Patterico's Pontifications

2/8/2006

Religious Tolerance

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am



Laura Ingraham was just interviewing a staff sergeant in Iraq and asked him if he ever gets scared.

“Absolutely,” he said, calmly but without hesitation.

“What do you do when you get scared?” she asked.

“Can I say what I really do?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“I pray,” he said.

I wonder why he felt the need to ask permission to say that.

51 Responses to “Religious Tolerance”

  1. “I wonder why he felt the need to ask permission to say that. ”

    Iraq’s religious government doesn’t want to be defended by people answering to a ‘wrong’ religion?

    actus (3acc4d)

  2. People like you will bitch, actus?

    The Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  3. Actus, has “Iraq’s religious government” asked us to leave?

    Dana (3e4784)

  4. How much you wanna bet that soldier went to public school, and picked up there the idea that prayer is not to be spoken of outside the home/family/church? (Not to criticize him, you understand).

    Crank (5f5694)

  5. “Actus, has “Iraq’s religious government” asked us to leave? ”

    No. But they might not have a culture of religious tolerance.

    actus (3acc4d)

  6. I heard the interview, and at the time I thought that this young man was probably unfamiliar with Laura Ingraham and her show and didn’t know how she would feel about him expressing his faith. He was being ultra-respectful of her and the opportunity he was given to speak to her audience. I think he showed a lot of grace and class.

    Ann (cc9923)

  7. Actus answered:

    “Actus, has “Iraq’s religious government” asked us to leave? ”

    No. But they might not have a culture of religious tolerance.

    There is something to your position; we certainly swallow our pride by allowing the Saudis to dictate that American troops based there not have any public displays of Christian or Jewish sentiment, and bans the presence of the Bible. It’s that addiction to oil, you know.

    The best thing, of course, is to round up all of the Arabs and expel them from Saudi Arabia, and annex the country — and its oil — for ourselves. We can charge them a fee to visit Mecca, assuming we don’t just level the place.

    Only half joking . . .

    Dana (3e4784)

  8. #5 Or they might. At this point who knows? Of all the countries in the region Iraq is arguably the most likely to create a culture of religious tolerance.

    That this is not yet a “done deal” is one of those many messy things about democracy and self-determination I guess.

    You got it Ann. This level of “grace and class” and respect is common to our professional soldiers. These young men and women are just superb, wouldn’t you agree?

    Amazingly enough, aside from making Actus’ obviously political point, no government can prevent individuals from praying privately when scared. And yet, though scared, he bravely goes about his business. My, we are blessed to have these wonderful people serving in our military.

    Harry Arthur (40c0a6)

  9. Did you see the NYT and LAT today? Both had front page photos of the King funeral. The NYT had the Clintons at the podium with the President in the background. The LAT had Rev Joseph Lowery in front with the President in the background with a caption that said the Rev “had harsh words for the President” This is the kind of coverage that makes Republicans blood boil and in this case, justifiably so. It is as though both papers went out of their way to make the President look bad, or at least diminish his importance. Unlike many of your readers, I love the NYT, but here they went awry. Disappointing from a great paper, no surprise from Pravda West.

    rob Dver (4d4be8)

  10. “Iraq’s religious government doesn’t want to be defended by people answering to a ‘wrong’ religion?”

    Um, sure, that’s wy the sergeant was self-censoring when speaking to the Iraqi Minister for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue, Laura al-Ingraham.

    See Dubya (5073f6)

  11. S/Sgt Kelly continued that he “had Jesus in his heart,” which is probably why he checked first – soldiers being reminded not to challenge or deprecate Islamic pre-eminence.

    steve (539a32)

  12. “#5 Or they might. At this point who knows? Of all the countries in the region Iraq is arguably the most likely to create a culture of religious tolerance.”

