If all the doomsday headlines are right, the mass-murdering thugs from ISIS have made Washington, D.C., their next target. As someone who lives and works in the nation’s capital, I’m not thrilled to hear the news. 

After what happened in Paris last weekend, it’s easy to indulge the darker side of the imagination and daydream about that moment on the Metro when a suspicious-looking guy yells something in Arabic, pulls a cord and incinerates everyone on board. It’s easy to drive past mosques and wonder if there’s something nefarious going on inside. It’s easy to embrace a spirit of fear of the “other” — especially if that “other” is a person wearing a hijab or a taqiyah. 

Well, life’s too short, and I’ve got better things to do.

I can’t commute in paranoia. I've got places to go, people to see, a job to show up for. And I’m not going to do so while chewing off my fingernails in fear. 

I refuse to racially profile people wearing traditional Islamic clothing, and I refuse to indulge fantasies that every mosque is a terrorist haven. It doesn’t line up with the reality of the many peaceable Muslims I’ve met throughout my life. And more importantly, it doesn’t line up with the reality of who I am as a Christian.

I refuse to racially profile people wearing traditional Islamic clothing, and I refuse to indulge fantasies that every mosque is a terrorist haven. It doesn’t line up with the reality of the many peaceable Muslims I’ve met throughout my life. And more importantly, it doesn’t line up with the reality of who I am as a Christian. 

As a follower of Christ, I’m not called to live in constant fear of people — much less death. I live with the joy of knowing that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). So I can stay in this city and be at peace with my commute, with my neighbors and with myself until I go home to be with Jesus. I don’t have to indulge useless fantasies of terrorist attacks that may never happen, attacks I can’t control even if they do. 

I’m called to love this city, no matter how unsafe it may be. And if those terrorists want to steal the Christian love I have for my neighbor, they’ll have to try and pry it from my cold, dead hands. But by then it will be too late — I will have already given it away.

Joshua Rogers is an attorney and writer who lives in Washington, D.C. You can follow Joshua on Twitter @MrJoshuaRogers and Facebook, and read more of his writing at JoshuaRogers.com.