Wednesday, June 15, 2016


The Orlando massacre is bringing many of the nation's burning issues together. It is easy to look for and present simple answers rather than workable and fair ones: LGBT community being under attack from fear born out of religious or social phobias, Discrediting the Muslim religion as a whole, Broad brushing immigrants negatively, including ones who are not yet full citizens. Cherishing the notion of easily available guns, including assault weapons. Also our need to find better, clearer ways to keep guns out of the hands of persons known to be at risk for using them in human violence.

Here is an important awareness I don’t hear stated often. All religions that originated in the middle east.. Judaism , Christianity and Islam have often emphasized human 'obedience' to higher authority. This as an inner  spiritual practice for the devout is a key to all world  religious . This principle, so practiced, can also provide important levels of  stability and safety to a surrounding society. But taken to inappropriate extremes as  outer commands,  'obedience'  has often caused persons  to accept horrendous attitudes and acts as 'God's Will'(whether killing, invading, denying rights of or marginalizing anyone seen as different); and then turn against their human neighbors with violence, demeaning words and conduct. These three religions in their healthier aspects encourage people to think soberly, to ask questions before acting or 'obeying' in ways that are obviously harmful to others or self.

So we are rightfully concerned and should notice anytime persons of any of these three religions in their various forms get too caught up in 'obedience' , taking their ancient texts too literally, and thus stop responsible thinking and discernment. All our religions have the capacity to bless humankind or to bring harm. And all have done both at various times and places. This is simply the complicated truth..(And it is sadly true that unspeakable approved violence is found in all the religious texts and easily becomes an excuse for violence to those caught up in unthinking 'obedience.')

Every well informed religious person remembers constantly that God equally loves and is active in all Humankind, not just our religion, our family, or our nation. We need to cultivate from our various religious heritages a view that 'God So Loves The World' and of "Peace on Earth, Good Will To All'. These central teachings of common care and responsible relationship are also central to all the world religions and we should hold each other to account, within and among our religions, in preserving them as our mode of life in America. For these have been foundational commitments to each other from our beginning.

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