture of love, respect

[dropcap type=”4″]A[/dropcap] few months ago I wrote a column about how Catholics had a duty to defend our Muslim brothers and sisters, those that mean us no harm, as they brave the slings and arrows of those that wish to take out their anger for terrorists on them. I had no idea the fight would come so close to home so soon.

Chris Benguhe is a columnist for The Catholic Sun. Opinions expressed are the writers’ and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.
Chris Benguhe is a columnist for The Catholic Sun. Opinions expressed are the writers’ and not necessarily the views of The Catholic Sun or the Diocese of Phoenix.

Last month a former Marine set out to defend America’s right to insult another’s religion by hosting a “Draw the Prophet Muhammad” event in front of a local Phoenix mosque. He even went so far as to invite protesters to bring their guns to the event.

But here’s the good news. Thank God, and I do mean that, no one was harmed. That might be because of the strong showing of support by Arizona’s tolerant religious community who showed up in droves holding signs reading “Love not Hate.” These counter protesters wearing blue to signify peace lined the side of the street closest to the mosque.

And it’s that same spirit I wish to appeal to here when I implore you not to be taken in by the evil ways of conflict-motivated media, who try to create tension and dissent between Americans for the sake of ratings. Let me explain.

Some wonder if it is it really necessary to stoke the fire of terrorist hate by spewing hate in return, in the form of mocking Muhammad? Those who have wondered this have been shot down by ideological pundits who claim we not only have the right to say whatever we want in this country, regardless of how hurtful and offensive it is to another’s religion, but that we have some moral duty to actually do it.

Well think about what that would mean if taken to its ideological extreme. Imagine for a moment if every single one of us woke up tomorrow and decided to go out and approach every single person we disliked, or disrespected or didn’t agree with, got in their face, and in the most offensive way possible told them what we thought of them.

The reason why that doesn’t happen in America, and why America has lasted and prospered as long as it has, is because we are not just a nation of laws, but we are also a nation of love! We show that love in a million different ways. With our huge and charitable hearts we show it by giving billions to the unfortunate without the government asking us to. We show it by taking care of our families, our neighbors and our communities without the government ordering us to. And we show it by living respectfully alongside different cultures, races, ideas and perspectives.

This is a nation of freedom, and with freedom comes tremendous rights and responsibilities to to make it a better place.

I can think of no better group in America to lead the way than the close to 80 million Catholics who are willing and ready to heed Pope Francis’ message to “take care of one another.”