Thomas Friedman favors sharing a Kumbaya moment with people who would never sit in such a circle of friendship:
“There are several reasons why I don’t object to a mosque being built near the World Trade Center site, but the key reason is my affection for Broadway show tunes.
Let me explain. A couple weeks ago, President Obama and his wife held “A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House,” a concert in the East Room by some of Broadway’s biggest names, singing some of Broadway’s most famous hits. Because my wife is on the board of the public TV station that organized the evening, WETA, I got to attend, but all I could think of was: I wish the whole country were here.
It wasn’t just the great performances of Audra McDonald, Nathan Lane, Idina Menzel, Elaine Stritch, Karen Olivo, Tonya Pinkins, Brian d’Arcy James, Marvin Hamlisch and Chad Kimball, or the spirited gyrations of the students from the Joy of Motion Dance Center and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts performing “You Can’t Stop the Beat” — it was the whole big, rich stew. African-American singers and Hispanic-American dancers belting out the words of Jewish and Irish immigrant composers, accompanied by white musicians whose great-great-grandparents came over on the Mayflower for all I know — all performing for America’s first black president whose middle name is Hussein.
Feeling the pulsating energy of this performance was such a vivid reminder of America’s most important competitive advantage: the sheer creative energy that comes when you mix all our diverse people and cultures together.”
Broadway and the Mosque by Thomas L. Friedman – NY Times, August 3, 2010
Friedman, and all the supporters of building a giant Mosque next to Ground Zero, hold out their hands in Kumbaya invitation to people who would cut off those hands in a second were they outstretched in Iran or Saudi Arabia. They ignore the fact that the name, Cordoba honors one that was built over a church, a symbol of Islamic ascendancy. No matter, Kumbaya!
Find one of Friedman’s broadway shows in Mecca? Never! No matter, Kumbaya!
Religious tolerance demands that we tolerate even those who will never tolerate our beliefs. Kumbaya!
Freedom of expression demands we help those who wage Jihad against that very freedom of expression. Kumbaya!
“It shall be that when God, your Lord, brings you to the land to which you come, to possess it, then you shall deliver the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. Are they not on the other side of the Jordan, far from Gilgal, near the Plains of Moreh? (Deuteronomy 11:29-30)
If ever there was a moment ripe for Kumbaya it was as the entire nation gathered to accept mutual responsibility, but there was no Kumbaya circle of love. Half the nation stood on one mountain and the other half stood far away on the facing mountain. They did not form a circle. They stood apart even as they joined in a covenant.
Unity does not demand that we all hold hands in a circle of love, but that we can find unity even when we face each other down, disagreeing over fundamentals. They joined in a covenant as they all focused on one point, the Kohanim and Leviim in between the two mountains, with the Ark. They were unified as long as they shared the same focal point. They didn’t need to hold hands, but to lock eyes on the values they shared.
The people who stood apart were able to form a lasting covenant of mutual responsibility. The people who sit in Kumbaya circles without sharing any values, usually end up sitting alone, if not dead, the victims of their Kumbaya.
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