It has widely been said that the terrorists attacked us on 9/11 because they hated what America stood for. And that is true. But it’s also true that hate is what they stood for.
They hated our freedom of religion. Their demands concerning faith are coercive and brutish. There is no shaking the dust from one’s feet and setting Islam to the side, in their view. There is only to obey or be put to the lash. If that doesn’t feel like faith to you, it’s because it isn’t. It is tyranny.
They hated our freedom of speech. Theirs is world of knowing your place, whereas ours is a world of knowing your time. The time to inspire. The time to convince. The time to stand athwart. Those times are all American’s birthright – men and women alike. It is only for us to have the courage to embrace them when they arrive at our feet.
They hated our pluralism. Their culture is a static landscape painted in bland hues. Ours is one built around a common creed, but inviting to all races and ethnicities from across the globe as long as the quest for freedom pulses through their veins. And when they come, it has the glorious potential to be a reverse-engineered Matthew 28. Instead of going forth to all the world, the world comes to a place where reverence for God was built into its founding charter. Because when every knee shall bend, humanity’s diversity makes for the most beautiful of mosaics.
They hated our rule of law. Their obedience to Sharia did not create justice, but oppression. Our legal system was crafted to ensure that in stating all men are created equal, there would be a government put in place and nurtured accordingly so that those words would never ring hollow or be corrupted beyond recognition. Come what may, there would be justice for all as much as it was possible this side of heaven.
It is for those things and more that the terrorists gashed a gaping hole into our collective lives 17 years ago. They hated us so much for believing in them that their worldview required us to pay the ultimate price. But we would not be bullied, we said. We would not live in fear, we said. We would come together as never before, we said.
Except that didn’t happen. Our political culture is little more than roving tribes of bullies these days. Fear is rampant and manifests itself in multiple forms of mental illness and senseless violence. And we have seemingly no desire to come together, but simply to troll the “other” until they relent and hide in shame.
That leaves very little of John Adams’ “moral and religious people” to defend the things that made this country great. In fact, not only are we watching those things drift into near insignificance, but many Americans are actively attempting to burn them to the ground.
How many are already being persecuted for their faith in this country by their fellow citizens? How many are being silenced from speaking in both physical and digital social gathering spaces because they aren’t woke enough? How many will not be offered the opportunity to get along because they must only be made to care? How many are taunted by government officials who are openly hostile to the very Constitution that is supposed to keep them in check?
The answers to those questions grow in numbers by the day. Which means a simple yet ghastly truth stands before us: We’re terrorizing ourselves.