Every religious, political, and cultural community has its own faction of crazy. We know who they are. They are those special people who somehow manage to pervert the belief system or plight of a particular community into something extreme. They are those clever, sometimes charismatic individuals who are so sure they speak for everybody, and they so fully buy into their own twisted version of the truth, that they even manage to convince others of it, and they often use their righteousness as an excuse to spew hatred and violence all over the place (without regard for the fact that their actions are often completely hypocritical to the community they say they represent) and then they have the audacity to act like they are accomplishing something important. Like they are the ones somehow furthering a cause. The only ones “doing” anything.
The only thing these people are accomplishing is the systematic destruction of their own community. With every hateful action they are striking another deadly blow at the reputation and credibility of the very community or cause they say they want to advance. They are the tarnish obscuring the symbol. They are the few that ruin it for the whole. They are the sparks that stoke the fire of hatred and misunderstandings amongst communities trying to do their best to co-habitat peacefully.
We as a collective society have to stop letting these people speak for us. A voice should be earned, not granted for free to whoever can prove to be most provocative. And when those people do manage to sneak in and get a voice in the world, and speak out recklessly as if they are representing a community that doesn’t actually agree with them, then it is the job of that community itself to reign them in. The community itself must speak up and say, “this person does not speak for us. This is not who we are.”
If that community does not do that, then the rest of us, who are not a part of that community, and therefore can’t possibly know the difference, will have to take, at face value, that that is what you represent. How could we know otherwise?
Even if we did know or suspect that they didn’t speak for you, those from one community can not over step their bounds and try to reign in another communities crazy for them. I know we try all the time, but it doesn’t work. Resentment, defensiveness and even further misunderstandings are always what follows. The only solution is for communities to stand up and pull in their own crazies. That’s just the way it works.