On Saturday morning, the doorbell rang and two elderly ladies wanted to help me prepare for "doomsday" by reading passages from the book of Psalms. Separated by a screen door, my dog barked at these ladies throughout our visit. I refused their literature but thanked them for their time.
A few weeks earlier, I would have resented their intrusion, but today the four Americans killed in Libya by Muslim extremists claiming to be insulted by a film made in California were on my mind. No one has the right not to be insulted, but one does have the responsibility to be tolerant of other cultures and religions.
When the Moors swept through the Mediterranean, European Christians were given the option to convert or die. When the Crusades were launched into the Holy Land, captured Muslims were given that same option.
America is advanced citizenship. No one should expect infant democracies in the Middle East to look anything like what took us 236 years to accomplish.
America is still a work in progress, forging shared beliefs through civility and tolerance; we settle our differences at the ballot box instead at the end of gun. An open hand, not a closed fist, is the best way to greet emerging Arab democracies.
The two elderly ladies lingered to smell the pink shrub roses near my doorstep as they turned to leave. I thought that was a good way to prepare for "doomsday."
BENJAMIN CHERRYHOMES, HASTINGS