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CNN PRESENTS Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door

I just finished watching the CNN rebroadcast of 'Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door', a story basically outlining the building of an Islamic Mosk in my home town of Murfreesboro, Tn. and the opposition by some to it. The primary argument involves Islam as a religion and the tactics of fear used by the 'far right' as a tool in their opposition to anything not 'christian' in the community. Fortunately Murfreesboro isn't an Alabama or Mississippi where blatant religious bigotry is still well and alive {although Tennessee is slowly moving to the right in its politics}. Local courts have upheld the right for the Muslim population to go forward with their plans to build their mosk {even though they have yet to find a builder willing to do the construction}.

The opposition to the mosk demonstrates there still exists, primarily in the southern states, a bigotry toward other religious belief systems as well as those people with other cultural backgrounds who are considered different. Of course there is a denial of this bigotry. The origins for the prejudice are primarily religious. In our early American history it was African Americans who bore the brunt of such bigotry. Now it is anything considered not 'christian' with Islam being the target because of 9/11.

This is certainly not a new 'fight' between religions, especially Christianity vs Islam. That war has been ongoing for centuries and will continue until the earth is no longer inhabitable {which with our attitude toward global warming and the deteriorating environment may be sooner that we could ever imagine}. What is interesting to me is these two patriarchal religions have never been able to get along. Standard fare when you have 'men against men', patriarchy against patriarchy. AS Joseph Campbell once pronounced, 'we can not go back to the old time religion' if we are to survive in the new millennium.

Anyone who is a regular visitor to the Dream Forum knows my position on patriarchy and religion. Having grown up in the Church of Christ and Southern Baptist traditions, and having found those to be lacking in true spirituality in later life, I do not subscribe to any religion other than what is within the laws of nature {which of course when it comes to dogma there are none}. I do believe, and this at least partially stems from my study of Jungian psyche, that the feminine psyche is more important to a balanced spiritual life than patriarchal dogma of our Western religions. I believe there is a 'feminine mystique' within nature that supports this philosophy. Jungian psyche is built upon the differencing aspects of the psyche, with the 'feminine psyche' superior to the masculine in those values that best serve man/woman to live a balanced and harmonious life. The great example is Jesus who lived from the 'feminine' aspects, whereas the 'opposite' would be God who possessed traits that are primarily masculine. God has a temper, is jealous {there shall be no other gods before me?}, and tends to be that warrior figure {Campbell so skillfully illustrates in Transformations of Myth Through Time} that 'evolved' from the first great city states/cradle of civilization of Mesopotamia {what is now in parts of Iran, Syria, Turkey and Iraq} some 3500 years ago. It is not just by happenstance that the spiritual nature of the psyche is considered a feminine aspect. Nor that the earth is called the 'Great Mother', the proper annunciation of what is recognized in science as the origins of life. It is the mother who gives life. The Muse, the feminine power of creativity and spirituality.
There is no separation of God and man, man and nature, God and nature. We evolved from the earth and we return to the earth. All things are related, as the Native American myths teach us to believe.

So as I watched this program that showcases the bigotry within my community I can't help think that if I had the power I would ban all religions as we know them. In their place I would institute one simple spiritual principle: love, peace and harmony, toward all things. That would be Eden, Shangri-la, Utopia and unfortunately, not possible in this time and space we now live.
The attitudes shown by those few people in the CNN program illustrate this reality. So it is left to the individual to find within their own life that inner space of true spirituality. WWJD is my prescription for such a life. By ' living life as Jesus would live it' I am capable of attaining Buddha consciousness. And because life is a duality of conscious and the unconscious we can understand that such attainment is a 'psychological' endeavor. The simple answer is to 'Think psychologically, live spiritually'.

If it were only that easy.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 61 Murfreesboro, Tn. USA

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Re: CNN PRESENTS Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door

wow, quite the revival Jerri, that is a dang big mosque, 53k sq ft. the word enantiodrama (sp) comes to mind. Seems to me like you are smack dab in the middle of the world's next attempt at Muslim Spain, how will it unfold this time? 53k seems a bit materialistic for one of Abraham's religions. Very difficult to base a country on religious tolerance when all religions draw lines to define themselves. Something is not clicking for them. I would be careful not to touch this one, as much as I support religious freedom, I don't think any religious institution including islam shares that sentiment to the same degree. This one is red hot, and I think it is of little consequence to one who seeks god and is not concerned with the costume or dogma which He/She chooses to appear in. It is not a very compassionate thing to say, but perhaps we should let the blind fight the blind, because it seems they are going to do it anyway. Onward to God Jerri, btw I just got an electrical apprenticeship and am having fun learning.