    I’d say turkey much before iraq. If you think they have religious tolerance, step into the next sunni/shia conflict.

    actus (3acc4d)

  13. He knows that there are still some of the PC generals promoted during the 90’s strickly for their ass kissing ability. Nothing to do with the Iraqi’s, but the enemy in his own chain of command (sic). (22 year vet)

    Why are they inspecting the Senate office building tonight? There is no way a terrorist would endanger their friends in the Senate. It will turn out to be baby powder.

    scrapiron (9f37aa)

  14. I love it how people like you, scrapiron, will never miss an opportunity to blame President Clinton for anything. Of course, Clinton gutted the military, and only promoted ass-kissing generals. Fortunately, President Bush was able to come along and rebuild it so quickly.

    But, if someone dares to criticize our current president for problems that we are currently facing, or points out his propensity for promoting his friends. Well, then we’re just a bunch of loony moonbats.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  15. Nice to know Laura’s alive and kicking. KSFO replaced her with Mark Levin’s newly syndicated show Monday night. Seems it was a biz decision — Levin is syndicated by ABC Radio, and the Disney unit also owns KSFO.

    Levin is OK in small doses, but the “liberals are stupid” stuff gets old real fast without proper context. I can’t take that for one hour, much less two.

    L.N. Smithee (0931d2)

  16. Adam: But, if someone dares to criticize our current president for problems that we are currently facing, or points out his propensity for promoting his friends. Well, then we’re just a bunch of loony moonbats.

    Hey, Adam — it would be easier to “criticize our current president for problems that we are currently facing” if those who criticize could elucidate better ideas than Murthaesque cutting and running (which didn’t have popular support even within Congress, as the “stunt” vote proved) or the ever-popular “something else.” And if you have to go too far to see pro-war folks kick Bush around for the choice of Michael Brown or Harriet Miers, you aren’t trying. Hit the Michelle Malkin link down and to the right.

    L.N. Smithee (0931d2)

  17. “Hey, Adam — it would be easier to “criticize our current president for problems that we are currently facing” if those who criticize could elucidate better ideas than Murthaesque cutting and running”

    Plain old competence is out of fashion these days.

    actus (3acc4d)

  18. “#5 Or they might. At this point who knows? Of all the countries in the region Iraq is arguably the most likely to create a culture of religious tolerance.”

    I’d say turkey much before iraq. If you think they have religious tolerance, step into the next sunni/shia conflict.

    I guess context is everything and I ought to have been more precise. I (erroneously) neglected to consider Turkey in “the region” but then again Turkey ALREADY has a culture of religious tolerance so probably wouldn’t need to create one.

    Secondly, “if you think they have religious tolerance” kind of misses the point doesn’t it, since I was clearly talking about the “countries in the region MOST LIKELY TO CREATE a culture of religious tolerance. Sort of a future tense kind of statement.

    The Iraqis have a history of being a very educated population. We’ll see where potential conflicts between Sunni and Shia go, but I would argue that their primary differences currently are political, i.e., the minority Sunni are no longer the rulers.

    To this point at least, I don’t believe you can make a case that there has been anywhere near the sectarian violence that one might expect, given the treatment of the Shia for the last 30 years at the hands of the Sunni.

    I would also argue that the constituional inclusion of women in their government suggests something other than strict adherance to any particular brand of Islam.

    I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t religious tolerance also one of the basic tenants within their constitution?

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  19. Patterico, I wonder why the seargent ‘asked permission’ as well. But it also seems to be something that could easily enough be taken out of context in lots of different directions. So I’m not exactly sure what you’re getting at.

    Tom (f35e9a)

  20. To get back to the original question, I bet it was because this soldier assumed that Laura, being part of the media, was part of the MSM. Thus, it was a safe bet she was secular liberal, and didn’t know the tenants of Christianity from Adam, if you know what I mean.

    Part and parcel with the syndrome Crank’s talking about in #4. Growing up in our secularized society — where God’s been stripped from the public square — I was taught it was best to keep my love for Jesus Christ to myself. Talk about God or prayer, and you get labeled a loser, or get laughed at and excluded.

    Then the syndrome just keeps on going, like scrapion says in #13. Ass-kissing generals bow down to the secularists and keep love for Jesus out of the army. Or at least teach you to suppress it.

