Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter August 30, 2005
During July the attention of many people around the world was focused on the terrorist attacks in London and in other areas around the world. The terrorist attacks in London appear to be motivated partly by religious beliefs. History records many acts of injustice and hate
inflicted in the name of religion. Some Nazis used religion as an
excuse to hate and kill Jewish people. Unfortunately, religious hated
has not been aimed at only one group of people. Hatred is an equal
opportunity employer – willing to employ anybody and everybody
in acts against others. At one time or another, Islamic, Jewish, and
Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christians have all suffered from
religiously inspired hatred. Homophobia and transphobia may have a
religiously inspired element for some people.
Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck wrote the book The Road Less Traveled. A few of the things he identifies as being part of the dirty bath water
surrounding religion includes holy wars, inquisitions, human
sacrifice, superstition, dogmatism, rigidity, cruelty, book-burning,
witch-burning, fear and “morbid guilt.” Religion has also
been a source of many wonderful things. Because men and women of God
from many different world religions have contributed much to relief
the pain and distress humanity feels, we cannot easily conclude that
religion is bad. Scott Peck asks the question if it is belief in God
or the human tendency to be dogmatic that is the problem.
There is nothing wrong with holding to the ideals, beliefs and values of a
faith. There is not even anything wrong with adhering doggedly to the
beliefs, dogma and values of a faith tradition. The problem comes
when we are mean-spirited, cruel and hate filled toward those who do
not share all of our spiritual perspectives on life. One reason why
people react with cruel and hate-filled responses to those who do not
share their spiritual beliefs, values or practices is very weak
faith. Hate-filled people are easily threatened by those who do not
live, think and worship exactly as they do. They fear coming in
contact with people who have different beliefs might make them less
acceptable to God. Perhaps, the real problem with religiously based
hate is that we tend to make God in our own image – into a
cruel, heartless, God who will not accept anybody who is different
than we are.
Islam is not to blame for the terrorist attacks in London. A few extremists
are to blame for the terrorist attacks in London. Terrorism that
appears to be conducted by some Islamic extremists is a concern to
many Islamic spiritual leaders. News reports carry stories of Islamic
clerics saying that the murder of innocent people is not in harmony
with the principles of Islam. We commend those Islamic people who are
bravely speaking out against violence.
A few articles that could be of interest to those who are following the
terrorist attacks in London appear below:
British Broadcasting Corporation - A July article reports about leaders from a number of world religions, including Islam, condemning the bombings in the London subway and bus system.
Daily Times - The July article in the daily times titled British Muslims at forefront in fight against dark forces reports on a meeting of some important British Islamic leaders. Mufti Muhammad Gul Rehman Qadri is cited in the article as characterizing the situation as a holy war of Muslim versus Muslim. The article reports on a fatwa as saying, "The
attacks in London have no Islamic justification . . ."
News Telegraph - An article reports an Islamic leader as
telling moderate Muslims that they do not have to be defensive about
being British citizens.
British Broadcasting Corporation - Feature Faces Behind
the Faith. In this article, six Islamic people share about their
faith. This article helps put a face on Islam and can help people
understand that the extremists who engage in terrorist attacks do
not represent all of Islam. This is an excellent article for people
who are not acquainted with the diversity present in Islam.
We encourage everybody to be very kind and generous to Islamic people. In most of Europe and North America, Islam is a minority religion. Many Islamic people may be living with fear, because of the terrorist attacks in London. They have some reason for fear. In a Religion
News Service article in the Adventist Review, Robert Nowell writes, "In the three weeks after July 7, 269 religious hate crimes were recorded, compared to 40 in the equivalent three-week period in 2004. Most of these were verbal abuse and minor assaults, but they also included damage to mosques." The good news is that Americans seem to have a more positive view of Islam than they had after the terrorist attacks of September 11. Holly Rossi, in a Religion News Service article in the Adventist Review reports the percentage of Americans with a positive view of Islam increased from 45% after 9-11 to 55%.
The Canadian law legalizing same-sex marriages passed both the House of
Commons, the Canadian Senate and received Royal Ascent. Same-sex
marriages are now legal across Canada. The Conservative Party of
Canada says they will revoke the legal right for gay people to get
married, if they are elected as the next government. The battle for
gay marriage rights in Canada is probably far from being over. Should the gay marriage debate gain national attention again, there could be an increase in violence aimed at gay people.
The PlanetOut web site has a news story about the Gay Pride Parade in
Jerusalem, Israel. A man was charged with three accounts of attempted
murder for stabbing three people at the Parade. Fortunately, none of
the victims were seriously injured.
Our hearts really go out to those members and adherents of the United
Church of Christ congregations that have been the targets of arson
and/or vandalism. Since the United Church of Christ started the God
is Still Speaking campaign, which openly advertises to gays and other
people who traditionally do not feel welcome in churches, a couple of
their congregations have faced attacks from people who might be
opposed to gay rights. PlanetOut carries a story about anti-gay
graffiti and arson taking place at St. John's Reformed United Church
of Christ in Middlebrook, Virginia. The entire story can be read at
The memorial pages of our web site have been updated. There are five or
six new memorial pages for the victims of hate crimes. One of the
additions is for three year old Ronnie Antonio Paris. He was
killed by his father. According to news reports, it appears his
father was trying to teach him to fight, so he would not grow up to
be gay. Links to numerous memorial pages can be found at
We are willing to create simple memorial pages for the victims of
hate crimes or to link to existing memorial pages. You are welcome to
email us with suggestions for new memorial pages.
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