Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog


9/11: Why talk about Sept. 11 (2001) as Sept. 11 (2011) Approaches: A Liberal Religious Perspective

This reflection comes from an esteemed colleague in ministry who leads the First Parish of Worcester, Massachusetts.

The dominant narrative about 9/11,2001, is that the event proved the
existence of evil in the world, that there is an escalating conflict
between the West and some undetermined portion of Islam, and that we are
moving toward an apocalyptic catastrophe.  Fear and anger were
appropriate and that there is a whole historical analysis that
undergirds that emotional response -- that proves that fear and
anger are rational responses. 

There is a whole segment of this culture that accepts this narrative
as true. Not much we say will sway them. 

But there is a whole segment of the population that suspects this
narrative as being exaggerated and manipulative.  They certainly see
it as being politicized, and the policy consequences have been
disastrous. 

But is it spiritually correct?  Because what can seem politically
mistaken can be right in a larger spiritual context.  Sometimes the
life of the spirit calls a nation and a people to a harder and more
difficult path.  So some think, and 9/11/01 is an uncomfortable
day to be avoided.  They don't like the meaning that is attached to
it, but they have not heard any other meaning, and so they
have no confidence that it can be understood in any other way. 

It is to those people that we must speak on 9/11. 
 The Liberal Religious view, which is so rarely heard in the public square, sees
9/11, 2001 as one retrograde step in what is otherwise a process by
which the religions of the world are accommodating themselves to each
other, recognizing in each other the same universal human religious
impulses.  We see the future not as a clash of civilizations, not as an
armageddon, not as a final battle for God.  We see a future of peace,
cooperation and diversity.  We see that future coming into being right
 now and one way is that all across the country, interfaith coalitions
including Muslims, Christians and Jews are stronger now than on 9/10,
2001. 

The dominant narrative of 9/11, 2001 makes it a holiday of
anti-Universalism. We, whose whole theology of History points toward
Universalism, must speak on that day, to testify to our faith
in a different and better future. 

Thomas Schade
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