This post may be an eye-opener. It’s the first time I’ve opened up about the subject. I don’t want this to serve as a disclaimer of some sort but I guess it can. Just know, I am only living my legacy, being at peace with the man I am, and spewing out of my heart what I undoubtedly feel to be true. The Muslim Ban ignited the urge to write.
I hadn’t spoken much about race, religion, or politics for quite some time now. Not because these issues have not affected me, but because when I’m talking about these issues they usually come from a negative place. I didn’t want to feed into the hate, persecution, and discrimination that was being shared daily. I didn’t want to be just another person sharing a story of murder and racism, but not actually doing anything to help the cause. So I chose to spread positivity. I chose to spread optimism. I chose to spread good vibes only.
The question that is sometimes posed to people of our generation. Black men in particular. Is if you had to decide who you would naturally gravitate towards between two of the greatest men to ever walk this earth, who would it be? Martin or Malcolm?
I briefly pondered this question. Although I do believe that comparison is the thief of all joy. But for me, it would be Martin. Not taking anything away from either. But I’d naturally gravitate towards Martin’s peaceful, yet stern and highly effective stance against injustice and inequality in America. However, it’s ironic that the things Malcolm taught me helped me come to a realization that I felt extremely necessary to address today.
Why I Chose Spirituality Over Religion
Malcolm taught me the beauty of Islam as a world religion. After he made his holy pilgrimage to Mecca, he came back to America a new man. A man of love, not hate. A man of understanding, not bias. A man of Islam, not the Nation of Islam. A Muslim man.
I have a close friend, who I consider a brother. And a soon to be business partner. We speak every day, either through text or phone call. This brother is a Muslim. I watch him take pride in his faith and his origins daily. He shares with me the traditions, the commitment, and the dedication he has to his faith. I’ve seen him fast during Ramadan causing him severe fatigue, weight-loss, and depleted energy levels. But he remains faithful to his beliefs and committed to his culture. I know his religion truly makes him a better man.
Which brings me to my point. How do we ban such a beautiful culture from this land of democracy? How do we regulate a whole demographic of people based on what they believe? How can someone call themselves a Christian and show such fear, and discern for another religion of people?
I do not believe my Muslim brother is to burn in hell because he hadn’t accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
I do not believe that my sister, who is a lesbian is going to hell because of who she chooses to love.
I do not believe the beautiful and most peaceful people on earth over in Thailand and Asia are going to hell because they don’t believe in one God, but choose to follow the peaceful teachings of Buddha instead. Christians consider them atheist because of this.
I do not feel in my heart, (which is the only language of the universe) that these are truths. Therefore, I could not honestly call myself a Christian.
However, I do not have anything against Christianity. If Christianity is your chosen vessel to promote love and salvation, then peace be unto you.
If Islam is your chosen vessel to promote love and salvation, then peace be unto you.
Whether you’re Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, or Jew. If that faith is making you a better man or woman because of it, I love you.
So what do I consider myself? What faith am I practicing? Don’t put a label on it. I’m only a spiritual man living a human existence.
The God I believe in is already within me. I saw him working tremendously hard when the doctor showed me visuals of my heart through an ultrasound last week.
I believe God is in all people, regardless of faith, color, background, sex, and creed. I believe he is in everything from an ant to an elephant. He’s in the little black boy from Port Arthur, TX and also in the one from Somalia. He’s in the lesbian woman as well as the mother who loves her unconditionally nonetheless.
God is omnipotent, everlasting, all-knowing, and inclusive.
To Sum It Up
This is a journey I’ve been on for the past 10 years of my life and hadn’t ever discussed it with anyone but my wife. And my sister. It’s a journey that took me from Spirituality and Asian culture to black history. To why all of my grandparents were baptist. And why most blacks are baptist. (after de-segregation, the baptist church was the only church that allowed blacks inside) Then it eventually took me to the New Thought movement. Which treats every religion equally and believes there is more than one path to God. Not just one. If these paths are promoting love, positivity, growth, forgiveness, compassion, and respect for thy fellow man. They are all bettering this world and universe and are all accepted in the “eyes of God”.
The God I believe in does not see color, race, religion, sexuality, sin, evil or none of the labels we place on things of this world. Because God is love. God is bigger than all of it.
With the latest Muslim Ban, I felt it extremely necessary to address this. With the divisiveness that religion creates, let’s move forward and allow it to strengthen us. Let’s take the God in every one of us and focus that it into productivity. Let’s no longer allow it to separate us but instead unify us.
Let’s no longer live in fear of each other. But live in love with each other. Even if I’m killed tomorrow…no matter by who. Let this letter be proof that I loved his culture and had a brother that looked just like him. And I still love him.