Monday, July 28, 2014

Is Religious Freedom Truly Possible?

Japan may be the best example on earth of true religious freedom and harmony.
by Charlie Leck
There is something terribly awful and morosely sad about the way the Middle East is eradicating diversity. I felt a chill when I read this little sentence from a column by Thomas L. Friedman in the NY Times… [read it here]

“Jews and Palestinians, Shiites and Sunnis keep forcing each other into tighter and tighter ghettos.” [Thomas L. Friedman]
There is a large group in our beloved country that would like to see America shake its love affair with diversity and cultural and religious freedom also. It’s that crowd that keeps insisting that America is “a Christian nation.” It is not, of course, and it was never meant to be, but they would like it to be that.
Diverse nations that can live with their extreme diversity are the nations to be envied – they are the kinds of nations in which I could live peacefully. They are the kind of nations I want America to be.
But, can the Islam accept that there might be something beautiful and truthful about Christianity? Can the Christian live harmoniously with the people of Islam? Can the non-Jews of the Middle East ever sit down in peace with the devout Jew?
I have long dreamed of an America where religious freedom is real and not just tagged in our founding documents; that is, an America where Christians are not threatened by changing demographics. I dream of an America that does not get apoplectic about becoming a multi-lingual nation. I dream of an America that does quarrel about an Islamic Mosque being built in Manhattan (very near the former World Trade Center).
The truth is, however, that we are very afraid of losing our cultural exclusivity – we Christians and white people – because we are witness to such horrible developments as we see in Islamic nations. Such ugly and violent fights over sect control.
We often have a hard time admitting it, but that is the heart of the thing. We are frightened. We don’t really mind that another believes and practices a different faith, but we are afraid that other faiths want to eradicate our own freedoms to believe what we have deemed true and real.
The horrific battles all across the Middle East are frightening to us because we see them – true or not – as religious war by those who want to destroy all who do not believe as they. We hear it in America on occasion. We hear it constantly in the Middle East.
On a quick visit to Japan, more than fifteen years ago, I was so impressed with the Oriental ability to accept wide ranging religious views and actually make them a part of the cultural heritage of the nation. They were accepted – these diverse religious views – and they were tolerated and they were allowed to have their individual and singular impact upon the larger society and cultural standards without threat or fear.
I thought to myself back then, as I stood in a Buddhist temple, that this must be the kind of land that our founding fathers dreamed of. All these people of extremely different religious beliefs and people of strictly secular natures are able to live together in such blissful cultural harmony.
Yes, it is what our founders sought for America.

“In the Middle East today, though, the last remnants of poly-cultural nation states and communities are being wiped out. Christians are fleeing the Arab-Muslim world. Islamist jihadists in Syria and Iraq are beheading those who won’t convert to their puritanical Islam.” [Thomas L. Friedman]


Why not become a follower?
If you read my blog regularly, why not become a follower? All you have to do is click in the upper right hand corner and establish a simple means of communication. Then you'll be informed every time a new blog is posted here. If all that's confusing, here's Google's explanation of how to do it! If you don’t want to post comments on the blog, but would like to communicate with me about it,send me an email if you’d like.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I feel that we should abandon the quest (quest not fight) for religious freedom and concentrate on freedom from Religion.