(USA Today) Oliver Thomas—Religious rights vs. the public’s right

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Religion is a tricky business. It can bring out the best in a person. Think Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer or Mother Teresa. But it can also bring out the worst. Think 9/11, the Inquisition or the Salem witch trials. What I'm saying is that religion can short-circuit your ability to think. You sometimes can't see things as they really are because irrational beliefs get in the way. I'll give you a couple of examples.

In New York, ultra-Orthodox Jews are criticizing the Brooklyn district attorney for prosecuting Jewish child sex-abuse cases, according to The New York Times. The newspaper reports that a 16-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish boy was being molested in a Jewish ritual bathhouse in Brooklyn. After his father reported the crime to police, the father said he was shunned, cursed and kicked out of his apartment by other ultra-Orthodox Jews for trying to protect his son.

In California, inmate Billy Paul Birdwell argued that his religion, Asatru-Odinism, required him to have open space and a fire pit. Prison officials gave him the open space and even built a fence around it. But when officials later replaced that space with a non-denominational outdoor area, Birdwell complained that his religious needs weren't met. Starting to get the picture? To people living within a particular religious tradition, the beliefs always seem reasonable. But there are limits to how far we as a nation can go in protecting the rights of citizens to exercise their faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General

Posted June 13, 2012 at 11:20 am

To comment on this article: Go to Article View

The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/43395/

1. High_Church wrote:

I love the “best” examples of religious people…“Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer or Mother Teresa.”  Of course, these are the “best” examples, because there expression of what religion is all about is essentially ethics.  Ethics does threaten nor offend anybody or any system, because it’s essential inert.  That is to say, there is nothing behind it to compel conformity other than a wagging finger and naive rebuke which exhorts you to be ethical because it’s best for you or best for others or best for all.  But ethics does not have the foundation upon which to speak truth to power.  This is probably why all the ethicist academics in German fled to the United States before things got really bad under the Nazis so they could wag their fingers from a safe distance.  Rather the best examples of religious people are Andre Trocme (a French Huguenot pastor who lead his congregation in hiding Jews), Paul Schneider, Maximilian Kolbe, Franz Jagerstatter, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and many many others.  This is why Jesus is only palatable to the mainstream when he is reduced to some sort of moralist, because the Christ of radical judgment and radical forgiveness, who addressed the sinful nature of man’s wicked heart, by a bloody death and supernatural resurrection is an offense.  Let us proclaim it loudly for it is the power of God unto salvation.
*Disclaimer: While Mother Teresa is used by the mainstream media as an example of the moralist, I’m not suggesting she did not have a genuine faith if Christ also.

June 14, 1:46 pm | [comment link]

© 2014 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.

For original material from Titusonenine (such as articles and commentary by Dr. Harmon) permission to copy and distribute free of charge is granted, provided this notice, the logo, and the web site address are visible on all copies. For permission for use in for-profit publications, please email KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com

<< Back to main page

<< Return to Mobile view (headlines)