Today marks a special day for all Americans, the 9th anniversary of 9.11.
This year, this special day of reflection has been marked by toxic amount of hate and anger. It seems to have started with the Islamic mosque that’s planned to be built near Ground Zero in New York followed by the planned announcement then cancellation of a misguided Florida pastor who – along with his congregation – was planning to burn the Quran.
Where’s the leadership, compassion, common sense and class among Americans?
I can recall 9.12 and the feeling of concern we Americans had for the general health and welfare of others and how we came together as a family under one color of red, white and blue and the tolerance the majority of us paid to Muslim Americans. And, then in the days and weeks that unfolded thereafter the amazing stories of heroism, volunteerism and love made me so proud to be an American and a proud consumer of BRAND USA.
Today, the American Christian pastors and followers who are spewing anger and hate toward Muslims are not true Christians and they are not following the maxims of Brand Jesus. They may think they are, but they are not.
Is there any place in the Bible that shows Jesus hating anyone?
Jesus was tolerant, kind, understanding, welcoming and loving. He broke bread with tax collectors, prostitutes, the poor and more. The only thing he condemned was the devil. And, when confronted with anger and violence – even his own brutal death – he said “turn the other cheek,” “those that live by the sword die by the sword,” and “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Building a religious denomination is no different than building any brand. If you want to attract someone to your brand, you’ll never be as successful as you could be by putting down your competitor. To be successful, you need to sell yourself. No matter how unfair, dishonest or terrible your competitors are you should never go there. Sell the positives of your brand and work to eliminate the negatives. And, I’m sure you’ll agree that there are a ton of negatives in all religions – both Christianity and Muslim alike – that could/should be fixed.
Full disclosure – I am a Christian (and American) and certainly far from sainthood, but the so called “Christianity” I see being preached and practiced disgusts and saddens me.
And, the Americans who are spewing hate and anger toward Muslims, are they the kinds of Americans that make up the kind of Brand USA we aspire to be and our ancestors fought to be?
It’s crazy to imagine American Christians burning books – the Quran of all things. Book burning is actually against Constitution, nothing good has ever come of it and simply feeds into Islamic beliefs that American’s are against Islam. So utterly stupid and disgusting.
My Brand America is so much better than what I’ve been seeing. And hey, as a patriotic person, I certainly detest seeing the American flag being burned, but I respect and honor the freedom of someone who wants to do it.
Certainly, we’ve made our share of mistakes as a country in treating others unkindly (i.e. Native Americans), but our batting average of being a religiously tolerant land of freedom and a beacon of hope that welcomes everyone, is still pretty high. we’re far from perfect and far better than most countries but right now, we’re in a bad slump.
Going forward as Brand USA, Brand Christianity, Brand You, Brand Whatever, if you want to be successful, I assure you that you’ll greatly increase your odds of success if you follow the “9.12” example of:
- being a hero to others and a Servant Leader
- sacrifice your short term goals for the goals of the greater good
- lending a helping hand and being kind, considerate
- freely give of yourself and be a caring person
- looking for the light in yourself and others
- being positive and hopeful and lift others up
- being a good listener and open to other points of view
- being tolerant and understanding
- being nice and loving
These are the attributes of the faith I want to practice, the country I want to live in, the life I want to lead, the business I want to run. How about you?
Today, we pay tribute and honor to the heroes who gave everything of themselves nine years ago on 9.11 and the days beyond and those who lost their lives and their families.
Today should never be a day of hatred, but a day of personal reflection on our heroes and how we can all be heroes of peace and love and leave the world a better place for generations to come.