Tonight I received a very poignant email from Penny Alfonso, a friend, a follower of this blog and a reader of my books. With her permission, I’m publishing her letter here in its entirety:
Today I attended a very sad funeral of a family member. The lady was 86 years old, mother of 9, grandmother of 19 and great-grandmother of 8. She had been failing for a while, so her death was not unexpected, but the grieving was profound. It was a Catholic service. As I saw and participated in all of the love, sorrow, sharing of experiences, and general coming together of all who attended, and as the priest talked of Jesus’ love, I was overwhelmingly aware of the vast difference between a faith of love and grace, and the screamings and declarations of hatred that are often seen in videos taken inside Mosques, as the practitioners of that so-called “faith” exhort the attendees to murder, slaughter, torture, and perpetuate hatred in every aspect of life. I was not raised with much religious teaching or observance, so I am not at all qualified to speak on behalf of any religion. But it really dawned on me that you don’t have to be religious to be able to see and understand the difference — that one is truly a religious faith, and the other is a cult of hatred.
I don’t think my random thoughts are particularly prescient or brilliant. I just wonder that no one ever seems to talk about the obvious differences.