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Stimulating Opinion Articles

By Ken Poland
Opinion | February 1, 2011

man-reading-newspaper.jpgCOLBY, Kan. - Congratulations to Vickie for her recent article. She may have set the record for motivating response to opinion articles here at Kansas Free Press (KFP).

Our editor-in-chief says we have over 332,000 people who came in and browsed the menu at KFP in the month of January 2011. Our editor also tells us that from 11,000 to 17,000 unique visitors come to KFP's website every day! We all appreciate those who take the time and effort to join in the discussions, both pro and con to our articles. We also appreciate that our regular contributors and visitors show courtesy and respect, even for those with quite differing opinions.

When we look around the world and observe the conflicts between people and nations, we can't help but notice that religion is a major contributor to the world's conflicts. I don't think any single brand of religion is free from radical extremists. All religions and non-religions (Judaism, Muslim, Christian, atheists, humanists, naturalists, etc.) have those who wish to dominate society around them.

two-men-talking-reading-newspaper.jpgI firmly believe the secret to our nation's survival for these two hundred plus years is the amendment to the original constitution that declares that the governing body and authorities cannot promote or restrict any persons or groups on the basis of their religious associations or beliefs.

Some of us fear that we have government officials who step over or around that amendment. It appears that, here in the United States, it is the Christians verses all others in vying for the dominate position of authority. Both sides are equally guilty.

We all have a degree of difficulty in maintaining tolerance for those around us who seem to have different forces that motivate and drive us in our relationship with mankind.

We all have a tendency to draw the line giving ourselves maximum room to promote our agenda and hopefully limit others from having quite the same amount of freedom and influence.


6 Comments

Ken--As usual, you've written a thoughtful article on the problem of religion and dominance. I'm not sure it's religion, per se, that causes the problem. I'm not religious, but I have many religious friends and we get along just fine. What I see as the problem is the need for power of certain religious groups over people who don't share their beliefs. That push for power is often cloaked in a religious agenda. Let's take the issue of choice, for example. Many religious sects believe that a woman should exercise her own conscience in relationship to abortion and/or birth control. However, members of those sects who believe abortion is immoral seem to think that their beliefs should prevail and they play the power game to make that happen.

I have mentioned this before in response to other blogs on this subject. When I taught at Butler Community College, faculty members were required to attend graduation. At that graduation, a Christian minister or priest was always asked to give the invocation. Among the faculty and students were Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Ba'hais, secular humanists, agnostics, and athiests. Why should those people at a public tax-supported institution be subjected to a prayer given by a member of a faith they don't believe in? That's where I draw the line as far as my tolerance goes.

Diane


Diane, you will note that I said 'extremists' and 'radicals'.

I am of the Christian faith and I can honestly say I would have no problem with allowing a Wiccan to address the assembly in a manner that parallels the Christian prayer. As long as the Wiccan's prayer, chant or whatever they call it doesn't call for violation of any persons physical being or freedom of belief, then he or she has the same freedom of speech or expression as I do. By the same token, the Christian's prayer should not make the non Christian feel like they are being threatened or condemned by the person offering the prayer.

All Christians don't agree with me. But, our constitution says if the Christian can pray wherever and whenever, then others must be given that same privilege. If a professor can reveal their Christian faith, then the same freedom should be allowed for any other faith. Simply revealing your faith is quite different from belittling others faith. Attempting to discredit the validity of evolution or creation goes beyond simply pointing out the fact that all people aren't in full agreement on that issue. The simple truth is: the creationist cannot prove the absolute time line covered in the process of creation. Neither can the evolutionist prove that the process of evolution isn't a process used by the creator.

Abortion and birth control are serious issues that both sides can come with plausible arguments defending their positions. The anti side has some problems with consistency in their argument. Is the egg and the sperm living organisms? If they are then even the rythm method is artificially wasting or killing living organisms. We have very little problem with defining murder as the taking of life without justifiable reason. There is no question that a breathing human being is life, no matter the age. But, is an embryo at whatever stage a breathing human being? What is meant by 'breath of life'? Not even all Christian associations agree on when life, as it relates to our physical life, begins. Most all agree on the spiritual life as, at the least, beginning at conception. But then, some believe that every spiritual life was created when God created the universe. Does man have the power to create or destroy spiritual life?

Just for the record, I happen to be pro-choice. Right or wrong? I'm not the authority that can make that judgment for anyone but myself. And the consequences of my judgment is between me and my God.


Ken--We don't disagree. In fact, I would like to see a Wiccan say a prayer at the Butler commencement exercises. However, since I'm retired, the issue isn't relevant to me anymore. Diane


They have some people from alternate and new age religions give the daily prayer at the state capital. All one has to do is apply and they let schedule that person in.


I am reminded of a pastor from Wichita ( I think) who opened the Kansas legislative session with a prayer, delivered behind an assumed protestant religious pulpit, that was a condemnation and judgment on all the sins of society and our government officials, who didn't fit his declaration of righteousness. That kind of invocation is not appropriate and should be denounced by all, regardless of religious belief.


Ken, nice article. I believe that tolerance is this country's greatest challenge. It is difficult for humans to acknowledge others who disagree with them, in a respectful way. It's not just religion but also free speech, and free press. If we can teach more tolerance in public discussion we will do a lot of work toward furthering our national debate. One reason I log on to this site to comment from time to time is that the debate is reasonable, and respectful. Keep up the good work.


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