By Tony Bol, City of Hudson resident
Just as an exercise, let yourself think of horrible facts about Christians in history.
During the time Muslims ruled Spain, there was relative peace among Muslims, Jews and Christians. Muslims didn't punish Christians for being Christian. When Christianity took over under King Fernando, Christians exiled Jews and Muslims and established the Inquisition, torturing and killing many Jews and Muslims.
When Muslims ruled Jerusalem they allowed Christians and Jews to openly practice their religion. During the Crusades, Christian rulers required the slaughter of every non-Christian in the lands of their conquest.
In the last century, crowds of Christians gathered to take inhumane pleasure by watching lynchings of innocent African Americans. Early U.S. Christian history celebrated the genocide of Native Americans, which remains an unresolved atrocity today.
Yes, Hitler was a Christian who spoke of God frequently in his speeches. Jim Jones, Timothy McVeigh and James Earl Ray were all Christians.
Should we frame our views of Christianity based on those who loudly proclaimed their Christianity but clearly failed humanity? Of course not. What about the good works of millions of Christians - the Christians I know - the ones who change people's lives for the better every single day?
Let's extrapolate. If the need for historical context is true for Christians, might it also be true for Muslims?
Many Hudson residents have witnessed a local group delivering white roses that echo support for a white race. They have produced a flyer that outlines horrible headlines about all who practice the Muslim faith. They want you to believe that Muslims are all the same, same as the extremists who have failed humanity and yet proclaim themselves to be Muslim.
Last Spring, Citizens for the St. Croix Valley hired an anti-Muslim speaker (Anni Cyrus) to speak at the Hudson House who stated that "there are no Muslim extremists, there are only Muslims." Our Hudson continues to be a place for intensive hate rhetoric with another anti-Muslim speaker scheduled for September. This group teaches the very path of logic against Muslims that is akin to saying "judge Christians by the Crusades."
Hudson does have a SPLC designated Hate Group. That alone should give us pause and concern. CFTSCV's many leaflets, social media posts and manner of educating read as fear-based, hysteria-driven headlines, often followed by an obscure and unknown news sources. They believe in an American Constitution exclusive to a Christian God. We know that is not our American Constitution.
We should take the time to learn more about Muslims. We may seek insights from our faith community leaders, talk with qualified educators or perhaps share a conversation with a worldly friend. Now, if you want to go online and find hateful information about Muslims, it'll be there. If you do, then follow the same hate-curious search about Christians. You will easily find outdated facts about Christians, with horrible details that are no longer relevant and misrepresented context we know to be different.
Hudson does have an SPLC-designated hate group. It's our community's challenge to work harder to help ensure social kindness, inspire loving inclusion and not let the words of fear take our families down a path towards another failed humanity. We are better than that. Let's keep changing people's lives for the better every single day.