That which we should have learned after religious extremists crashed planes into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania 8 years ago today, we didn’t. We should have learned that religious extremism lends to acts of violence. We should have learned that our opinions should not over power our ability to reason – but we haven’t. People are still murdering or attacking each other in violent rages because of their opinions.
Our failure to learn this simple and obvious fact is echoed in the faces of those we torment, those we push aside, those who are marginalized and those who are killed.
- A young boy angered that his classmate, Lawrence King, had a crush on him, walked into the classroom and pulled the trigger. We didn’t learn.
- Lateisha Green was sitting in a car with her brother when a man walked up and shot her because of her gender identity. We didn’t learn.
- A black man, Dedric Knight, had a flat tire and was waiting for help when three white men attacked him simply because of the color of his skin. We didn’t learn.
- About a month ago, a pro-life extremist murdered Dr. Tiller, a doctor who performed abortions.
Will we ever?
In perhaps what might be today’s most fear-mongering headline, CNS News sent subscribers this:
Support for Suicide Bombings and Bin Laden Still High Among Some Muslims
(CNSNews.com) – A new survey gauging Muslim attitudes indicates that backing for suicide bombings against civilians, while generally down from earlier years, remains significant in some Islamic countries – challenging the assertion that Muslims supporting terrorism constitute a “tiny minority.”
After reading the article, it seems that headline could have read, “Support for Suicide Bombings and Bin Laden Wanes, but Not Enough.” But that wouldn’t be sensational. That wouldn’t be extreme. That wouldn’t inspire fear. That wouldn’t sound as “right” to a predominately Christian audience.
While even I recognize that extremism isn’t solely based upon religious ideology, it certainly is prominent. Opinions like “It’s o.k. to blow infidels up in the name of Allah” or “The ONLY use for gays in the military is perhaps an airborne outfit that you could drop into action without parachutes or weapons” do stem from religion. Religion that is immoral, wrong and disgusting. Rationalizing these opinions with religious ideology only reinforces the argument that religion should stay out of government and people should stay away from religion.
Although some claim to have secular arguments against LGBT rights, the arguments are unpopular and not what the majority of anti-gay people subscribe. Instead, the majority subscribe to the idea that gay is a sin and against God and we should not promote it. That is the argument. Period. Like those in the Islamic countries, they want the laws to reflect their faith, their opinions and their beliefs. It’s a slippery slope we are climbing when we mingle church and state, only one bad step away from falling into a country where the majority believe it is o.k. to murder under the pretense that it is a deities will.
While the penalties previously enforced against gays have dramatically declined, laws against gays still remain. They’ve been put into our state constitutions, our legislation and our schools. The religious ideas of “marriage” have defined a civil institution for us all. We have to stop before there is no turning back.
Will we learn?