I sat down to a meal with some of my fellow Americans today.
I case you can’t tell, I’m the one in the middle.
I went to the Sikh temple in Durham, NC. I showed up at about 11:30 and went inside. The rules are that you must take off your shoes and wear something on your head. They were kind enough to loan me a hat that looks like a surgical cap.
What I heard wouldn’t have been out of place at any random Christian church in the nation. Peace, love, equality, goodwill towards all men, that sort of thing. They made good use of technology too. They had a computer set up to display running translations of the songs they were singing. I’ve not been in church in a long time, so I don’t know if that’s done in any Christian churches to display the particular hymns being sung or for the readings, but it was really helpful for me to follow along.
After about 45 minutes of singing and playing (it was more of a performance than a sing along) we had some speakers. There were Sikhs as well as guest speakers. Let’s get the bad out of the way.
Dear Mr. Muslim guy. The bullets were NOT aimed at you. Racists hate everyone except their race, so we can assume that the Sikhs who were murdered were killed because they were brown-skinned followers of a non-Christian religion. They were not killed because someone mistook them for Muslims. It really bugs me when people make an effort to be associate victims.
Now to the good stuff. I am a patriot. The sight of the flag makes me happy. I believe in America and in Americans. I take second place to no one in love for my country. The Sikh speakers, especially the President of the temple, exceeded me in patriotism by a long shot. America is not blood, and it’s not soil. America is ideas, and the people who believe them. These were Americans. They might have been born here or far away. But once they started talking about America, the “best” and “safest country in the world”, you could tell that they were Americans. These are not scare quotes, these are direct quotes from the speakers. Thomas Jefferson might have had a problem understanding the accents, but not the sentiments.
And now for the funny part. There must be some sort of gun enthusiast radar. I don’t know if they found me or I found them, but we found each other. The guys I was sitting next to were both Sikh and gun owners. We talked about guns, and we’ll be getting together sometime soon to go shooting. One of my new friends said that he was surprised that no one in the Temple shot at the intruder. He was mystified as to why there was no one with a gun available to shoot back. He assured me that it was almost certain that there were concealed carriers in the congregation. I did not go to the temple to advocate for concealed carry. I was, however, treated to a discussion of how banning guns would not change anything. I was told that criminals would get guns no matter what the laws, and that taking guns from the honest people would only make things worse. In short, it was a discussion pretty much like any that you would read on any pro-gun blog.
Then we had a tasty lunch.
UPDATE: In comments, someone wonders why no Sikhs fought back. At least one did.