The modern and negative view on religion
By Mercedes Deutscher, Staff Writer
I’m a Christian, and no, I’m not out to convert you, tell you that you’re going to hell, or picket funerals. Yet in the case of declaring my religious beliefs, I feel as uneasy as someone who is coming out as homosexual.
Kind of a strange comparison, isn’t it? I fear persecution for being who I am. I’m afraid that my legally protected rights—entrenched in Section 2b of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms—still won’t protect me from facing rejection from my peers.
There was once a time when it was okay to be religious, as recent as 50 years ago. Times have changed, and religion has been ostracized during an age of social reform. Don’t mistake me. I’m content that we are living in a mostly equal society that continues to become more inclusive. But what has been sacrificed along the way?
Three years ago, when posting about my religion on Facebook, a friend of mine kept ranting on how I was wrong, why my God didn’t exist, and that I was a part of a group of hateful people. It hasn’t gotten easier from there.
I’m not the only one. There are people who try to come from a position of love and kindness, partially due to their religion, and have been criticized because of their “imaginary friend.” Members of Sikh temples have come to the aid of those who needed help, yet are turned away because they are devoted enough to their religion to wear turbans. Instead of receiving a polite decline in a religious conversation, a Mormon elder is disrespected.
It’s easy to see where many anti-religious attitudes come from. There is no secret that groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, the KKK, Al-Queda, and ISIS have received justified negative attention. It becomes unjustified when that negative attention leaks into normal religious groups. Not all Christians are opposed to certain races, sex, and sexual equality, just as not all Muslims are violent extremists.
If you are an atheist or choose not to have a religion, that’s not a problem. But to belittle and bully people because they do have a religion is.
When we coexist instead of fight over religion (or lack of), we can accomplish truly amazing things.