Today I am praying for my Muslim friends and extended family. Because I know they are afraid.
We don't have any official confirmation yet whether or not the two brothers who Boston Marathon bombers are Muslim. There are many reports, though, and already anti-Muslim statements are being made.
It doesn't matter that the youngest son reportedly drank and smoked pot, hardly the signs of an observant Muslim and certainly not the mark of a radicalized Islamic terrorist. It doesn't matter that their uncle is standing on his lawn having to proclaim his love of this country because no one believes him. It doesn't matter that a cousin is an Army soldier. Some people have already decided that these actions are related to Islam.
And here's the difference between being Christian and any other faith in this country. Had the bombers been Christian, I wouldn't be afraid to go out tomorrow.
Had a devout Christian committed these acts, I could still walk down the streets of Boston without fear of retribution. But for non-Christian faiths, the sins of one member, no matter how devout or not, cause the whole group to fear revenge.
Some Christians in this country love to talk about how they are being persecuted for their faith. They have no clue how easy we Christians have it. We have the luxury of not being blamed as a whole for what someone who happens to be Christian does, regardless of whether or not they are doing it for faith reasons.
It was not so long ago in this country that Jewish and Catholic people of faith were attacked as a community for the crimes of an isolated individual. It was wrong then, and it's wrong now that it is happening to other groups.
For those of us who truly believe Jesus' words, we have to live into the belief that "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
As Christians our faith calls us to be the most vocal voices against hatred, against vengeance and against injustice. Jesus was pretty clear that was what he expected of us. This is not optional.
In this time of knee-jerk cable news-fueled misinformation, stand up as a voice for truth, a voice for understanding, and a voice for reason. Stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters (as well as those who just "look Muslim") and all who are blamed for the actions of the few.
Because God knows we Christians wouldn't want to be judged by the actions of our own extremists.
Follow Rev. Emily C. Heath on Twitter: www.twitter.com/calledoutrev