You know, for a country whose bedrock principles include freedom of religion, we only do so okay. I doubt many Buddhists or Jews or Muslims are prevented from actually practicing their faith – and I may be wrong about that – but it’s for sure that they can only be so visible once they reach a certain plane. Consider Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of the House of Representatives, of whom Glenn Beck of CNN immediately said that he needed to be reassured that Ellison wasn’t a terrorist. (Ellison is my representative, and I can assure you he’s a lovely man whose concern for his neighborhood in North Minneapolis is apparent and whose politics are about peace.) Another rep said that Ellison should be required to take his oath of service on the Bible and made a big stink when Ellison preferred to take the oath on his copy of the Koran.
Today, in the House of Representatives, a Buddhist cleric was able to deliver the opening prayer, but several protesters had to be removed from the chamber before he could do so. They were shouting prayers and disrupting the Buddhist cleric’s words, referring to his presence as “an abomination in [the Lord’s] sight.” Nice.
This is exactly the kind of thing that leads me to doubt and distrust. Certainty in religion often seems to lead to intolerance, arrogance and finally oppression of others. Uncertainty seems to lead to more spirituality and connection with God. But where is the church where people say, “I’m not sure. Let’s figure it out together!” ?