"I'm just trying to be a good Muslim."
"I'm just trying to be a good Christian."
"I'm just trying to be a patriot."
Why don't I ever hear, "I'm just trying to be a good Human?"
I had this discussion with one of the scholars at the research center where I work. I told her people are so blinded by trying to be good American Christians, that they are blind to the fact that we are all human. She agreed, saying that she felt she was going to scream if she heard, "I'm just trying to be a good Muslim," one more time during an interview for her project.
By trying to be a good [fill in the blank], by trying to be a good [label], we're not trying to be good people. Labels completely remove the humanity from a person -
"Oh, you're a Jew?" (Insert squirm of uncomfortable longing for that person's salvation here.)
"Oh, you're a Catholic?... Honey, don't talk to that person anymore, they're not Christian."
"Oh, you're Hindu?" I can longer associate with this person because they don't believe in God.
"Oh, you're gay." Divert eyes and run far, far away.
How dare society challenge itself to actually practice the one thing we all have in common: humanity. We should practice being Human.
"I'm just trying to be a good Human."
Imagine what that would be like. I leave you with the great Freddy Mercury, singing the great John Lennon's Imagine (the song my father told me was about communism and atheism, and therefore, bad). If we can't imagine, how we ever achieve it?