The dividing lines religions have caused among mankind run deep but in this 21st century we have the opportunity within our nation’s transition to begin dialogue and reconciling. The election of President Barack Obama has broken many barriers on race and politics that can serve as a catalyst for a renewed vigorous movement for religious tolerance. For clarification purposes I am not signifying that President Barack Obama himself should be the center of a renewed movement but the activity that surrounded his election which came from “people of all races, cultures, classes and most important religions uniting to effect what they thought was change in our nation”. It is imperative that we grasp this energy and use it to fuel a strong, assertive religious tolerance movement.
Since the dawn of civilizations mankind has been at war for religious supremacy. Our earth has witnessed the devastating crusades, genocides and enslavement of people for religious advancement. This advancement has caused the needless death of millions worldwide. In today’s society the ill-effects of religious supremacy can be seen in the bold denouncement of individuals who do not join certain religious institutions as infidels, sinners, untouchables and derogatory subjections of pagans and heathens. In ancient times religion played a vital and equal role to the governing of a nation and was often one and the same. It was advantageous to point out the enemy of the nation by their differing religious beliefs because it helped instill loyalty, defense, power and supremacy of that nation in the mind of its people. The Jihadist is motivated to kill by their religious indoctrination but their death ultimately serves the advancement of a religious faction for political power. Likewise, some of the Christian Crusades though politically motivated were religiously inspired. During World War II men were motivated to fight the enemy through mingled messages of religion, loyalty and nation combined to create duty and responsibility to God on the battlefield.
Today, after eight years of the Christian Rights crusade under the leadership of George W. Bush, the Obama movement became a beacon of hope for all who grew weary of the theocracy that became our government. However, it is the movement of the people during this phenomenon that I would like to focus on. The banner of hope and change during the Obama campaign met with a resounding approval from cross-sections of the American people. A doorway was opened for fresh new ideas, unity and positive action but that doorway will not remain open for long as the weight of the economy and mistakes of the Obama administration threatens to shut it. Now is the time for consortiums on religious relations to become assertive in their promotions for religious tolerance while the air in the nation is still tolerant to change. This is a great moment in our nation to establish a firm foundation for progress.
We have to move pass ecumenical ceremony and have serious dialogue on how we can begin to recognize and appreciate the beauty and truth in all of our religions. It is hard to think of an opposing religious contemporary as an infidel, sinner or heathen when we have began a sincere and consistent exchange of understanding. It is imperative that we recognize that one of the main ingredients of all religions is to help the individual uplift themselves. Just think of how our world can be changed when Jews begin to look at Muslims as people who are trying to uplift the humanity within their region or when Christians here in America can view their fellow Catholics, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses as institutions which are trying to uplift a section of humanity. Regardless of how each may try they will never be the single religion on this earth, reality trumps this dream. Instead of competing to see who can gain the most people on earth they must each look at how they can help advance all of humanity.
Progress on religious tolerance will take place when points of religious supremacy are eliminated and this is something that must take place from within each religious institution. Religious leaders who have risen to the truth that all religions’ have a right to exist and have something good and positive to offer humanity must step forward in this 21st century and challenge teachings of supremacy and discrimination against fellow human beings. These teachings must be studied and evaluated as to their context, interpretations and relevancy in meeting the spiritual needs of it’s members and done so in a manner that involves the members so as to help educate on the truth of what they follow. Many discriminatory and supremacy beliefs are leftover’s from ancient times filled with cultural biases, personal agendas and political implications. Many of these misleading beliefs have found their way into sacred texts and are worshipped and defended out of ignorance and innocence today.
Religious supremacy is a strong wall so long as the bricks contain it but when each of the individual bricks begins to fall away eventually it crumbles. In this 21st century we have a great resource on our side, the internet, which we can use to find out the history and truth of a religious belief. I encourage all to disengage from religious supremacy and discrimination and challenge you to view your fellow humans just as they are, as humans.