Boston and Kansas City: A Call for a Secular Humanist Response

The chairman of the Islamic Cordoba Initiative Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf wrote a column for the Huffington Post concerning American’s response to Muslims after the Boston Marathon bombing last year and on the one-year anniversary.

Marathon Bombing Anniversary Demands Interfaith Response

In this well written commentary, Rauf wrote “as this anniversary approaches, that we redouble our efforts to build bridges among the faiths to counter Islamophobia and to explain that true Muslims who submit to the will of God find violence abhorrent and attacks on innocents a violation of their faith.”

In this the imam is right. I have no argument concerning the nature of his position. It is the title of the column with which I have a problem. You see, Imam Rauf seems to neglect the close to 10-percent of Americans who are a-theistic. Almost 20-percent if you include those who claim no religious affiliation, agnostics, free thinkers, skeptics and others.

A better title for this column and for the sentiments of the imam, ministers and rabbis who claim unity in the sorrow we all feel for the three that died and over 260 injured should have left religion out of the “demand.” Those of us who do not believe in God or gods or the supernatural also feel the sorrow and hurt, we too are angered at the unjustified Islamophobia at the intolerance of those who claim religious righteousness.

No, a better title should have been “Marathon Bombing Anniversary Demands a Humanist Response.”

For whatever reason, too many religious organizations believe that Humanists, specifically secular humanist have no sense of right and wrong, have no moral compass on which to guide their personal lives. Both of these sentiments are wrong.

The same holds true with the three murders in Overland Park, Kan. over this last weekend. These murders were committed by a man who believes that his god was murdered by Jews and that the faith somehow is the cause of all evil on the planet. The misunderstanding that Jewish is a race as well as a religion makes matters worse. One must remember that the Ku Klux Klan commits its violence against minorities in the name of their version of a Christian god as the brothers Tsarnaev believed in their Muslim god.

Overland Park is also asking for an interfaith healing. Again, the secular community is somehow left out of the mourning process, yet we are saddened and angered by the despicable act of violence as any other citizen.

The demand must not be for an interfaith response but for a humanist response, one that is all inclusive. 


About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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