Editorial: Attack came from intolerance and racismPublished 8:55am Thursday, August 9, 2012
This is the 21st century. It’s hard to imagine that in the modern day in these United States — with all the freedoms we have — anyone feels the need to be violent when it comes to religion.
Freedom of religion allows people to worship their God in the manner and beliefs they wish. Freedom of expression allows people to agree or disagree with views on religion. You would think that this would be enough.
Sadly, it was not enough for one extreme hater. Wade M. Page, 40, killed six and wounded three others Sunday when he opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis. Page then shot and killed himself.
The motive was not clear, but Page was many things: a loner, a failed Army soldier, a fired factory worker, a fired truck driver, a fired parts-counter guy, a member of two skinhead rock bands and the wearer of a racist tattoo. Reports say he called non-whites “dirt people.”
It might be easy to conclude that such violence stems from the vitriolic and antagonistic political environment the United States finds itself in, and during a lagging economic recession, no less. But the truth is Wade and the hate groups that coddle intolerant thinking like his deserve the blame.
Sure, they have a right to disapprove of a religion or even the ethnicity of the people who practice it. But that doesn’t make their intolerance and racist views acceptable in the eyes of most.
Nothing — not even constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech — makes racism right, let alone racially motivated violence.
We hope and pray the Sikh community in neighboring Wisconsin finds the strength to recover even stronger from this horrendous act. We hope they know America indeed wants to be the melting pot it has dreamed of being for more than two centuries.