Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Hitchhiker's Guide to Religious Tolerance

Let me begin this entry with two ideas. First, the idea that this is not designed to give you, the reader, any conclusion on the topic. I am challenging you all to clearly express your positions and reasonings. Second, I cannot overstress the Stockholm Syndrome. It is a key principle that gets very overlooked in popular thought today.

To begin, I was contemplating the idea that maybe I am not 'tolerant' enough for American society. So, I am fair. I am not afraid to examine any issue from all sides. Religion in America has become a nearly fanatical conflict with no sides truly clearly defined. Most of the arguments come over the principle of Separation of Church and State. This principle won't be found in any of the founding documents, nor the Bill of Rights, nor any legislature. It was a promise Jefferson made to a Baptist church in 1802. The reason Jefferson choose the expression "separation of church and state" was because he was addressing a Baptist congregation; a denomination of which he was not a member. Jefferson wanted to remove all fears that the state would make dictates to the church. Jefferson was promising the Church that her would protect it from the government, not vice versa. The term and its reach have been well taken out of context and expanded to meet the needs of many an activist. It has mutated into Separation of Church FROM State really. But let's examine it's orthopraxy.

Every year, around Xmas (yes, on purpose), the news is rife with new stories on how someone discovered a 75 year old statue that now signals the impending doom of state-sanctioned christianity. Why? What happened to the freedom afforded us in the Bill of Rights to practice our religions freely? Why is it just anti-Christian sentiment? When was the last time you heard of someone demanding a Star of David removed, or some New Age symbol of Paganism? Please don't misunderstand, I am not being biased. This is not a statement on the oppressed Christians in America, but America was founded on Christianity so there are bound to be historical landmarks and sites littering the landscape. There are tons in Europe and no one complains, they call it heritage and culture there.

What makes a religion, and are all religions good / bad? Religion is at its essence a belief accompanied by practices. So where do we draw the line? In this story, this groups religion includes practices illegal in all states. So, do we not tolerate religions that violate laws? Do you evaluate it by how heinous the broken law is? I find it interesting also as aside note, that the terms Satanic and Cult are used to describe this group's religion. These two words easily craete a knee-jerk reaction, a negative emotional response before we even think of it rationally. How about this for PC....non-Jesus based small sect.

There was another famous 'cult' in recent hostory called 'Heaven's Gate' in which all the members peascefully dressed up, killed themselves, and rendezvoused with the comet-following mothership. They broke no laws nor hurt anyone, but met with much disdain and ridicule. Why were they a cult? What is the difference between a cult and religion? Is it subjective? If not, what is the standard?

Some Native Americans practice religions that involve the use of peyote and mushrooms in an effort to commune with the Great Spirit. Because of prevailing drug laws, many of these faithful are forced underground or have their churches destroyed completely.

So what if you had a group that claimed to recognize a supreme being that communicated directly with humans to produce literature. A group that travels to worship a big rock. A group that kills people in the supreme being's name. A group that institutionalized misogyny. So far, this group sounds much more unbearable than a bunch of computer geeks that put on their new nikes and laid peacefully down under their purple blankets for the ultimate mothership teleport. How many murders have been committed by this group this very day? Just view any news channel, website, or newspaper and you will see the effects of this group of which I speak. I am sure by now you guessed it is Islam.

But I am told they need understanding and compassion rather than rejection and elimination. We Americans couldn't bear the Waco clan having weapons. That American intolerance was shown in the deadly raid on the compound by the ATF. But when loudly proudly proclaimed-muslims flew jetliners into the Pentagon and World Trade Center, we were initially outraged, though the cries to understand the terrorists came eerily too soon. Not long after, news stories of people demanding tolerance and understanding for muslims and respect for Islam came. We didn't even have all our dead extracted from the rubble when we as a media-fueled nation became concerned with the civil rights of the ilk that perpetrated such unthinkable acta. Stockholm Syndrome.

Why is it that we are told to be tolerant, sensitive, understanding, and compassionate toward a culture and religion that embodies everything Americans have fought for decades to overcome? What are the rights of women in muslim society? What about the notion of equality? Civil rights for homosexuals? How successful are their societies as a whole? Muslim cultures propagate intolerance towards any non-muslim. We are infidels that need converted or destroyed, says the Koran. It is a peaceful religion, we are told, that happens to be in violent bloody conflict with every neighbor it borders, and even within its own confines. Environmentalism isn't even a concept in these cultures. The countryside is frequently covered in rubbish here in Iraq. Factories spew out uncatalyzed sulfur fumes from brick factories nearby. The land is desolate, even in areas where it should be fertile, because of agricultural mismanagement. Muslim culture is decidedly unamerican and we are told to support it through tolerance. Would it be unreasonable for a doctor to ask a patient to tolerate a cancerous tumor on their neck? Ridiculous. Then why should Americans be expected to tolerate the blight of anti-American sentiment and culture on the face of the world? Tolerance has allowed it to spread to civilized countries. Research Sweden's view of the muslim influx it now suffers from. There is a common thread that should not be ignored or tolerated any longer.

