January and a new year means the beginning of the Social Justice Challenge. Natasha @ Maw Books, Hannah @ Word Lily, and Amy @ My Friend Amy, our lovely hosts for this challenge, are starting us off with the topic of religious freedom.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of religious freedom?
If we are playing word association, the first thing that comes to mind is Tudor England. Granted, I know that they were fighting between two different Christian religions but to have to denounce one or risk a very painful death epitomizes the struggle various religions have had gaining acceptance in the world. I then flash-forward to what the Islamic faithful must now combat, with people stereotyping an entire religion based on a few fanatics. I then move to the Jewish faith and the almost constant persecution they have experienced over the centuries.
What knowledge do you have of present threats to religious freedom in our world today?
I know that here in the United States, we still struggle with the idea of keeping church and state separate; actually, I question whether we have taken it too far at times. I know that an entire religion faces bias and retribution because the rest of the world unfairly views all Muslims as jihadists and religious fanatics who murder in the name of Allah. I know that Jews still face anti-semitism, and that the number of those who believe the Holocust was fabricated continues to grow. I know that the Jews and the Muslims continue to battle over what they each consider holy ground. I know that in 2010 people still use their specific religion to suppress others.
Have you chosen a book or resource to read for this month? (If not don’t worry, I’ll be updating the resource list this week)
Not yet, but I’m taking recommendations.
Why does religious freedom matter to you?
In studying the various religions, it appears to me that they are all very similar. They all believe in a Higher Power of some sort and all have a means to ensure that you reach that Higher Power through kindness, love, and charity. Yet, after thousands of years, mankind still continues to fight about which religion is better, to ban certain ones from being practiced, and so forth. For such an enlightened species, we certainly seem backwards in some areas. We should promote the values cherished by all religions and not worry about the minutia of the details.