    Which brings me back around to Laura. Who’s actually part of the new media. Soldier probably didn’t realize just what side she’s on. Thus, his respectul hesitation is completely understandable.

    jmaharry (3991f5)

  21. Want to hear my whiney “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” story from the other side of the fence? I am currently contracting at an organization that sends out daily, company news emails. Now we all know that politics should not be discussed at work – and yet sometimes the emails shamelessly support republican policy. So I guess I wouldn’t go far in that company if I let it be known that I’m not “one of them,” would I? Not only that – where I sit, I can hear someone’s radio on Rush Limbaugh (just barely hear it, but it irks me). And I dare not complain about it. Anyway, that’s a little one-sided isn’t it?

    Psyberian (1cf529)

  22. “The Iraqis have a history of being a very educated population.”

    You think education is correlated with tolerance? great!

    actus (3acc4d)

  23. How about this;
    He feels that religious expression is his personal preference which should never be foisted upon anyone. Imagine if everyone felt that way.

    paul (8838ff)

  24. Including the secularists, Paul?

    Kathy (59cee4)

  25. How about this – he realizes that he shoudl censor himself people like paul think religious expression should be treated differently than their expression?

    eddie haskell (51058c)

  26. Eddie,Kathy,
    What I think is simply this;
    There are certain parts of our lives that should be held close and shared only with those closest to us. Religion, Sexual Preference, politics. If we were to treat these things as personal views and be frugal in sharing them with others instead of trying to shove them down everyones throat, respect, tolerance and perspective could be more easily obtained.
    It’s a lot easier to accept a statement;
    “I am ‘x'”
    as opposed to;
    “I am ‘x’ and you need to agree with my viewpoints, adopt my value system and march lock step with me off to my vision of the future.”
    I just think the Sgt was indicating that he was going to share something personal that HE held as important, that’s all.
    And yes Kathy, even the secularist need to hold somethings as personal, private beliefs.

    paul (8838ff)

  27. Adam wrote:

    But, if someone dares to criticize our current president for problems that we are currently facing, or points out his propensity for promoting his friends. Well, then we’re just a bunch of loony moonbats.

    No, not exactly. If you employ reasonable language, and have hard data to buttress your points, most people here are going to treat you with respect. Heck, I’d say that the tone of the original is usually the tone-setter for the response.

    But, if your arguments are moonbatty (meaning: nutty “logic,” and no supporting data), well you can expect the moonbat label.

    And if you think that perhaps some of the conservatives here are rough, check out how conservative commenters are treated on The Liberal Avenger or Oliver Willis.

    Dana (3e4784)

  28. Of course, conservatives commenting on sites like the Liberal Avenger are probably a bit forewarned about how they’ll be treated when they have threads entitled All agree: Juan Cole is a f***ing retard, (asterisks not in the original).

    Dana (3e4784)

  29. Dana – while I generally try to make my points in a calm, rational, friendly fashion; and while people generally respond to me in kind; I am also often somewhat put off by the sweeping generalizations I see about “the left” on conservative sites, and I not infrequently find myself in the position of having people assume that I’m a “moonbat” until I prove otherwise.

    I’m not saying that the left is necessarily better in this regard; I’m saying that my experience suggests that there is a fair amount of pre-judgement which goes on. That prejudice can be overcome, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  30. JMAHarry — I find that spiritual experience is something that it is difficult for people of any religious persuasion to discuss openly in our society. I’m not a Christian – my religious beliefs are closet to Taoism – but I feel uncomfortable discussing my religious beliefs on the grounds that I will be laughed at as a lunatic or a loser.

    I’m not convinced that a world in which Christians feel comfortable discussing their religion but people like me are just as uncomfortable as I am now would be preferable. So my question to you is this: how do we promote a society in which open religious expression is better tolerated without limiting that expression to one religion?

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  31. Dana:

    You are absolutely right. I don’t like it when the left does it either. Civil debate is something that is sorely missing from most discourse today. That’s too bad.

