Attacks on places of worship in Tacoma
By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index
Attacks on places of worship
In a series of acts that I never imagined seeing in and around the Tacoma and Seattle area, there were a series of attacks on various places of worship.
These are reflections of the darkest eras in our nation’s history or even key events of global religious persecution.
If you needed more proof that literally nothing is sacred in our society, this should be the compelling proof.
It’s unclear at this point if any of them were related or what the motivation might have been, but the bottom line is that no faith is safe unless all are respected.
Here is a summary of what until recently was unthinkable, a series of attacks on our local religious communities;
On October 24, an early morning arson attack caused significant damage to St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish in Tacoma.
October 19, 2021 – Breaking and entering and attacking material of religious significance at Masjid Umar Al-Farooq (Mountlake Terrace Mosque)
October 11, 2021 – fire identified as arson at Tacoma Islamic Center
October 10, 2021 – vandalism at St. Edward’s Church in Seattle
September 21, 2021 – Aggravated assault on a Buddhist nun at the Khmer Theravadin Buddhist temple in Tacoma
September 17, 2021 – Break-in and attack on material of religious importance at the Khalsa Gurmat Center in Federal Way
September 12, 2021 – Arson at Greater Christ Temple Church (The Oasis of Hope Center) in Tacoma
August 2021 – vandalism at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church in Seattle
July 2021 – vandalism at St. James’s Cathedral in Seattle
In cases where the perpetrator has been found, rage, boredom and bigotry seem to be the main motivations.
Under the rubric of religious freedom, we respect the right to worship differently much more than the right not to worship at all. – Wendy Kaminer
Freedom of religion
Literally written in our founding documents is the concept of religious freedom – to practice our religion safely.
Or do not have an expressed religion. But in all cases, choice and expression were individual and constitutionally protected.
There was a time when America was a bastion of opportunity and refuge, a place of religious freedom, tolerance and acceptance.
Religion in America, like business, has, for the most part, been an active market for competing ideas – each with a primary motive for proving itself to be superior or at least most appropriate for some people.
Fire, fear and threats do not convince anyone and prove nothing.
But they do demonstrate and manifest fear and bigotry – which is the hallmark and scriptural basis of the absence of religion. Or even the core beliefs of those who have no religion.
If you know the history of Christianity, you know that it was not the pagans or unbelievers who pressured and carried out the crucifixion, it was the clerics who demanded that the state apply the death penalty to the one who threatened. everything they believed in.
For one of the few times in history, Church and State united in their opposition to the power of a set of truths that threatened them both.
Tolerance is a thin slurry compared to the intoxication of absolute truths. It is not surprising that religious are often better protected than each other by atheists and agnostics. – Wendy Kaminer
Only desperate and scared people do desperate and destructive things. Simply put, no one would set a building on fire and endanger lives with a leap of faith.
Religious traditions emerge from history and culture. A commemoration, an icon or a ritual may be sacred to some while it has no consequence or interest for those of another culture and tradition.
We celebrate certain days and seasons and consider it our right to do so.
As it should be.
And that should, in a civil society, also be the right of all the others.
We may not know how or why something was put aside or valued by those of another culture, but our nation is wired by our founding documents to respect individual choice and expression.
Freedom of religion and the absence of religious prosecutions are inherent in who we are.
It would be hard to find anything more anti-American than expressing contempt for the beliefs of others, and even more, endangering others because of their beliefs.
there are no others
Here is a famous exchange that could have come from any religion in the world;
Questioner: “How should we treat others? “
Ramana Maharishi: “There are no others. “
Every child, every marriage counselor, every good friend and, hopefully, every religious or political leader would know and live by this principle; “There are no others”.
Every broken promise, every harsh word, every dishonest business transaction hurts us as much, if not more than it could hurt those we consider to be “the other.”
Any act of aggression or, in this case of destruction, is not an attack on a building, it is an attack on the very idea of trust and belief; trusting each other and believing in something much greater than ourselves.
When I was a child, many churches were left open for anyone seeking refuge or a place of literal sanctuary.
No church would do that now, of course.
They would be foolish to trust us and everyone else, whether they are neighbors or strangers.
Back then, it was not sacred buildings or artifacts that could be destroyed or looted, it was a sense of trust and belonging, public and shared safety and welcome that was lost and thrown away. .
There is little, if any, place of sanctuary open for those in need.
We don’t trust, believe or respect anyone – and many pride themselves on their contempt for others.
And we, our nation, our neighborhoods, even our churches, have forgotten what it means to welcome those who were once considered “others.”
Our scriptures are full of commandments to welcome the stranger, the inhabitant or the disguised angel.
Most of us wouldn’t even be able to recognize such a philosophy.
We have built religious denominations, and even political campaigns, on the premise of ourselves against others.
These beliefs have made us ugly, small, and mean.
Look at the faces of those who preach and often take advantage of accusation and mistrust.
Their faces are warped and twisted by the fury and violence they have embraced and embodied.
Conspiracy theories, suspicion and cynicism rule the country, and they rule because we have ceded our power to them.
But they will never prevail and can never prevail.
They are not who we are.
As often as we might forget, we are literally the United States of America.
There are no others.