Conflicting Beliefs

I wonder of there is any hatred and distrust as deep and pervasive as that between or among various religious sects. It has been said that human history is the history of wars and a great many of them — far too many — are religious wars. The Christians hate the Muslims and the Muslims hate the Christians and — as Tom Lehrer so cleverly pointed out — everyone hates the Jews.

The latest story out of the Middle East is disquieting, to say the least. Religious extremists have attacked the American embassy in Cairo and In Libya the American Ambassador and three diplomats were killed by extremists — all over a movie funded by Morris Sadek, an American Christian, that seeks to show the depth of prejudice in Egypt toward the Christians by the Muslims who dominate the culture in that region of the world. As a recent Yahoo News article points out

 “Protesters in Egypt chanted Sadek’s name because of his support for the film, which presented the Prophet as a bloodthirsty womanizer and religious fake, among other characterizations that deeply offended many Muslims who consider any depiction of the Prophet as blasphemous.

Now I am not an expert in foreign policy, but common sense tells me that a movie depicting the leader of one of the world’s major religions as a “bloodthirsty womanizer and religious fake” is certain to stir up anger and hatred — especially in a region of the world where “America” is something of a dirty word. Of course, that is hard for us to fathom, because we are blinded by our pride and don’t see this country from the perspective of the rest of the world. But it is certainly the case that in the Middle East, at the very least, this country is the embodiment of evil. Obama’s presidency has helped, but as one wag recently pointed out, it will take more than a few speeches to mend the broken fences between this country and the Muslim countries. And Michele Bachmann’s recent crusade against the Muslim Brotherhood certainly won’t help matters a bit.

In any event, the incident in Libya has become a political football as Mitt Romney has leveled untimely criticism at Obama’s foreign policy in the region and the Democrats point out that Romney has a tendency to put his foreign policy foot in his mouth and is not the man to deal with such a volatile situation. Neither side wants to yield as each points fingers and accuses the other of incompetence and inexperience. And while the bodies in Libya are still warm newsmen debate in public which political candidate most “benefits” from the upheaval in the Middle East. Does anyone wonder why this country is held in low esteem by so many people around the world?

In any event, whether it is a political football or merely another chapter in the history of humankind that exhibits our inability to get along with one another, much less to tolerate religious differences, recent events in the Middle East raise red flags and should make us all aware that whichever man is elected to the Presidency in this country, he had better be able to present a formidable front while at the same time showing that he can mend fences and admit that while we don’t do things the way other people do things, they may be right and we may be wrong. That’s something it is difficult for Americans to admit.

13 thoughts on “Conflicting Beliefs

  1. This is truly sad that people lost lives over this. The terrible irony is the Ambassador was just the kind of hands on diplomat who spoke the language of the people. So, in essence, the extremists killed the kind of person Libyans would want to deal with. When a person yells fire in a theater like the movie maker or we have the numbskull minister in Florida burning a Koran, our leaders should rightfully denigrate these actions and not condone hateful free speech. When leaders though do hateful things – like Michele Bachmann, that is another thing. We all know Governor Romney. right or wrong, was going to seize the moment. But, the first thing we all have to realize and question is Romney is not the President of the United States and he should not act like it. Not being President means he is not privy to all the facts as we know them today. Beating on your chest serves no purpose other than beating on your chest. BTG

    • Romney was way out of line and instead of admitting his error he took the offensive. He has good advisers because this is what the people on the fence want to hear. Don’t apologize, be aggressive! I fear that’s what we have come to.

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  2. Hi Hugh!! You are so righ about religion leadinng to bloodshed. It is hard for me to comprehend – maybe because I am not religious. This is so depressing. If we blame every government for the. Irresponsible intternet activity of its citizens, where will we be? Maybe I am missing something here. Thanks for starting the conversation!!!

  3. Hugh,
    Thoughtful post. The bottom line is that many Americans don’t understand that Freedom (in our definition) is not a universal value, as we see many folks in the Middle East struggle to deal with or accept freedom of speech (especially political and religious) at this point in history. Will it ever change?

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