I say if we Americans and citizens of the other civilized countries are involved in the reconstruction of the Middle Eeast, we must demand that human rights be safe guarded and cultural changes be made to protect the indigenous. Otherwise, we just strengthen the monster.

17 Comments:

Blogger Dorman said...

The boulder has just been rolled to the top.......

17:10  
Blogger SnotSucker said...

And that damn boulder just landed on my head!
I find the quotes listed at the top of this page to be very interesting/hippocritical given the world's current situation:
religioustolerance.org/islam.htm

I give in...I'm tired of being untolerant. You can pray in our schools, even though my child should not be using the word 'God' in the pledge. You can wear your headpieces to have your picture taken for your license, but you'll have to drive a horse like the Amish. If I can wear my baseball hat & sunglasses in my drivers license, then maybe you can drive a car. Hat's & sunglasses are necessary for me to worship my God. Go ahead, kill anyone you'd like, we in America kill each other, so you might as well be afforded the same opportunities. As a matter of fact, you may kill your neighbor if he does not see things your way. No car bombs please, that is cowardly. And secondary to your religion, our penalties for you will not be as severe. Now I've become a little more tolerant. Just make sure I receive the same respect.

18:07  
Blogger mattandriver said...

I AM NOT GOING THERE! NOT TONIGHT, ANYWAY!

snotsucker, please look for a new blog being made by me. I may find the time tonight, but not probable. I look forward to your answer to the impending question(s). Actually, all are welcome, but you just happen to be the first to comment on dorman's newest enter.

20:55  
Blogger mattandriver said...

oh, and dorman. I think of this 'boulder' as more of a snowball! ;-)

20:57  
Anonymous Dave Lucas said...

I ejoyed your post and I have referenced it in my weBlog entry 5/24/2005 "God, Paper and Ink"

21:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Snotsucker you have completly missed the point to Mr.Droman's post. He is saying that we as Americans have become too tolerant to these pigs who vow to destroy everything we stand for. These f*n people killed many Americans and now we have to understand them and forgive them I say F* that. These people are scum, the lowest form a any kind of human being. They live in a society thats lives off of murder and the blackmarket. I say that we carpet bomb every single city and village and kill off every man woman and child so that we can finally rid ourselves of this plague.

00:58  
Anonymous Baker said...

I totally agree with you anonymous my god is better than their god; he/she could kick their god’s ass. Jesus could kick Muhammad’s ass and we could kick their ass. If we do though then who will we fight, Canadians.

04:37  
Blogger SnotSucker said...

Anonymous, come out come out where ever you are.
CAN'T ANYONE SEE CYNACYSM WHEN THEY READ IT???? HELLO????
"They live in a society thats lives off of murder and the blackmarket. I say that we carpet bomb every single city and village and kill off every man woman and child so that we can finally rid ourselves of this plague."

So for them to kill us is wrong, but for us to kill them it is OK????

I can agree with one point..'they live off of murder and the black market'.

Of course I wouldn't mind if they never walked the earth again. But, you've just revealed a large portion of what is going on here and what we've previously discussed in several posts is "hate". Unfortunately, bombs are not the answer or we would have done that already. They are everywhere. So that means you would also have to destroy portions of "our" country to get to them. You would have to bomb places like New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles in an attempt to rid the planet of this "plague" as you speak. "They" are not all concentrated in the Middle East. It is global. You've now likened yourself to one of them.

07:20  
Blogger Dorman said...

A further consideration about tolerance and acceptance....

Nazism, Communism, Fascism, immediate reaction is that all are bad and rejected.

Mormonism, Pentacostal Movement, Seventh Day Adventists, probably little to no blanket negative reaction.

What does the first group have in common? The second group? Apparently we are so programmed to be skeptical and reactionary to political labels, philosphies, movements, that we stop dead intellectually.

The second group of religions, have something else in common. They all started out with 'cult' status, but by attrition and time they became accepted and seen as common place; like the guy on the couch in the movie Half Baked. Apparently we are programmed to generally be more accepting of religious labels, movements, philosophies.....as long as they aren't the familiar christianity. Remember, even christianity started out as a Jewish cult.

09:23  
Blogger Dorman said...

Will your toilet accommodate a Koran?

