Why is it that some people in the U.S. are so willing to suppress others because of their religious faith, even while acknowledging the value of religious freedom within our country? Disheartening as it is for me, often this behavior appears to be acceptable to people who believe wholeheartedly that they are being socially targeted for acts of discrimination because of their religious views.
I can’t tell you how often I have heard that this country was founded on Christian principles from someone who felt slighted by some notion that there are other religious views beyond Christianity held by Americans. Yet, many of us who claim to be Christians are more than eager to diminish the quality of life for some of our fellow Americans through acts of discrimination, harassment, and I guess violence, given the free floating social comments that I am exposed to regularly.
These comments, in my opinion, fail to meet the principles of Christianity at the most basic level. From what I hear during conversations, and God help me, public broadcast, many of us are willing to take up arms, and consequently, “take out” whoever we believe is associated with individuals who have displayed culturally identified deplorable values and behaviors-no legal process needed. It does not even appear to matter to us whether this presumed association involves direct contact or some distant similarities that we have decided are equivalent to some form of clear cut association.
Our history is fraught with this same tired, old story. It’s as if many of our social members are slow learners, or either completely unaware of historical facts. Mr.Trump, along with all of his bizarre minded contemporaries, is by no means orchestrating a new American tale. In fact, creativity appears to be severely lacking at every turn where this particular version of the story is concerned. These prominent members of our society, who have access to involvement in large scale public commentary that most of us do not have access to, count on uneducated people who lack critical thinking skills to help them push their social agendas along. These people require the hard work of underexposed/naïve people who will not question the validity of the arguments put forward to meet their inhumane objectives.
This is an ethnic discrimination story, rather than our typical racial discrimination story, but no less, another American discrimination story. History tells us that based on the words of hateful people who posit having a special kind of knowing that is absent the rest of us and who use our fears about the unpredictable nature of tomorrow, a number of us will grow comfortable enough with our misguided sense of righteousness that we will take our fear and anger out on people who don’t deserve such acts from us. As a result, we will, through modeling, teach our children that it is okay to be a bigot, and we will show them that we don’t need to treat others as we would like to be treated. Rather, we’ll teach them to stick it to them, so to speak, with no shame or regret for our behavior. We’ll likely show our children that people who suggest that refraining from mistreating “bad people” are actually traitors, and those people who dare to take a stand against the evils of discrimination will also pay a social price for trying to live a life where fairness and a love of humanity is a core value.
Please remember that Muslims can be of any racial makeup, and Middle Eastern people are largely regarded as White, given phenotype assessments that indicate the social construction of race. Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Turkish, African, French, German, Puerto Rican, and so on are all ethnic labels, as are Muslim, Hindu, and Christian.
Given our history of misplaced anger and fear, we will likely spend the next few decades acknowledging our wrong doings through a slow and irritating process. Discussions full of stale attempts to get to the bottom of the issue so that we can try to make some good intentioned moves in a more humane direction will generate little, if any, real movement. Whatever movement in a more humane direction we do make will be at a painstakingly slow pace; our racial conversations have already proven that to be a likely outcome.