I am just going to say it. I hate religion.
I hate the “have to” rules that divide instead of draw close. That promote self instead of love. That set works up at the standard instead of the Savior. That cause us to devalue other lives instead of honoring and respecting them.
It was religion that hijacked two planes on 9/11/01.
It was religion that placed value only on the message and no value on all the lives on board.
It was religion that said “death to the infidels” and took precious lives without remorse.
It was religion that said death would reap worthy rewards because it took “unworthy” people with it.
It was religion that gave care only for the cause and not for the method – of taking hostages.
It was religion that aimed at three occupied buildings because they were occupied.
It was religion that tore families apart without a chance for goodbye.
It was religion that buried peace and contentment into piles of dust and debris.
It was religion that decided the fate of the masses without their consent.
It was religion that said violence is the only way to spread your message.
It was religion that wanted to spark fear and terror in the hearts of man.
It was religion that brought a nation to its knees, though only temporarily.
Because religion thinks only of self.
It doesn’t consider anyone else’s feelings, family, faith, or future.
It doesn’t care about anyone else’s history, health, or hopes.
It doesn’t try for repentance, reconciliation, or redemption.
It doesn’t concern itself with anyone else’s goodness, grace, or giftedness.
It breeds discontentment, disagreements, and disharmony.
It fosters unforgiveness, hostility, and rage.
And it never focus on love.
Love. The message of Jesus. The new standard of Jesus. The new hope of Jesus.
Matthew 22:37-40 – 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Love doesn’t take hostages.
Love doesn’t destroy lives.
Love doesn’t promote violence.
Love doesn’t foster division.
Love doesn’t act self-important.
Love accepts (people where they are and for who they are).
And there was no love in action that September morning.
Because everything was done for self-promotion and self-righteousness.
But despite the terrorists, there was God.
With every person on the planes.
With every person in the buildings.
With every person who did not make it out.
With every responder who sacrificed his/her life.
With every survivor who lives with the memories.
With every American who watched the news broadcasts.
With every heart around the world that grieved.
God was there.
And God is still here with us.
Standing on the doorstep of our nation, hoping we’ll let Him back in.
Hoping we’ll acknowledge His existence again.
Hoping we’ll come to our senses and accept His love.
Hoping we’ll stop turning our backs on Him.
Because we, as a nation, have taken to denying Him as real or present.
But our fickle faith never negates the simple fact that He is real. 2 Timothy 2:13 – If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
God didn’t abandon us on 9/11/01.
God didn’t turn His back on us on 9/11/01.
God didn’t leave us to suffer alone on 9/11/01.
God was there, in the middle of the disaster that religion perpetrated.
God was there, in the center of the chaos that religion created.
God was there, in the heart of the tragedy that struck the world.
And God hasn’t changed in the last 15 years. He is still with us, waiting for us to stop looking at the dark edges of religion and step into the light of relationship with Him.
As we reflect back, let us not let religion win. Let us not let religion make any progress. Let us not let religion sway the hearts of man. Let us stand strong and declare loudly that God is in control.
Marie Fremin, 9/11 and 9/12/16