The hate-driven face of religious bigotry emerged in full force from the killings of 14 people at a holiday party in San Benardino, California, and the venom of those who claim to be Christians spread like a plague across the country.
The shooters were Muslim, we learned, and that led to endless paranoid conclusions that they must be terrorists simply because they believed in that faith.
Got news for you haters out there. Christians kill people. So do Jews. Murder and hate are not defined by a single religious “faith.”
Killers quote the “words of God” on a regular basis as justifications of their heinous acts. Too many often claim “God” or “Jesus” told them to take the lives of others.
Over the last 36 hours, bigots claimed the deaths in California had to the work of terrorists because the shooters were Muslims. Others claimed anyone who owns an assault-style rifle is, at heart, a terrorist. Many claim Muslims are “godless,” an incredible statement that is, in itself, a godless term uttered inanely by someone who claims to be a servant of one god or another.
The vast majority of Muslims are devout followers of their religion and abhor violence and the killing of others.
Yes, Muslims include extremists among their ranks. So do Christians. The phony Christians who claim to follow Christ utter threats of death to those who support abortion, a medical procedure that is legal under the laws of America. Former President George W. Bush, a political and religious zealot, claimed God told him to invade Iraq and kill hundreds of thousands of civilians who were not a threat to the security or existence of America.
Fundamentalist religious zealot Pat Robertson claims hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters are “God’s punishment” against sinners. He praised the drownings and deaths of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as “the will of God.”
The Jewish religion does not accept the belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Does that make them less devout or are they simply adhering to the dogma of their religious beliefs?
A number of our friends are Buddhists, a religion with millions of followers.
“There is no almighty God in Buddhism,” says one of the tenants of the faith. “There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgement Day.”
Many differing faiths accept the existence of followers of other religions.
I’m not sure that level of tolerance exists within the fundamentalism of Christianity, which preaches that acceptance of Christ is the only “true” religion and those who think otherwise are “godless.”
On the other hand, one could argue with faith and conviction that such expressions of intolerance and religious bigotry are, in themselves, un-Christian and ungodly attitudes that violate the claimed beliefs of Christianity.
Each of us has the right to believe or not to believe in any god or deity. Such beliefs are a personal choice and, often, the particular religion that we choose to accept is driven by multi-million (or billion) dollar operations that attempt to sell a belief in any faith is neither universal or all-serving.
Is a Christian any closer to his or her concept of a god than a Muslim or a Jew with equally devout beliefs in a faith-based concept of divinity?
The answer may be out there somewhere.
Or it may not.