I believe we are all more alike than we are different.
I grew up with a father who was a Chaplain in the Army and a mom who
taught school everywhere we lived. I thought nothing of going to school
with people of different races and with different beliefs. They were
welcome in my home, as well. My grandmother, on the other hand, used
the N-word to refer to blacks. I had conversations with her about the
inherent characteristics of race, and her ideas were beyond
stereotypical. I simply could not fathom her position and so our
conversations turned to other things we had in common, dropping any
references to race. From her I saw the reality of prejudice while
living in a home of acceptance.
Because my dad might be the only Chaplain at the post, he was
responsible for ministering to people of any faith. I played the organ
for the Catholic services and attended many services of other religions.
But since my dad was ordained by the Southern Baptist Convention, we
also attended a Southern Baptist church if one was available. I saw
both the homogeneous nature of faith as well as the fractional
divisiveness. I do not currently ally myself with any organized
religion. I prefer to look at faith itself as a religion, and,
therefore, an idea that many of us have in common.
My family and I have lived in New York City, Anchorage, Alaska and
Gaeta, Italy. I have traveled throughout Europe, Greece, North and
Central America, Japan and Israel. Wherever we were, we took advantage
of discovering the local culture and mingling with the people, learning
about religion and customs of other peoples. Because my family embraced
difference, I find myself regarding all races and religions as simply
other views of the same world.
Since 9/11 and with all the discussion of immigration, I have resisted
the inclination to group people together. I want to see each person as
an individual but with the same needs that I have: a safe place to live,
enough food and clean water, and access to education. I try to remember
that these desires transcend political and religious ideals, and I
believe they can be accomplished because we are more alike than we are
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