    Adam (40d1a3)

  32. Dana, Aphrael,
    My point exactly. If we were all to treat our OWN religious beliefs with modesty, even when expressing them amongst like-minded people, it would set the tone for respectful consideration.
    In the best of all worlds…

    paul (8838ff)

  33. Do you have actus on retainer.

    davod (5fdaa2)

  34. 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    Book of Matthew

    Asinitra (a7ab42)

  35. #22, “The Iraqis have a history of being a very educated population.”

    You think education is correlated with tolerance? great!

    Not precisely, but I’ll take an educated, modern society over an uneducated 15th century society any day when it comes to religious or other tolerance. The Iraqis seem to me to be more in line with the more progressive gulf states than do say the Saudis, Syrians and at least the Iranian rulers.

    paul, He feels that religious expression is his personal preference which should never be foisted upon anyone. Imagine if everyone felt that way. As one who would probably find my beliefs similar to the young SSG, I would suggest that many if not most of us evangelical christians do feel that way. I truly regret it if anyone here has had a different experience.

    I’m afraid that what all too often is mistaken for “trying to stuff our religion down someone’s throat” is simply the exercise of our responsibilities as citizens by participation in the political process.

    Personally, because I am sensitive to this concern, I studiously avoid religious arguments when discussing most “nonreligious” topics.

    aphrael, I am also often somewhat put off by the sweeping generalizations I see about “the left” on conservative sites, and I not infrequently find myself in the position of having people assume that I’m a “moonbat” until I prove otherwise.

    Personally, I try very hard to avoid generalizations, and I doubt you’ll find one in many of my arguments, but I think you’d have to admit that the far left conspiracy theorists and rabid Bush-haters have given honest liberals a bad name, especially of late. It’s one thing to offer opinion based on facts, cast in a logical argument and to disagree respectfully as “the loyal opposition”. It’s quite another to make some of the utterly ridiculous and often slanderous assertions to which we are fairly routinely “treated” by the Michael Moore, Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy crowd.

    Every single time I have offered a conservative opinion on a “liberal” site, I have been met with the most profane, illogical and factually deficient refuse bearing little to no relationship to logical and factual argument, often characterized by unsubstantiated assertions and mind reading. Foul language and ad hominem is usually a sign that the poster has no real ideas. Honestly, I just don’t bother any more. Life is too short to suffer fools.

    I generaly decline to continue to mud wrestle with a pig at some point. The problem is you both get dirty and the pig likes it.

    Adam, Civil debate is something that is sorely missing from most discourse today. That’s too bad. I couldn’t agree more. Honestly, though I do find more opportunity here and on Dana’s and Tom McGuire’s site, among others, than on almost any so-called “progressive” site I can imagine. IMHO of course.

    So is it now that we have the group hug? :-)

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  36. Asinistra, That is exactly what I heard on Thom Hartman today.

    blubonnet (dc52ec)

  37. If I can paraphrase some of the comments I have read on this thread:

    • If you have a religious thought, keep it to yourself.
    • If you listen to Rush Limbaugh, I had better not be able to hear it.

    Freedom for thoughts and speech I agree with is what free speech is all about, right?

    We are actually a few years past 1984, but not past the political suppression it forsaw.

    moneyrunner (918a2b)

  38. Harry, So, is Pat Robertson one of the guys you look to for insight and inspiration?

    blubonnet (dc52ec)

  39. No. At one point in his life he was actually a reasonably lucid man with an occasional insightful thought. Less so lately. Perhaps age is catching up with him as it does with us all.

    Your question does bring up a point that I’m happy to clarify. It seems to me that all too often there is an apparent assumption that somehow we evangelicals need someone to do our thinking for us, to “lead” us or to speak for us. Pat Robertson no more speaks for me than do the Revs Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton speak for all black people of faith. Actually, as a group evangelicals are fairly well educated and reasonably capable of individual study, thought and “directedness”.

