The blogger Capper helps show us the origins of the now-infamous "coexist" bumper sticker, which helps put the uproar associated with the 'parody' version into a brighter light.
Turns out a unique Israeli museum dedicated to peace and reconciliation helped to create it.
The Museum of the Seam says this is its goal:
"Museum on the Seam is a unique museum in Israel, displaying contemporary art that deals with different aspects of the socio-political reality.So the right-wing bloggers who have twisted "coexist"into something ugly by adding a Swastika to the design are tampering even more deeply than their other intention - - to redirect the design against Muslims.
"Through the works of artists from Israel and abroad, who respond to the stress and tension between and within groups, the museum invites the visitors to examine the degree of influence of the social environment on the individual and vice versa.
"Between the local and the universal, between pluralism and extreme ideologies, the message of The Museum calls for listening and discussion, for accepting the other and those different from us and respect for our fellow man and his liberty.'
You can enter the issue as it has unfolded in Milwaukee and on the Internet with this posting.
And grasp why the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee would get involved to open Journal Communications' eyes to the damage its resources are causing to the community's spirit and potential for growth.
From its website, here is the Interfaith mission statement:
"The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee is the interfaith agency established by the religious community to address the social issues affecting the quality of life in the Greater Milwaukee area.So...we have bloggers and talk show hosts in Milwaukee throwing stones at the work or mission of groups like Interfaith, or the Israeli museum.
"The mission of the Conference is based on the religious values of the dignity of every person and the solidarity of the human community.
"The Conference enables individuals, congregations, and the religious leadership to participate as an interfaith presence in the dialogue and action that impact on this dignity and solidarity."
One ill-informed blogging professor at the Catholic, Jesuit-run Marquette University even called Interfaith a "leftist" group, "a bunch of liberal bureaucrat/activists."
That's some some impressive name-calling.
Here, from the Interfaith website, are the denominations that provide members to Interfaith board, and represent 500 congregations in the region.
What a leftist, liberal bureaucratic cabal!
American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin
Church of God in Christ, Wisconsin First Jurisdiction
Episcopal Church, Diocese of Milwaukee
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Greater Milwaukee Synod
Islamic Society of Milwaukee
Milwaukee Jewish Council for Community Relations
Milwaukee Jewish Federation
Presbyterian Church (USA), Presbytery of Milwaukee
Religious Society of Friends, The Milwaukee Meeting
Roman Catholic Church, Milwaukee Archdiocese
United Church of Christ, Southeast Wisconsin Association
United Methodist Church, Metro North and South Districts
Unitarian Universalist Churches, Southeast Wisconsin Association
Wisconsin Council of Rabbis
Wisconsin General Baptist State Convention
The Marquette University blogger professor John McAdams had to back down (check his comment responses) when he found out that Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, spiritual leader of 675,000 Catholics in southeastern Wisconsin, sat on the Interfaith board!
So what will be the outcome as we all get enlightened about Interfaith, and "coexist," and how they are supposed to work together in an environment of intellectual and spiritual honesty?
This nasty little Internet and media outburst in Milwaukee could lead to something genuinely useful, even uplifting: a productive moment in the community's history - - if powerful media owners and personalities that have decided, for now, to side with intolerance can make the break and shift towards dialogue, and then genuine community-building in Milwaukee
That will require some reflection, maybe even some humility- - both of which are supposed to be in large supply at this generous time of year.
I'd say we're at a crossroads moment.
Which way do we go, as a community, is the question?
To tolerance or divisiveness?
Inclusion or exclusion?
Coexistence or isolation, and the corrosive ignorance that will be perpetuated, if we make the wrong choice?