October 26, 2010

Religion and Politics: A Volatile Mixture

This week in the news everyone is talking about the termination of Juan Williams from NPRǂ. I am no big fan of Juan Williams but one can certainly understand his concerns when flying with Muslims. I personally don’t think the man should have been terminated from his position with NPR just because he said what everyone else thinks when on a flight with such individuals. Ever since September 11th I think most people are in agreement when I say fanatical Muslims and aircraft are a volatile mixture.

It is sad that the actions of a few extremist Muslims has branded their faith as terrorists in the eyes of most Westerners. I on the other hand think it demonstrates how organized religions are continuing their roles as quintessential WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction). That right I said WMDs. You might ask, what are you talking about?

Well, let me explain. All through history I think it can be argued that whenever the powerful want to eliminate their enemies or take over resources from another person one of their tools is religion. It is a conscience decision that Political leaders bang on the drum of religion to stir the blood of otherwise docile people and get them to do unspeakable harm.

It has always seemed easy to get the Christians to attack the Muslims and vise versa throughout history with this tactic. Just look at the Crusades. During the Crusades armed pilgrimages intended to liberate Jerusalem from Muslim control. Jerusalem was part of the Muslim possessions won during a rapid military expansion in the 7th century through the Near East, Northern Africa, and Anatolia (in modern Turkey). The first Crusade was preached by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095 in response to a request from the Byzantine emperor, Alexios I Komnenos for aid against further advancement. At the time Europe had a population explosion and need to expand. The Muslims were in their way and also expanding so they had to go. Plus there was wealth and plunder to be had in the Middle East. Now not to be out done in hatred the Muslims attacked America on 9/11, Britain on 7/7, and Spain on 3/11 all in the name of god and for all the same reasons.

Who knows maybe without all the political intervention it may have been acceptable for each of these otherwise peaceful faiths to live side by side in harmony but their leaders are never willing to share their power with each other. So they got their followers to demonize each other in the hopes of eradicating the other faith. It doesn’t take a genius to soon realize that no matter how much violence is heaped upon the other side you just can’t simply destroy one’s beliefs.

It is obvious that God has little to do with any of these attacks be it Muslim or Christian who instigated it. It has everything to do with political power and faith is the tool of choice. It is always the same story just different characters.

It begs the question why does anyone need religion in the first place? Can’t we all just worship God in our own way without all the silly rules and dogmas? Are we not just setting ourselves up as pawns in the game of world political chess when we follow these so called leaders of faith?

ǂ The Juan Williams Story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/21/juan-williams-fired-npr_n_770901.html

October 20, 2010

Church Won't Let Mormon Parents Be Scout Leaders

Today there was an interesting article in the paper. It appears that in Raleigh, NC a local Presbyterian church (Christ Covenant Church) will not let the parent’s of two Mormon children become Scout leaders solely on the basis that they are Mormons.

The story at: www.standard.net/topics/mormons/2010/10/19/nc-cub-scout-troop-wont-let-mormons-be-scout-leaders

It appears that the Presbyterians don’t see the Mormons as “Real” Christians. I think the Christ Covenant Church has missed the point about what the Scouts are all about. The Boy Scouts of America provided a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops their personal fitness. It is not about Jesus and it is certainly not about religious prejudice.

It makes me wonder what the Presbyterians’ true agenda is by creating a Scout troop. Could it be a vehicle to create something fun and entertaining for children and then use it as a ploy to brainwash them about your faith? Is the Christ Covenant Church’s intent to use the Scouts as a method to teach religion or is it about Scout values?

This also begs the question what was so terribly wrong with parents that volunteered? I assume they had no criminal record or allegations of improprieties regarding children. Then why could they not let them be leaders? If they had such heart burn with their religious point of views then why not let them be leaders with the understanding that they were not to discuss their religion with the children? Just to deny their application solely on the bases that they do not precisely conform to their brand of Jesus is…well, small-minded so say the least and down right offensive to Scout values.

All this flies in the face of the mission statement of the Scouts and what they stand for. I would hope that the Boy Scouts of America will soon launch an investigation and revoke the Christ Covenant Church troop status.

Jesus said in John 3:16. perhaps the most recited verse in the Bible. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Talk about inclusion! "Whosoever" is a huge word. It means that anyone who wants "in" just has to say the word. No one is left out. Christianity does not carry a message of intolerance or condemnation, but a message of reconciliation and salvation. But I guess this doesn’t apply to Mormons or so the Presbyterians have demonstrated with this act of religious bigotry against these two men.

This is just another shinning example of how some Christians act toward the world in general. Smug, self righteous, indifferent, and not very Christ like at all. This yet again proves the how religion is used to oppress and foster hatred towards others not in the circle of an established belief system.