U.S. takes the role as arbiter

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Amid the protesting that has ensued in Afghanistan since the burning of Korans by U.S. forces, it seems that the reasons behind the chaos have been masked by the deaths of both Americans and Afghans. And while the tragedies should not be overlooked, neither should what is at the heart of the matter.

The issue is not just about the destruction of Muslim holy books. It’s about the lack of respect for another culture. Though some may argue that there have been Bible-burning campaigns in the Middle East, it does not justify the burning of Muslim sacred texts.

It’s probably safe to say that if someone from another country came into a predominately Christian or Jewish community in the U.S. and set fire to Bibles or Torahs, it would be a big deal. It would be viewed as an attack on the precious ideals that many of our citizens hold.

While Americans are overseas fighting for just causes, what needs to be remembered is that they are in someone else’s home, and whether they agree with Afghan beliefs or not, it is not our job as a nation to impose American culture or religion upon them or to disrespect their own religion and culture.

As a country founded on principles that protect against religious persecution,  and as a melting pot for people of all cultures, I think most Americans would consider themselves tolerant of other beliefs.

This tolerance is more important now than ever. With so many American troops in foreign countries, the world is not only watching us but living among us.

Whether we like it or not, what the rest of the world thinks about the United States matters.

The countries that we are so intricately entwined with these days have a lot of power over decisions that the American government makes. Those relationships are vital, especially with U.S. soldiers in those very places.

Wars have been fought over religious differences for years, and now is not the time to stir up more controversy. Now is not the time for this country to be seen as a bully.

If for no other reason than the safety of those troops, the world needs to know that even if we disagree with its beliefs, we still respect them.

If American forces are overseas fighting for peace on a large scale, then they need to implement it on a small scale.

Really, it all comes down to respect, and as a global presence, the U.S. should set an example.


Author: JC Jones

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