30 June 2008
This about sums it up for me. It is credited to Jeffrey Nielsen, a professor of philosophy who was ousted from the church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, in 2006 after criticizing the church's position on gay marriage in a newspaper column:
"No one is asking that you condone a behavior that might violate your religious faith, but we need to allow everyone the freedom to live their life as they see fit."
I really like the sentiment there. I am one who respects all religion and faiths (or lack thereof), regardless if it's something I believe in or agree with. My only stipulation, if ever there was one rule that would encompass everything needed to live peacefully, it would be this: Do as you please, so long as it hurts no one and doesn't force your will upon another. I can see that in so many religious "ethics of reciprocity"...Christianity is known for the Golden Rule, Wicca abides by the Wiccan Rede, it's the core belief in Thelema's Book of the Law, and Islam has the 13th Hadith. In fact, despite what some think, even Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, and Pastafarians are capable of following a moral compass.
I'm a little sick of the hatred generated by so-called People of God. In all I've read, about multiple religions, the idea isn't to hate, or destroy, or malign. It's about love, acceptance, and tolerance. I mean, even Aristotle had it right: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
If you think the US Constitution's First Amendment (the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference) applies only to your religion, then you're in the wrong country. Go to the Middle East, see what that mindset has accomplished. And don't tell me it's all because Islam is a violent faith; anyone who's actually read the Qu'ran instead of taking their arguments from the media would know better. Don't be ignorant; in this day and age, it's no longer an excuse.