Saturday, 11 September 2010

Very little religious tolerance in the world

The US is marking nine years since 9/11 amid controversy over plans for an Islamic centre near Ground Zero. Coupled with this a Florida pastor who is threatening to to burn the Koran. Click here for the BBC report.

Religion unfortunately is responsible for great unrest and strife on this planet. Life is too short to argue with our brothers and sisters about our own interpretation of who is God and how we should behave in the name of religion. The end game is that we cannot agree.

I have a certain respect for "religious freedom" but not when it is used as an excuse to impinge on the freedom of others. Religion can only operate without controversy if there is tolerance of others present. Unfortunately the reality is there seldom is.

Burning books and symbols of hate is nothing new in America. Beatles records were burnt after remarks made by John Lennon, about the group being bigger than Christ, and it upset Christian right fundamentalists in the US. The Ku Klux Klan burn crosses when expressing their hatred which has Scottish origins. In Scotland, the fiery cross, known as the Crann Tara, was used as a declaration of war.

Religion is responsible for too much sectarianism in the world and is used by Imperialists to divide and rule in particularly in their colonies. Ireland is an example. And in the West coast of Scotland differences between Catholic and Protestant or Celtic and Rangers keeps the working class masses occupied, instead of them questioning authority or thinking about socialism, peace or independence.

Life is too short to fight over an ideal unless it promises practical benefits such as socialism. Ultimately International Socialism should bring tolerance, harmony and love for our fellow brothers and sisters.

Unfortunately to change so much hate in the world into societies of peace, socialism and understanding and tolerance involves sacrifice. That is why I follow the teachings of John Maclean and James Connolly. They offered hope through their own sacrifice and that still applies today.

If the US pastor carries out his threat to burn the Koran it will simply stir up more hatred in the world. Perhaps it is time to reflect on the need for love in the world. That can only happen if we set out to destroy hatred and greed. Then perhaps we can afford the luxury to ponder about an after life or god which does not impinge on our freedoms on planet earth. We cannot allow ourselves to think otherwise.

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