I recently read a bumper sticker that has been rattling around in my brain since. It read, “I learned everything I need to know about Islam on September 11th.” The close-minded xenophobia of this bumper sticker disgusts me. I watched Neil Patrick Harris kiss his partner as he won an award the other day and rejoiced in how diverse and accepting our nation is. And then I saw this sticker and I was sickened by it. How can you say that you learned everything you need to know about a religion with over a billion followers from one small group of people? How can you say you learned everything you need to know about a centuries old religion from one event less than a decade ago?
The Catholic Crusades were a series of events that spanned over 200 years. The death total is unfathomable. Did you learn all you need to know about Catholicism from the Crusades?
The Westboro Baptist Church protests funerals of homosexuals, soldiers and politicians all over the country in the name of the Bible. Did you learn everything you need to know about Baptists from that one church?
Did you learn everything you need to know about Germans from the Nazis?
The Qur’an is not the only religious text to be used to justify murder. The times the Bible has been used to justify horror would be impossible to count. The man who killed John Lennon blamed J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye”. Any text can be twisted and used to justify murder with the correct interpretation. That doesn’t mean that was the original intent of the author. And it doesn’t mean everyone who reads that text will take the same interpretation away from it.
“I learned everything I need to know about you from your bumper stickers”