Why is it that some religions are loved more than others? Why is it okay for societies to hate and attack other religions?
What is it about skin pigmentation that bothers people? Why do non-Euro-American people suffer more than the latter?
These are questions that I have been thinking about recently, and in no small part because of this interview I read with Danny Masterson. Many religions advertise themselves differently. Catholics use their holidays and religious celebrations to promote the good they do, and have lots of history to fall back on. Jews are very good at keeping their traditions under wraps, and keeping their local advertising strictly to their communities. I would know. And Muslims have been on a huge PR rampage recently combating what different factions of Islam feel are inappropriate advertisements of their religion.
Regardless of anyone’s personal preferences and whatever spiritual system anyone believes in, isn’t a basic tenet of the First Amendment, freedom of religion? Doesn’t that mean that we should be tolerant of everyone else’s religious beliefs and not persecute them based on such? I thought it did. Maybe I was wrong.
Mssr. Masterson is a Scientologist and is being interviewed about his religious beliefs, and while I was reading it, I could not but help thinking, “Fuck yeah Danny.” Why? Because I agree with him. Religion and religious philosophies aren’t for everyone. I had a jewish mum and a catholic dad. Try growing up in that household. I grew up with so much religious strictness that I never even contemplated deviating from those religious morals until I was a junior in University and had little to nothing to do with any of my family. I displayed my religious beliefs proudly until then, and when I stopped practicing judaism (note, I still consider myself a jew) I stopped displaying anything to indicate that I was one. Because, quite frankly, what I believe is no one’s business except mine, my loved ones, and those I practice my religion with.
So we have a very fundamentalist christian majority in this country, that is extremely vocal about their own religion’s rightness in the world, and how other religions are terrible. And this isn’t limited to the USA either. Look at how most of the USA and many countries in Western Europe are treating ethnic muslims. Look at how most of the Middle East and parts of southern and Eastern Europe are treating jews. Look at the disparages Scientologists receive. These are all indicators of religious intolerance, which in the context of the First Amendment should be, and can be prosecuted.
Does that mean that you aren’t entitled to your opinion? Hell no! But what it does mean, is that even if you do not agree with a specific religion’s tenets, keep your mouth shut and treat those people like real human beings and not inferior animals. We did that with slaves (still do actually) and it did not turn out so well for those who kept (keep) that practice (especially when caught).
This leads directly to the part about race. Now, obviously, I think and there are numerous scientists who would agree with this statement, that race is an inaccurate description of the different parts of humanity. More accurately, we should call it ethnocentrism. This would mean the favoring of one ethnic group over another, like favoring white people over blacks, or thinking hispanics are harder workers than arabs. See what I did there? All of these are different advertising points that different agencies and organizations use to promote their own agendas and opinions.
Now, there are many problems with ethnocentrism, including the fact that in our current society, ethnic groups like Muslims, African-Americans, Hispanics, and anyone not white-caucasion, and of Euro-American decent is generally considered inferior in some way by large swathes of Americans. Does this seem right to you, because I find it abhorrent.
Sure, there are some of each of those ethnic groups that don’t pull their own weight in society (and for some it’s impossible to pull that much weight – joke: haha) and they feed stereotypes about certain ethnicities. But that does not mean that everyone is; lazy, a towel head, miserly, a radical, violent, abusive, a gangster, etc… for whatever stereotype you are thinking of. It does mean, that on some level, you are probably a bigot, and need to adjust your view on humanity.
How does all this tie in to my original point? Well, we are all endowed “with certain inalienable rights” that seem to have been forgotten in the constant chaos that is life, and the new and ever present conflicts that arise between ethnic groups. So, sure, you can be a scientologist, or a jew, muslim, christian or even a taoist, and still deserve the same respect accorded to your fellows. This also means that you should be able to practice whatever outlandish religion you want without being constantly harassed about it. And this holds true to your skin pigmentation. As long as you are a functioning member of society and contributing to the well being of your community, why the hell does it matter what you look like?
When we are talking about religions and race, and advertising your own opinions, is there any logical reason anyone else’s religion or appearance should offend you?