Hiding Behind Faith

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I saw Mary, Queen of Scots last week and loved it! First of all, Saoirse Ronan was awesome as always. Actually, all of the acting was top notch. Secondly, the costuming and cinematography were superb. It was a great film experience. It is too bad that it highlighted a truth of history that continues to be an issue to this day: human beings like to use religion as a means of division and an excuse for hatred.

Even though the movie takes place in the 16th century, watching it makes one realize that we have changed little since then. Queen Mary of Scotland, a Catholic, and her cousin, Queen Elizabeth of England, a Protestant, found themselves at the center of campaigns of prejudice and bigotry being waged on both sides. In the end, Mary was imprisoned and finally executed. In the 21st century, people all over the world are being killed or imprisoned because of their religious beliefs. Just today, a teenage girl sought asylum from the UN due to the claim that her life was in danger because she renounced her religion. Too many choose to hide behind faith in their God to exercise control over others, to disguise their hatred of others, and to justify poor treatment of others.

It is easy to enter into this conversation with a sense of superiority, thinking “surely I do not use my faith in that way!” But hatred begins with a seed. That seed is sometimes as simple as a joke or a misconception. That seed then slowly grows and causes us to believe that we need to choose sides. Before you know it, you start to feel a little physical discomfort when you are in the presence of someone who is “other.”

This very website has been the object of slurs and hateful propaganda, which will never be allowed to be seen, not because I am afraid or have something against free speech and a good argument, but because there is no reason to water the seeds. We all need to  make sure that these seeds receive no water and nourishment. Never allow religion to be twisted into a weapon. Never allow someone’s faith to be a reason for discrimination. Never use God as a pawn in a game of hate.

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