12:04  
Anonymous Carol said...

You've made some excellent points here...BUT, Islam has been around for quite some time...some say Allah spoke through Jesus, Adam and Noah. My point is, why are Muslims just becoming a "problem" now? Have we changed or have they? Many ethnic or religious groups do not treat their women equal to men. In India when a bride's family is unable to pay her potential husband's family the appropriate dowery, she may be raped or set on fire. Then no one wants her or she simply dies of her injuries or commits suicide. How about in China where the orphanages are loaded with female children because they are not the "desired" sex. According to some of the readers here, it seems appropriate that we should annihilate all of these cultures including those in the Middle East. I'm not saying these practices are right, good or spiritual, but who died and left US boss? Why do we get to say who's right and who's wrong? Here's a quote from a song on Morrissey's most recent recording (keep the groaning down)...something to consider: "America, your head's too big because America your belly's too big and I love you, I'd just wish you'd stay where you is. American the land of the Free, they said and of opportunity in a just and truthful way but where the President is never black, female or gay and until that day, you've got nothing to say to me....Steely blue eyes with no love in them scan the world and a humourless smile with no warmth within greets the world..." yea that's ole GW he's talking about. Thing is the rest of the world looks at us like big ogres getting into everyone elses business. I don't know what the right answer to this is, just wanted to stir the pot.

18:06  
Anonymous Baker said...

Carol in China its not a cultural thing to abandon female children. There is a serious problem with over population in this region, the government stepped in and limited every household to only one child and are heavily fined if they have more. They keep the males to carry on the name.

Actually there is a 500 year differance between Islam and Chritianity. Were we(christians) any different, the crusades lasted quite a long time many people killed. I think that we both have changed, we have better weapons to kill each other with. How many times can you swing a broadsword until your arm gets tired. How many rounds can you fire from a gun until you can't physically shoot no more. Better yet how many buttons can you push. War has evolved too, we don't stand around in a big line formation like a bunch of idiots with a set enemy doing the same thing on the other side pointing weapons at each other. What did the British think of us when we were doing pretty much the same thing to them during the Revolutionary war. We used the same tricks as they are right now. I could see George Washington paying off some poor sucker, even better have some of his slaves strap a bomb to their chest.
Achievment-You can accomplish anything if you have vision, determination and an endless supply of expendible labor. :)

The only reason we don't do anything to India is because those people are eventually going to wipe themselves out because of their beliefs. Most of those people are dying of starvation but a cow can come into their living room and crap on their carpet and cannot be harmed because it is sacred.

I think I may know where the US may be coming from. We go over to a country use up all thier resources pollute their land. In the mean time we horde our resources and store them somewhere. When everyone else runs out who are they going to turn for aid.
Look at Somolia those people were a thriving society, they may have been nomads but they could survive by themselves. The US steps in those poor people lets show them our way (knowing) that their land is only fertile for so long. They start dying of starvation because the land is no longer good and because we "cultured" them they are no longer nomads. They look to us for aid, now we have them in our trap and we could use them for whatever and it makes us look like the "good guys". I do believe someone said their might be gold in them there mountains.

03:02  
Anonymous Baker said...

I know this post is about religious tolerance, I had too much coffee and I was ranting about usless info not about the topic at hand, sorry about that.

03:06  
Anonymous Carol said...

Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.
John F. Kennedy

07:04  
Blogger Dorman said...

Thank you Carol and baker, you've both made good points. Intolerance should begin at home because otherwise we step into a big pot of hypocrasy. If we believe in sovreignty, a nation's right to rule itself, then let's show it. Let's clean our house and let everyone else alone to clean and maintain theirs. I don't agree with the US being the world's police, nor it's (pseudo)moral leader. How many things do we get involved in because of 'humanitarian' reasons....isn't that the justification for Iraq since now WMDs were found?

Thought I had today as I was convoying, we (the Army) are intended to be decidedly anti-humanitarian, but are sent to do humanitarian missions. Like a bulimic taste-tester, just doesn't fit.

Cultures tend to stay roughly in their places of origin. Religions, politics, and philosophies spread like pee in a pool. I propose an upgraded filter on American soil.

12:14  
Blogger molean1 said...

I am glad you are back......I was afraid the new format thing was real for about a New York minute.....=-)


I believe with their government in place we should get the hell out of there and if they want to destroy the whole damn place, let them.....who do we think we are?

Anyway, I always enjoy your posts......thank you

20:36  
Blogger Dorman said...

I agree, and thanks for joining in. Isn't that what we states we intended to do from the beginning? And how interesting it is that now we promise towork with Palestine to bring about peace. How about a little here first!

22:52  

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