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ChapelHillVictimsLook at these three faces. The faces of three beautiful people, the faces of three human beings, the faces of three children of God.  They happen to belong to Deah Barakat, 23, Barakat’s wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Yusor’s sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19.  These three people were murdered in cold blood, apparently over a parking dispute?

Yeah a parking dispute. Apparently they were having an issue with a neighbor over parking, and the neighbor decided to take matters into his own hands and solve the dispute by shooting all three of them in the head.

Really, I’m supposed to buy that?

I’m not saying that there wasn’t a “parking dispute.”  I’m not saying that it didn’t have anything to do with what has happened…but really?

The alleged killer, one mister Craig Hicks has apparently billed himself as a champion of rational thought, anti-theism, and atheism.  His Facebook page chides religious people for their “baseless superstitions” that keep killing people. He also apparently believes that atheism is the cure for everything that ails the Middle East.

Interesting.

So I’m supposed to believe that a man who bills himself as a thinker and mister rational executes three people over a parking dispute?  Give me a break.  Apparently he wasn’t as rational as he would have us believe.

More likely you have a guy who gets gradually more pissed off about whatever dispute is happening.  Worse yet, the dispute is with some of “them.”  Not just any them, mind you, but you know, the ones that wear those head scarves.  Anger turns to rage, and what is the most American way to deal with rage, especially against someone that you already feel is inferior?  Why, with a gun of course!

Westerners get murdered in cold blood by a Muslim and we immediately scream “TERRORISM.” Muslims get murdered in cold blood by a westerner and we pull out all the stops to try to make sure we can label the act as anything but terrorism.  When it’s some supposedly rational white guy that does the killing we have to come up with excuses, because he looks like one of “us” and “we” don’t do terrorism.  We’ve seen the same attitude in recent days since the President brought up the Crusades.  The news and social media have been full of white Christians talking about how the Crusades were SO DIFFERENT than what’s going on right now.

Again I have to ask….REALLY?

It’s interesting how we treat things, isn’t it?  Where are the calls from the national media for atheists to come out and speak against a heinous crime allegedly committed by one of their own?  I don’t think we need that.  I know that most atheists, like most religious people are good folks who wouldn’t think of harming another person.  I just wonder if we can keep this in mind next time we scream at the Muslim community to denounce a particular act.

It’s never fun to be hoisted on the same petard that you use to damage others, is it?

In the end it all comes down to…

#BlackLivesMatter

#MuslimLivesMatter

#AllLivesMatter

How might you feel if you were a Muslim living in an America fueled by this climate? Maybe scared to death?  I wouldn’t blame you. I pray to God that we as a country are better than this.

Something good has to start coming out of this.  Maybe that “something good” is the true recognition that hate and violence are not exclusive to any race, religion, or group.

ChapelHillVigilMaybe “something good” looks like this, thousands of people mourning the loss of these three beautiful people.

What do I see when I see those three faces?  I see tragedy. I see loss. I also see the capacity for people to come together and try to work for peace and reconciliation brought on by the worst circumstances.

Most of all, tonight my thoughts and prayers are with the family of these individuals that died.  Their grief and pain must be beyond comprehension.  I pray that they find comfort and strength in their faith, and in the community around them.

I pray for all of us, that just maybe someday the violence comes to an end.

Three faces.  Three beautiful, holy faces.

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