Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘religious freedom’

Evil walks the earth, but the media doesn’t want you to know

Posted by sanityinjection on August 25, 2008

A truly horrifying event occurred in India today, but odds are you won’t hear about it on the news. Hindu religious extremists set fire to an orphanage run by Christians, killing a woman and a priest.

The mainstream media already devotes a shamefully small amount of time and space to overseas stories, unless there’s a war going on that involves white people. Additionally, religious violence is nothing new in India. Muslims and Hindus have been killing each other there on a regular basis for many years, and Hindu extremists have attacked Christians, especially foreigners, in the past – in 1999 an Australian missionary and his two sons were killed by a mob that set their car on fire.

However, if you examine this story closely, you begin to realize why this particular act is even more abominable. The story begins this past Saturday, when a Hindu religious leader and four other Indians were killed in an attack. Communist rebels are suspected.

Needless to say, the loss of a prominent Hindu religious led to a great deal of anger and grief among the poor Hindus of northeastern India. However, their response was to use the incident as an excuse to target local Christian missionaries, whom the Hindu extremists hate for trying to convert their countrymen. Never mind that nobody with half a brain suspected Christians of being involved in the Saturday attack.

So what did the extremists choose as their target? An orphanage, of all things – a place whose mission was to care for poor, parentless children, give them food, shelter, medical care, and yes, probably lessons on the Bible too. But come on, it’s an ORPHANAGE, for God’s sake. If Osama bin Laden himself opened an orphanage, it might not make me happy that he was raising little kids to be terrorists, but I wouldn’t set the place on FIRE.

Did these criminals sneak up and commit their murder in secret, like the cowardly Klansmen who blew up a black church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963? (This vile act crystallized support for civil rights in America and led directly to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 less than one year later.) No, they took a page from their mentors, the Nazis. They surrounded the orphanage and boldly told the residents (most likely native Indians) to leave the premises. They then locked the priest and the woman (who they probably thought was a nun), both presumably foreigners, inside the building and set fire to it. One wonders if they stood and watched to make sure neither of them escaped, and whether they enjoyed their victims’ screams. Thus they meted out punishment for the unconscionable crime of believing differently from the majority, and also for the crime of being white Westerners. I’m surprised they bothered to let the kids live after they’d been tainted with the beliefs of the foreign devils.

Like the Nazi atrocities of Krystallnacht in 1938, what is most horrifying about this act is that it was clearly planned in cold blood by people who did not fear the law – either because law enforcement is too weak to stop them, or worse, is passively supportive of their crime. So why wouldn’t this be significant enough to be a news story here in the US?

Answer: Because of the US news media’s intense bias against Christianity. (Disclaimer: I am not a Christian.)They never want to portray Christians or priests in a positive light or as victims, only as oppressors who abuse children. Also, in the media’s spastic love of the great rainbow of international diversity, they do not want to acknowledge that there are some (not all, not even most) brown people out there who want to kill white people (Only white people are supposed to be evil, hate-filled racists and bigots, so this doesn’t fit the script.) The only facts you must be allowed to know are those that support the worldview the media wants you to hold, because otherwise you can’t be trusted to draw the “correct” conclusions. You might make the mistake of thinking you’re pretty lucky to live in the big bad imperialist USA or one of her European running-dog lackeys, where you have the freedom to practice whatever faith you choose, and nobody’s going to set you on fire because of the color of your skin. You might make the mistake of concluding that Western society, with its respect for human and civil rights, might actually have something going for it despite its imperfections.

Nobody is going to take from this story that Indians, or Hindus, are horrible violent people. Most Indians and most Hindus surely find this as appalling as white people found the 1963 church bombing. What you should conclude, rather, is that 1) India, the world’s largest democracy, cannot or will not protect the religious freedom of its people or the lives of foreign residents, and 2) Advocating or practicing violence against others simply because they dare to hold different beliefs, or because their skin color or ethnicity is different, is a pure manifestation of evil, as evidenced by its methods. This means you, Islamic terrorists – and the media won’t like that association one bit, either. No, they want you to forget about what the funny little brown people are doing so far away and concentrate on what you are supposed to be doing, getting outraged on behalf of your neighbor whose house is being foreclosed, because he bought one much bigger and nicer than he needed by agreeing to a loan whose terms he knew he’d never be able to pay. Weep for this suburban victim, won’t you, and pay no attention to the minions of evil cackling while the flames rise higher and higher.


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Irony lost on Indonesia’s Muslims

Posted by sanityinjection on August 22, 2008

ABC News reports that students at a Christian theological seminary in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, have been forced off their campus by violence and threats from the Muslim-majority neighborhood.

This story is disturbing on many levels. Violence between Christians and Muslims in Indonesia is not new, but the government seems increasingly unwilling to protect the rights of minorities. One would generally expect the capital city to be the most cosmopolitan, liberal, and tolerant. It’s the face that the country shows to the outside world. If this is how things are in Jakarta, you can pretty much assume that religious freedom has ceased to exist in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and once considered an example of moderate Islam.

What is ironic about this? Consider the following: The Christian seminary is a wholly peaceful institution, which has never troubled anybody, and  whose students, faculty, and administration are all native Indonesians. They are being forced off their property, while numerous Islamic madrassas, which are founded with foreign (Saudi) money, whose faculty are mostly Arab foreigners, which preach hatred and violence, and which have been directly tied to terrorist attacks in Indonesia in which innocent civilians were killed, are allowed to flourish. Now, as a Muslim Indonesian, which insititution would you feel poses a greater danger to you?

Of course, there is always more to the story. Reading on, we discover that the trouble started after the school refused to sell their land to property speculators. It seems clear that the “religious” strife was whipped up by those seeking to profit from the school’s departure. That has disturbing echoes of the orchestration of violence and expulsions of Jews in Nazi Germany by neighbors who coveted their property and possessions. Indeed, it was a particular genius of the Nazis to popularize anti-Semitism by marrying it with a profit motive; those who profited from the plight of the Jews would have neither the motivation nor the credibility to oppose the Nazis in future.

As someone recently wrote, “I hope they end up with the country they deserve.”

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Jewelry, religious freedom, and education

Posted by sanityinjection on July 29, 2008

A tale of two court cases in Britain. The British High Court ruled today in favor of a 14-year old Sikh girl who was supended when she refused to remove her bracelet in compliance with a school policy forbidding jewelry. The court ruled that the bracelet, a thin steel bangle called a Kara, is part of the observance of Sikh religion and that the application of the ban in this case unreasonably restricted the girl’s freedom of religion.

This stands in contrast to a ruling a year ago upholding a school’s jewelry ban as applied to a teen girl who wore a “chastity promise” ring to class. There the court found that wearing such a ring was not an integral part of the Christian faith.

I think the court made the correct decision in both cases. But it raises the question in my mind: Why do schools in the UK feel the need to ban jewelry to begin with? I don’t have any children in the schools, so for all I know this may be common here in the US as well. But I’m not sure I see the reason for it. I have never been a particular fan of school uniforms, either. School dress codes should focus on protecting students’ safety, maintaining a respectful atmosphere and eliminating excessive distractions in the classroom. Now if a student felt the need to, say, wear a giant swastika around her neck, or a T-shirt with inflammatory or vulgar language on it, I think one could reasonably ban those items to maintain order. But I hardly think simple jewelry items would create major distractions in the classroom.

For girls (and increasingly for some boys) jewelry is a form of personal expression. I think that young people should be encouraged to develop and express their own style as individuals, provided they remain within reasonable norms of decency. Not to mention how much money the schools would save by not having to defend against these kinds of lawsuits.

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