Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Religion vs the World

So, apparently President Obama said something at the National Prayer Breakfast that has made Republicans see red.

I looked up what he said.  And what pissed them off:

We see sectarian war in Syria, the murder of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria, religious war in the Central African Republic, a rising tide of anti-Semitism and hate crimes in Europe, so often perpetrated in the name of religion.
So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities -- the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends? 
Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history.  And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.  Michelle and I returned from India -- an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity -- but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs -- acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation. 

Well, he is right.  He also is wrong.  The events that were mentioned all were about using religion to legitimize the gathering of power and wealth.

The crusades were more about gaining land and wealth as much as they were about liberating the Holy Land from the forces of Islam.  The Inquisition was more about killing off opposition to the Medieval total power of the Catholic Church than combating heresy.

Slavery and the Jim Crow Laws were more about keeping white citizen in power than anything else, but there were bible verses that were used to quasi-legitimize this.

What people are missing is the message behind the speech.  Extremism and extreme fundamentalism in any faith can hurt other people.  While people in the country look at Islam and say that it's the enemy, many of the negative traits that they cite are also found in the faith that they hold.  They rail against Sharia Law, but want laws based in their own faith.  This boggles my mind.  Pot calling the kettle black and all....

Why get angry?  Are they really saying that slavery and the Inquisition were a good idea?

Let's go back to the Golden Rule people.  How about following your own religion, and leave everyone else alone.

And remember:

(this message brought to you by someone that is VERY tired of this)

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