    Speaking only for myself, I look directly to the Bible in general and Jesus in particular for insight and inspiration. Among other men and women who I have found particularly inspirational are Billy Graham, Mother Theresa and Nate Saint. I would also be remiss if I didn’t add my parents and my wonderful wife of 32 years to the list. A treasure of insight and inspiration in that last group.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  40. 28:19-20 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,
    teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. 13 And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

    The Book of Matthew

    Aphrael, I agree that some times liberal guests to conservative sites are treated badly. I have done it myself, but usually it comes when the liberal person either says outright or insinuates that you must be an idiot or a bigot to believe a certain way. At that point, the boxing gloves come off for me, which probably isn’t very Christian. 😉

    sharon (fecb65)

  41. Harry Arthur – a group hug is appropriate whenever a quorom of the group wants one. :)

    aphrael (3bacf3)

  42. Moneyrunner – I work in a room with several printers and usually two other people in the room. One of the other people in the room listens to NPR from time to time while he is working, and when he does, the rest of us cannot avoid hearing it.

    He asked if we were ok with that.

    The other guy listens to various strange forms of music from time to time; when he’s doing that, everyone else has the power to veto any given song.

    That strikes me as being the polite way to listen to the radio in a workplace where your coworkers are a captive audience: either use headphones or ask in advance to make sure everyone is ok with whatever it is you are forcing them to listen to.

    aphrael (3bacf3)

  43. Moneyrunner,
    My thought is, if I were to express MY views on Religion, Sexual Preference and politics in a modest, polite manner, and it became the societal norm, the world would be more prone to respect, tolerance and perspective.

    paul (464e99)

  44. Aphrael, thank you for clarifying that point about captive audiences (in 42). I have a feeling that Moneyrunner wouldn’t like the idea of being forced to listen to Air America at his work place. Some republicans seem incapable of putting the shoe on the other foot. (I have some ideas as to why that is, but that takes the discussion into psychology.)

    Also Aphrael, you often have a perceptive and persuasive way of expressing ideas and beliefs that I happen to agree with. You seem to have an uncanny ability to make me think “Yeah, that’s what I was thinking! I just couldn’t think of a way to get the point across.”

    Psyberian (1cf529)

  45. So my question to you is this: how do we promote a society in which open religious expression is better tolerated without limiting that expression to one religion?

    Nailed it. Open and honest discussions about religion, especially in the context of an open exchange of ideas, can be brilliantly enlightening (not to mention spiritually clarifying for all involved). Thanks, aphrael.

    Tom (eb6b88)

  46. Psy, perhaps a fairer and more convincing statement would have been “Some people seem incapable of putting the shoe on the other foot”. I presume republicans are not the only ones or even the predominant ones with this malady. You might as well assert that republicans are more prone to wife-beating while you’re at it. I’m sure there are examples.

    Unfortunately, self-centeredness and rudeness exist in a much larger segment of the population than the center to right side of the political spectrum. Having said that, your psychoanalysis of republicans would be interesting to hear …

    While on the subject of psychology, and having spent some time in discussions with you (and your twin Tillman) over the past several months, do you realize that you have a tendency to stereotype? It’s OK, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  47. Tom, Open and honest discussions about religion, especially in the context of an open exchange of ideas…

    I would agree but for two current realities.

    First, many people will think that my mutual response to an “open and honest discussion” is an attempt to “cram religion down their throat” as has been suggested above.

    Second, this doesn’t seem to work so well with other subjects such as race. For example, dare we conservatives question affirmative action or racial quotas, the response is generally a dismissive ad hominem label – racist.

    I would also guess that once I suggested to most people that Jesus is the only way to heaven, as I believe he is, things would go down hill fairly quickly. Wouldn’t you agree?

    I honestly think we have a larger problem in America today. We no longer seem willing to agree to the concept of “ultimate truth”. Nor do we seem to be able to argue logically and factually. Thus, we end up with ridiculous statements like “you have your facts and I have mine” or “that is your truth but I have a different truth”. Once we’ve gotten to this point, and I believe we are largely there, “an open exchange of ideas” is a nice intellectual excercise but it will mean very little and will inform very few people.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  48. Harry, I think that republicans are more prone to being unable to “put the shoe on the other foot” for a number of reasons. Sure, there are democrats who do that too. But one of my contentions is that republicans are more likely to be authoritarian. An authoritarian personality is more likely to have a “I’m right and you’re wrong” attitude and therefore less likely to seriously consider both sides of an argument.

