Letter from Adam Sledd, Daily Local News, 10/11/13
This letter is in response to Tom Chambers’ letter regarding “threats to religious freedom.” Mr. Chambers laments the killing of Christians and others who seek religious freedom, and calls for the nations of the world to protect them.
Certainly, religious freedom is a noble pursuit and worthy of protection; Mr. Chambers generously includes “non-Christians” among those who are deserving of this freedom. As I agree with this sentiment, I must question what religion has to do with it at all. I would suggest that all people, independent of religion, deserve not to be killed.
Why, then, do most of the killings seem to be motivated by religion? Since the attacks on this country by religious extremists, many Americans have taken the view that Islam is a violent religion which calls for nonbelievers (infidels!) to be vanquished. (This is not new; a recent article in Salon about Thomas Jefferson’s Quran examines the same attitude among colonialists. Google it.) They attribute the violence to the religion itself rather than its followers, and cite their actions as evidence. However, the word “Islam” means peace, and there are many peaceful Muslims. I am sure that there are peaceful Afghanis who view Christianity as a violent religion. There are passages in the Quran that advocate violence toward nonbelievers; but these can also be found in the Christian Bible. The justification for violence is not in the writings, but in their interpretation by those who wish to be violent.
To gain perspective on this, I read about the Christian Crusades….
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