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 34 Missoula MT

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Re: CNN PRESENTS Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door

Sam,
I am certainly not a defender of Islam but my objections are about patriarchal dogma and not hidden {in this case, an obvious conscious attitude} prejudice and bigotry. As much as I have a disdain for Western religions I would defend their right to their beliefs because that is what America and freedom are about. The sad thing is there are still a great many people in this country, especially the south, who have deep rooted bigotry and yet so few who seem to care. I have witness the Murfreesboro community rapidly drift to the right politically with a small minority of tea partiers setting the agenda. It is reflective of how these same people have hijacked the national GOP with the Bachmanns, Perrys and Pauls forcing the party to take a radical right turn. With a president who lacks testicles {I had high hopes Obama would be the great defender of the working man} to stand up and fight for what is right he instead has given these hate mongers a real opportunity to take the presidency in 2012. If anyone thinks GW Bush was a disaster {history will show just how bad a president he was} just imagine a Perry with his religious far right agenda becoming the most powerful man on the planet. Not only will Muslims need to fear for their future but so will those like myself who do not abide by judeo/christian/patriarchal religious doctrine.

I have always been vocal about my political beliefs but that is the old me. I'm trying my damndest not to get involved, instead putting all my efforts into that new spiritual identity that is emerging as I age and grow wiser. But it is difficult to stand by and watch intolerance and prejudice take foot in Middle Tennessee. With great defenders against hate and bigotry like John Seigenthaler Nashville stood tall while other parts of the south continued to digress in their attitudes toward anyone who did not engage the same intolerance. These attitudes has eroded to what we have now, fewer people worried about religious freedom, afraid of their own 'shadows' because of the 9/11 fear tactics used by the right to support their political agenda. The decline has been rapid and with Republicans in total control of the governorship and legislature it is only a matter of time before Tennessee becomes another Arizona/Alabama/Mississippi where hate and prejudice are descriptive adjectives of a way of life. Sad, sad, sad.

Forgive me for being so passionate about a subject that has little to do with the dream world. But my passion for the area comes from so many personal experiences with the city and local communities. I grew up in the 'inner city' of Nashville {my teen years spend living in the 'projects'} and have had an intimate relationship with the city all my life. At the age of 14 I was an usher in one of the most beautiful movie theatres {the Tennessee theatre located in the downtown area}. I went to school at Tennessee's oldest high school, which is also located in the downtown area. For more than 12 years I was employed by the Metro health department where I developed the 'people' skills that have served me so well in adulthood. And for the better part of the last 33 years I have been a self employed contractor working the Middle Tennessee area. Other than my time in the military and a very brief time living in Florida I have spent my entire life in Middle Tennessee. I have had a great many personal experiences with the lowest of society to the highest, having adjudicated in local courts with both, court appearances being a part of my job with the health department. I worked in political campaigns for city council and judge-ships. I have witnessed the tremendous growth in population and economics, which in my mind has been the scourge that has led us down this spiraling path of decline. Materialism has conquered over true spiritualism, religion being the cloak that hides the darkness that is so prevalent in so many hearts of the people in Middle Tennessee. I have always been different from the average Tennessean but now I feel completely alienated. The plight of the poor and working class declines while the haves and those who aspire to be part of that 'upper' class prosper beyond belief {I am amazed at the number of people who have declining incomes but continue to think that path is their way to a better life}. It is a trend that the whole nation seems to be entrenched. Where it goes only time will tell. Where it ends I will soon not worry because I am near that age of early retirement and eager to disengage myself from the whole of declining attitudes.

At least that is my hope and plans. Becoming that new person dedicated to the creative spirit, casting away the old self that has held me back from my potential in personal/spiritual growth. What you see at Myths-Dreams-Symbols is that other me and soon I hope to be nothing but that. Bothered by the events of the day, involved in the ego world of doing, I look forward to that death and resurrection.

twat twam asi, thou art that, I am that.

Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 61 Murfreesboro, Tn. USA

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Re: CNN PRESENTS Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door

Jerri, as you follow your bliss, I submit to you.

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Re: CNN PRESENTS Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door

Thanks Sam. Your 'submission' is duly noted.

An addendum to the controversy of the mosk being built in Murfreesboro. This morning's Tennessean newspaper reports Murfreesboro police and federal homeland security agents are investigating threats that someone plans to blow up the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro on Sept. 11.

That's the ticket. Celebrate 9/11 by blowing up a mosk. Extremism vs extremism. Religion vs religion. Man vs man. No wonder I have taken to celebrating the 'feminine'.

Reminds me of Joseph Campbell's story in 'The Power of Myth.

I once heard a wonderful lecture by Daisetsu Suzuki,
you remember this wonderful old Zen philosopher who was over here?
He was in his 90's, he started a lecture in Switzerland, that I heard in Ascona.
He stood up with his hands on his sides and said:
'God against man - Man against God.'
'Man against nature - Nature against man.'
'Nature against God - God against nature.'
'Very funny religion!'



Jerry

Age & Gender & Location {Required}: 61 Murfreesboro, Tn. USA

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