    I don’t think that I’m stereotyping. After all, I did charitably say some republicans. And I don’t believe that you fall in that category. If you can argue with blubonnet’s conspiracy theory the way that you’ve done without summarily dismissing her early on, then you are definitely not an authoritarian.

    Psyberian (1cf529)

  49. 28:19-20 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,
    teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

    Yo, Sharon, I’m with ya, sista!

    6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
    6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
    6:29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
    6:30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
    6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
    6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
    6:33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
    6:34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
    6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
    6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
    6:37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven

    Book of Luke

    Asinistra (c493b3)

  50. I have to laugh when I see people talking about prayer and then supporting George Bush. If you dont realize how Bush has deliberately mislead us into a war we cannot win, alilenated the entire world with his arrogance and ignorance, and is running us full speed down the road to financial and moral bankruptcy..well at this point if you dont see it its because you dont want to see it.

    Heres a funny but sad example..I know two people that are strong Catholics that support Bush. When I pointed out that two Popes have condemnded this war one saying “if you go you without God” and the other said this war violated the centuries old Church teachings defining a just war, one Bushie said “War is not a matter of morals!!!!???” and the other “Well the Pope ought to keep his mouth shut!” Hey religion is fine. Just dont let it get in the way of a good war!!
    Bush and crew use the mantle of religion to lie and kill and and spread hate and fear which enables them to stay in power. Its a story as old as mankind itself. This administration is just like the priests at the time of Jesus. They manipulate the masses the same way as they did while claiming the mantle of sancitity. What makes you think things today are all that different from days gone by? But you cant see that,can you?

    I dare anyone to tell me that if Jesus, in disguise, stood up at the RNC and urged peace and love toward enemies, he would not have been booed and stoned. And if he ever said ” Its harder for a rich man to get into heaven than a camel to get through the eye of a needle” they would have accused him of “class warefare” and you know it. Go ahead and tell me, all you men of God, that this is not true. Try saying that at your Church services this week, just to see what happens. I absolutely promise that you will be greated with either outight hostility of endless rationalization except by a very small few who really believe what they say they do. Being blinded by love of power and fear and money, our nation has reject the teachings of Jesus for the lies of Bush.

    This nation has turned its back on God and is embarked on a needless war involving the killing of tens of thousands. “by their fruits yee shall know them!” And war and hate are clearly the fruits of the Bush administration. There will be a fearful price to be paid for these crimes. Even Abe Lincoln said the crime of slavery would be paid for in blood. You think your crimes will not escape punishment?

    So sit around confortably saying this is a nation “Under God??!! And that Bush is a “man of God with moral integrity” You think this war, based on lies and misleading information, is just an d “noble”??
    Dont try to convince me. You can take it up with your Maker when the day arrives.

    Charlie (8ea405)

  51. One of the most moving personal interactions i’ve had with other people which involved the subject of religion happened two years ago, when I was in a (deserted) mediocre cafe in Istanbul.

    The waiter was bored, so he was talking to me. The cook was bored, so he came out and was talking to me (his English was less good; often the waiter had to interpret). The subject turned to family, and I admitted that my brother was, at that time, in Iraq. As a soldier.

    The cook was awed; he was from Kurdish Turkey, and was very glad that the Americans were in Iraq. And he was concerned about my brother’s safety. He told me that he would pray for my brother.

    The cook was a devout Muslim; he would turn the radio in the restaurant off during the call to prayer. My brother is an evengelical Christian. I’m a taoist. I don’t believe for a minute that the cook’s prayer had any effect on my brother’s faith whatsoever. But that didn’t matter; the cook did, and was — unprompted — offering to intervene with his God to ask him to protect my brother.

    A greater gift to a stranger I could not imagine.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)


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