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The Stir Over Mohammed Cartoons

Freedom of expression rules in the western democracies. We are allowed to criticize everything, including every religion. Political leaders can do no right; even in the best of times, they are openly criticized. Actually, freedom of expression has become toxic, as it is destroying families, entertainment, and our children's lives.

The freedom of expression on television, radio, and the Internet is an insult to your intelligence. The news media and the networks feel they can serve you "garbage" and you will watch it with a smile and a pack of potato chips. In other words, they have no respect for the morals of the masses. How many good movies are produced per year by Hollywood? How many would you take your children to? I hope you see my point. Respect is the real issue here, beyond "the clash of cultures.

" In the West, many people don't respect their own religious values. So, what makes anyone think the religious values of Moslems will be treated differently? Respect for religious values is a problem. For those of my fellow Americans who don't want to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance, or don't like the words in God we Trust," please find another country that will accept your lack of ethics and non-participation. You won't find a big line of countries that want you.

We should learn to develop respect for different points of view, and tread carefully, when discussing someone outside our own circle of family and friends. Regardless of where we live, we should stop dehumanizing other countries and cultures. It is so easy to point across the world and say the other side is full of Barbarians. As an American, I am not pleased when the American flag, the Danish flag, or any other country's flag, is burned. When the US embassy is stormed, it only brings about an equally, or more violent reaction, from within the United States. This only helps fuel fundamentalists and reactionaries, who still bear a grudge, to this day, with every country who has ever stormed a US embassy.

Peaceful protest is a powerful tool for change. Non-violent protest will also get headlines. It has historically worked worldwide and will get all parties concerned to the negotiations table.

Constant rioting is also powerful, but is answered with a violent reaction and suppression. It also pleases those who classify and categorize cultures. In fact, you have the ability to paint your own picture by how you react to conflict. The manner in which you react to adversity is what people always remember most.

Do not commit un-Godly acts in the name of God. For a deeper understanding of your fellow man, open dialogue with people outside your own culture. We need more communication at the micro-level or the World Powers will draw the sides up for us all. Copyright 2006 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications.

Paul Jerard is director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He's a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches that along with fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students who want to be a teacher. http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.html

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