Thursday, March 31, 2005

War and rascism!

This, from April's Atlantic Monthly:

"Jesus taught Christians to 'love thy neighbor.' According to a recent survey by researchers at Cornell University, however, the more religious the American, the less likely he is to love (or at least trust) his Muslim neighbors. For instance, 42 percent of the highly religious (versus only 15 percent of citizens who are "not very religious") believe that American Muslims should have to register their whereabouts with the government; 34 percent (versus 13 percent) say that U.S. mosques should be monitored; and 40 percent (versus 19 percent) look favorably on government infiltration of Islamic civic and volunteer organizations. The highly religious are also more distrustful the more attention they pay to TV news. While it's true that all the 9/11 terrorists were Muslims, none of them were Americans. So why do the religious mistrust American Muslims? The survey contains a hint: 65 percent of "highly religious" Americans believe that Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence."

It even came with a nifty graph.



This got me thinking of past wars, where the enemy was either fascism (WWII) or communism (Indo-Asian wars like Korea or Vietnam). The U.S. played the religion card so often to justify war (democracy versus the godless communists), that we still can't get away from that mindset in a post-Soviet era. We still seem to view wars along religious lines, whether we admit it or not. This war against terrorism uses the same line of justification -- only instead of it being God vs. the atheists, it's God vs. Allah. For as much as our President publicly calls Islam a peace loving religion, he has to know that he wouldn't have the support he has right now were that the general sentiment of the American public. Were we to really educate ourselves about the differences within the Muslim faith, support for Bush's foreign policy would deteriorate rapidly. This isn't to say that there shouldn't be resistance against terrorists or countries that support terror groups, but that we shouldn't have to paint the enemy as "heathens" in order to shore up public support. The results of such a campaign reach farther than simply our terrorist enemies; they ostracize our Arab American friends as well.

And on a personal level, I believe we can take something else away from this, too. Love Jesus, but aim for moderate to little religiousity.

3 Comments:

At 3/31/2005 3:15 PM, Blogger Jake Sikora said...

Hey jonny. How'd you get that picture up?

I think an interesting thing you didn't mention is that watching TV news if you're moderately to not very religious helped with your perception of Muslim Americans, while only religious folk were encouraged to distrust by TV news. Do you think this has something to do with which news their watching, as in the "Fair and Balanced" favorite of highly religious folks?

 
At 3/31/2005 3:38 PM, Anonymous Eric said...

In Rev 6.10 martyred saints offer up the prayer "How long, Lord, before you avenge us?" In Rev 8 the answer comes. An angel offers incense (i.e. the prayers of the saints) which rises to God (indicating accepting approval of their request). In response, the angel goes back to get coals, hurl them to the earth, issuing in final judgment destruction of the creation.

That said, it is one thing to bring our complaints to God, another to leave vengence to God. Rev was written to churches, some of which were facing persecution directly and seriously. If I had to watch my family tortured, then have my eyes put out, I would be pissed off--I mean righteously angry--and would ask God if he would allow such injustice to go free.

That said, I would have to leave it in God's hands, and not expect that God should act as I think he should (who made me the 4th person of the Trinity?)

That said further, there are precious few Americans who have faced much of any significant persecution, or trial and torture of close friends or family. So in the end I am more in agreement with Jake that it might have appeared at the beginning of this comment. Paying 25 cents more for a gallon of gas does not, in my estimation, warrant distrust of International or American Muslims.

 
At 4/03/2005 3:10 AM, Blogger jonny said...

I don't know if you'll see this, Jake, but here is a fancy link to getting pictures up on the old blog. I have a website where I host my pictures, but there are plenty of places out there where you can do it for free. Oh yeah!

http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=324&topic=17

 

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