September 21, 2017

The Champ and The Chump

Two avowedly devout Muslim men have died over the last two weeks.

One was the Heavyweight Champion of the World.   Because of his faith, Muhammad Ali, nee “Cassius Clay”, risked his fame and his fortune, and, on April 28, 1967, claiming “conscientious objector” status, he refused induction into the Army and thereby relinquished his boxing title and subjected himself to a criminal prosecution.     Four years later, with the interim concession by the Justice Department that Ali’s religious claims were “sincere,” the Supreme Court reversed his criminal conviction.   The Champ confined his violence to the boxing ring where, on October 30, 1974, he beat George Foreman in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” and reclaimed his title.

champ

The other, Omar Mateen, is nothing but a murderer.   A mass murderer of innocent people.   A man who, reportedly, laughed with glee while he pledged allegiance to the “Islamic State” and systematically slaughtered dozens of innocent people.

The political candidates have lost no time jumping into the fray.   Hillary wants to renew the ban on assault weapons; The Donald wants to ban any more Muslims from entering the country.   According to a CNN report, nearly one third of the mass shootings in the world occur on US soil. It is a matter of intense national interest and attention. (Is this what the Framers intended when they wrote the Second Amendment?)

It is insane.   Totally insane!   And a perversion of anything remotely claiming to be “religion.”

In the opening scene of The Book of Mormon, the young LDS Elders are musing about their first missionary assignments.   “Orlando,” Elder Price sings, “I love you, Orlando. Sea World and Disney and Putt-Putt Golfing.”   I know that is where Heavenly Father will send me. Orlando, “my favorite place” is, after all, the home of the Magic Kingdom, where everyone has fun.

Sadly, Orlando has now become synonymous with tragedy.   Senseless, tragedy that has, without question, been motivated in part by “Radical Islamic Jihadism.”   To defeat it, we must be willing to say the words out loud!

Perhaps in time, some words of wisdom will come my way.   Perhaps, with prayer, I will tune in to Lin-Manuel’s sonnet, and think only of “love, Love, LOVE.”   Today, however, there is only sorrow.   Immense sorrow.     Hate has, for the moment, trumped Love.

– CAPT. Andy Vickery

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