On Friday 9/30/2011 I heard a news report on the radio that a 13 year old girl in Pakistan had misspelled the word "Mohammad" on a paper. The Teacher of the class lost it emotionally and almost had an emotional break-down. The school made a big deal of the girl's spelling mistake and when word got out, over fifty religious Muslim leaders called for the girl's arrest and for her to be charged with blasphemy; which carries a sentence of death. The incident caused the girl and her family to go into hiding for fear of their lives.
Perhaps it is just the consequence of a life-time of Western culture and socialization of living in a Democracy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that has established my thinking, but does this sound a bit too harsh a punishment for misspelling a word? I know there is a vast difference between the theology of Islam and Christianity, just as there was a difference between Isaac and Ishmael. The subsequent feud between those two brothers has likely created more hatred and bloodshed than any other feud in history. All the same, if the peoples from those two brothers could examine themselves deeply enough to reach to the core of their basic humanity, I would hope that they would find some level of commonality. If nothing else, I would hope that commonality would be forgiveness.
If the God of Abraham could find it within His heart to find a way to provide forgiveness to His crowning creation, I suspect that somewhere deep within the deoxyribonucleic acid shared by human nature there is a glimmer of hope for finding a shred of forgiveness for each other. If this 13 year old girl could be the object of that micro step toward forgiveness from a tradition so deeply rooted in reactionary hatred, it might be the first step onto a path that would lead to healing for humanity.
I will pray for that balm of forgiveness and a glimmer of a new day.