Monday, December 13, 2010

Turbans On The Hill - Assumptions As Bullying

A peaceful group of local muslim believers in Sidney, New York recently faced bullying at the hands of their local Board of Supervisors for the town of Sidney, New York over the right to bury their dearly departed. The muslim group did all of their paperwork and obtained the proper burial permits, yet, the Sidney Board of Supervisors initiated action against the group saying "You can't just bury grandma on a hill".

Residents of Sidney, New York who rallied from all walks of life took up the cause of this group even though some of them were not familiar with muslim practices out of their belief that the group was being bullied by the local government, and they were right.

Yahoo News has the story

Although the Board Of Supervisors quickly backed off of their aggressive stance, the people of America and hopefully, the people of the world around us have learned a great lesson: bullying can happen when we make false assumptions about others out of fear rather than solid knowledge.

Assumptions become bullying when we react because someone or something that a person does, says, or believes is different than what we commonly hold close to us...whatever that value might be. Sure, we can be offended at someone because of their affiliation with another person or group of people, but why? Hasn't every person or group of people at some time done something wrong? If we use that logic and decide to evaluate ourselves, we will see what hypocrites we are because if we hold to those types of false logics, then we would have to disown all of our friends, all of our families, and all of our fellow citizens of the world because everyone and every group of people have some sort of horrible pasts.

When we make assumptions without knowing all of the intimate details instead of what we know for sure, we propagate paranoia without any real need to do it. It is a well known fact that we need to take the plank out of our own eye before trying to help someone else take the speck out of their eye.

A well known writer reminded all of us recently that we do not have to accept the gift of abuse. This is an old Buddhist proverb that asks the proper question of: If someone is giving you a gift and you refuse to take that gift, who is the rightful owner? Bullying  is a situation that requires us to do one of two things: personalize the gift and make it ours, or decline to accept and make it the problem of the gift giver.

In the end, while we may not all get along all of the time, we CAN accept each other for who we are, what makes us the person we are, and live in the peace that we can support each other because the next person that someone in some position of social, political, or other power picks on could be YOU! It could be your Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, Cousin, Aunt, Uncle, Grandparent, Girlfriend, Boyfriend, Husband, Wife, Child, etc.

We do not have the right, nor do we have the privilege to denounce what someone decides is right for them. We cannot even attempt to take that power from a person, for if we do, where does it end? Where would we draw the line? What dangerous territory we would find ourselves in!

A person can have an opinion, but watch where you point that thing because it is just solely an opinion! Opinions and facts get separated from each other for good reason. One of those reasons is to prevent bullying! To kick off this week and to help make for a great Christmas, this publication would like to encourage our readers to go visit different places of faith and different parts of your local community in order to see for yourself the very close bonds that acceptance of each other at the human level can create!

Visit a Muslim mosque, visit a Buddhist place of faith, visit with someone who is a part of the GLBT community, visit someone who is Jewish, visit someone who is Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, Agnostic, just visit! Taste the different foods and cultures of your community, take some time to hear their stories and have a glimpse into their personalities.

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