I've heard or read a number of strong opinions in the wake of the attack on our country about religion being the culprit.  Well, I couldn't let this one go by without putting in my two cents worth.

I personally don't think these terrorist attacks had anything to do with religion.  From all I've heard and read over the years, the Islamic faith doesn't condone these acts.  I believe this is about politics.  Bin Laden doesn't like us because we have helped Israel, and they absolutely hate Israel.  Also, we are friends with the very country he had to leave, Saudi Arabia, and he doesn't like that.  He wants us out of the Middle East, as well as Israel.  He just uses Allah as a tool to get the people to join forces with him as a spiritual leader, and some of them have said they do whatever their religious leaders tell them to.  Hopefully, they will learn to think more for themselves and fight against men like Bin Laden from getting so much power.
What I see is that people use God as a means to add power and authority to what they want to do.  After all, if God said it, how can you dispute it.  The one good thing about America, is that we are free to dispute anything we hear no matter who says it or who they say their authority comes from.  I think most of what we see today done in the name of religion isn't really about religion at all.  It's about control.  Anyone who read the Bible or the Koran or the Torah can see that this isn't what religion is about.  Even Israel was given strict instructions on how they were to treat strangers in their land in the Bible.  And Christ, himself, demonstrated how other religious people, rulers, etc., were to be treated.  Regarding taxes, he told his disciples to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.  About the Romans who would force the Jews to do slave work for them, he said, if he compels you to go a mile with him, go two...if he demands your coat, give him your cloak also.  He said to bless them.  He said to forgive them, because after all they weren't in a close relationship and there was no way to work out differences between them.  He said for slaves to obey their masters as unto the Lord.  He treated the Samaritans with kindness.  He treated the Centurions with kindness and respect.  In fact, the only ones he was hard on were the spiritual leaders of the day because he knew their hearts and called them vipers and hypocrites.  

He called for us to be peacemakers, servants, and on and on.  Those that are his followers, are called to live as he lived.  I question the validity of the Christian status of  those that don't live as he lived and only spread hate and dissention even in the churches.  We are to fight evil in our own hearts and lives, and when we can, help others become aware of evil.  But our fight is not supposed to be with others.  When Christ rescued the woman caught in adultery, he didn't tell her she was a wicked woman.  He didn't have to...I'm sure she felt dirty and wicked all on her own.  He offered her hope.  He let her know in just a few moments that she was no worse than anyone there accusing her, as well as letting the accusers know.  He brought Christianity down to an individual.  It didn't matter who or what they were.  It didn't matter that they were born a Jew.  He said he could turn a rock into a Jew.  They were all to take responsibility for their own lives and choices in life.  Here he was God, yet he didn't force anything on anyone.  He offered them and us the gift of life, the way to have a more fulfilling life while here, as well as eternal life.  But he never, ever tried to force anyone to change, neither did he ever try to change those in rule over Israel at the time, the Romans.  In fact, he says to pray for those in leadership of our countries. 

The other thing that struck me was that he walked with and taught the disciples for three years.  They weren't perfect. They were always caught in trying to do things that Christ wasn't interested in, and he was coming in behind them fixing their mistakes.  When Peter chopped off the Roman's ear, Christ healed the man and told Peter to put away his sword.  This wasn't how the battle was going to be won.  When some of them thought they shouldn't have to pay taxes, he provided the money to pay them, showing them that this isn't what he was about.  We are all human and all make mistakes.  Some of us learn from those mistakes, though it may take a long time, and some of us don't.  We continue to try to work it all out on our own.  This country presents some problems people in other countries don't face.  We can vote to have laws made or changed.  We can speak our opinions openly.  Unfortunately many would like to shut the Christian up, just as they want to shut up anyone who doesn't agree with what they believe.  But Christians have just as much right in our country to voice their concerns, opinions, beliefs, try to change or invoke laws as do other groups, run for office etc.  That is our responsibility just as it is the responsibility of any other person living in this country.  Some people are more radical and more vocal than others.  But it doesn't give us the right to try to shut them up, as much as I'd like to sometimes.  The only way our country can stay free, is to make sure everyone maintains their rights to express their beliefs, to vote accordingly, to lobby or whatever other groups do. 
Because we live in a free country that is supposed to be for the people, by the people, when we see things going on that aren't right, it is our responsibility to speak out and try to change it.  Of course, the majority is going to win, which is how it should be.  That is our protection.  In our country, white supremeist can voice their opinions, although there things now under the hate crime rules that may limit what they can actually say, which I'm not so sure I agree with...but that is another issue.  Gays can express their views, abortionists, liberals, conservatives, feminists activists, atheists, etc.  When we begin restricting the beliefs and freedoms of one group, we all end up losing.  Some groups of course take advantage of the constitution to promote things harmful to society like pornography, child porno, etc, which I honestly don't believe they have real grounds for that and there is enough proof for me that it is indeed harmful and promotes crime.  But it seems easier for our society to run down the vocal Christian and try to legally shut him up than to run down groups that have caused more crime against women and children.  And people have to realize that communication is a two-way thing.  I've too often seen people take statements totally out of context and use them to promote their own agenda.  If we have an agenda, it can be real easy to read into what is said by someone we might consider an enemy.   And then there are others who don't really think about how their words may be perceived, or they can spout off words without really thinking it through and making sure that is a valid statement backed up by the foundations of their beliefs.  I know what I want to say, not sure if that is what is coming out.  The main thing is that we all have those rights in our country and no one should be trying to stop anyone's rights out of fear or any other motive.
Anyway, that is some of my take on the last couple of weeks.  We can certainly see here the dangers of applying one man's beliefs and actions to everyone who comes from the same background.  Bin Laden is supposedly an Islam.  I would venture to say that most Islam followers wouldn't agree that he is representative of their beliefs.  And I think over the last couple of weeks, the Christians in our country have shown their spirit in action.  There may be a few religious groups that alienate themselves from other groups, but that is their choice.  We've seen Christians in our country stand beside Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Armenians.  We've seen them bow their heads in prayer as each of these faiths have prayed for our country and world.  The Christians have helped raise funds, helped do the work needed in New York.  They've opened their churches to help and comfort, they've had prayer all over the states all hours of the day and night.  They've been supportive of those who are Muslims in our country as well as other countries.  

It has been Christians throughout our history that have always gone into other countries with help, sending doctors and nurses, medical supplies, teachers, food, etc.  And people who couldn't go have donated funds, materials, etc., to help educate the people and help them learn how to grow different foods, etc.  And yes, they have also shared Christ with these people because they know the difference Christ has made in their own lives.  But they have still given of themselves, many dying as a result, to help people all over have a better life.  And they haven't stopped just because people haven't accepted their religion.  Their acts of kindness and love have come without strings.  They have given willingly and unconditionally.  And I see those same Christians reaching out to help others in our country now.  What we are seeing on TV that Americans are doing is what Christianity is all about, and the Christians are participating and often leading in helping our country to heal.  These are the ones that need to be help up as examples of Christians, not the few who seem to be accepted as our spokesmen.  They are only spokesmen for themselves, as Bin Laden is only a spokesman for himself.