Today has been an interesting one. I learned a pretty cool lesson. I was in the tutoring center talking with friends, yeah, the real ones as opposed to the ones you have to be nice to, and we got on a topic about Palestine and Israel. The best/worst part: the conversation consisted of a native German Lutheran, a Sicilian Catholic, a Moroccan Muslim, and me. I will admit that I feel an extremely close connection to Israel, but felt pretty good about holding a non-theological conversation. After a bit, things got heated and I walked away after historical debates turned into personal attacks on Jews. Even after asking for a change of subject, no one respected my request. I was steamed, so mad I had tears streaming and hands quaking. How could people use such fallacies? Be so generalized? So disrespectful? I felt like I was reliving the crusades; but instead, I was the one being impaled.
Now here’s the best part. I noticed Jenna, in her pretty pastel purple hijad listening across the room. I remember when she ran into the Stop the Hate office crying after her classmates accused her of being a terrorist. She came right up to me, in front of God and everyone, and hugged me… HARD. She told me she loved me and that anyone who used such generalizations was Neanderthal. Then she looked at the Muslim who heated our conversation and walked with me, a Lutheran, a Catholic, and a Buddhist, to the bakery; two more Muslim girls sporting white silky hijads followed. We giggled down the hallway, Jenna wiped a tear off my cheek, and we ate asiago bread while trading tips on ways to wear hijads and scarves.
Jenna said that both Israel and Palestine have made some pretty stupid mistakes, but that’s the fault of political leaders, not the middle class religious person. I agree. So, sitting in the sun in front of The Lair, we weren’t three Muslims, a Lutheran, a Messianic Christian, a Zen Buddhist and a Catholic; we were silly girls munchin’ on asiago bread.
The moral of the story: Even Wiccans, Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, and Mormons can be pretty awesome people. They might even surprise you; when you least expect it, they might stand up for YOUR faith even if they don’t agree with it.