Isn’t it idealistic to imagine that in the “overlapping magisteria” of Politics and Religion (As against Stephen Jay Gould’s “non-overlapping magisteria” to describe Science and Religion), an individual can presume to intervene, much less make a difference?
If people who watch distant events, unrelated to their lives, feel charged to join jihadi movements believing they can make a difference to those who live in a different continent, a different culture, it must be possible for individuals to be moved to action that will have a more positive impact on their immediate lives.
We need to break our “appalling silence” on issues that are going to have ramifications across generations so that we, or our children, will not have to repent.
“Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.” (Martin Luther King Jr)
I would like to complement King’s exhortation with this message of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s, inscribed on a plaque in his memorial in India:
Wealth without Work, Pleasure without Conscience, Science without Humanity, Knowledge without Character, Politics without Principle, Commerce without Morality and Worship without Self-sacrifice are seven deadly sins.
King and Gandhi were individuals when they began; they became lasting icons for humanity due to their courage of conviction. In their immortality there is a lesson to learn: It is important to temper our resistance with long-term vision about the future that humanity shares.