Como Park Lutheran Church logo

The War Against Religion

Posted on

I spent some time this week looking for the war on religion in America. I found cities opposing the construction of mosques, a few instances of what seem like prejudicial zoning practices by different municipalities against churches, restrictions on the use of mind altering drugs and animal sacrifice, but nothing that resembles a war. Quite the contrary in fact. In almost every city and state, there are tax exemptions for churches, employment exemptions that allow prejudicial hiring based on religion, and variances for land use aplenty. There are also provisions in school and workplace that allow individuals opportunity for religious prayer and observance of holy days. There’s also a tremendous allowance for free speech and political lobbying by religious organizations. Government deference to religion seems to be the rule.

There does seem to be, however, an under-reported religious war against diversity in America. Religions have always been free to call on particular observances by their own adherents. What seems to be new is the stridency of some religious groups to try to legislate their religious views for all people. The push by some religious organizations for creationism to be taught in schools as science, for abortions and sex education to be outlawed, for contraception coverage to be restricted, for competing religious and world-views to be denied space for houses of worship and public gatherings…all of this represents an organized war against diversity in belief and practice based on some group’s own religious belief. And if these churches and groups fail to win the day for their restrictions or inclusions, they scream, “Persecution!”

But religious persecution is what happens when one point of view is forced on everyone. It’s not what happens when others are allowed to choose different beliefs or behaviors than your own. Persecution is what happens when one’s own choice or belief is denied expression because of the cultural or religious dominance of someone else’s belief and practice. Being forced to practice tolerance or to accept diversity is not persecution.

So is there a war against religion? No. Is there a war against diversity, free choice, and the teaching of a scientific world view by some churches and religious groups? Clearly. And is there persecution? That depends on who wins.

This entry was posted in Weekly Words and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
Custom WordPress website created and supported by Wizzy Wig Web Design, Minneapolis MN