I’d be the first to admit that there are people I do not like; faiths which I feel are destructive, prejudicial, and antithetical to human rights; and politicians who I believe pursue unproductive and often evil ends. But, at least so far, I haven’t gone around shooting them or filling the air and the internet with vituperation and hate speech. And I certainly wouldn’t even think about doing violence to individuals merely because of their beliefs, sexual or political orientation, gender, or their ethnic background. I might well consider violence against those who have actually committed violence against others on grounds of belief, gender, ethnicity or the like.
But what I want to know is why so many people in the world believe that it is their right, duty, or obligation to beat up, torture, kill, or restrict the personal freedom of those who do not share their religious faith, sexual orientation, or political beliefs. I can understand locking up people who commit violent acts, and I can even understand violent protests against oppression.
But what earthly or unearthly good is accomplished by staging a protest against someone’s sexuality at that person’s funeral? Especially when someone has been cruelly murdered because of their sexual orientation?
Europe was wracked with centuries of religious wars over which faith would control what government. Tens of millions of innocents died. That was exactly why the Founding Fathers wanted separation of church and state, yet today we now have millions of various religious fundamentalists here in the United States demanding that secular law conform to their beliefs.
Just because it’s far worse in much of the world shouldn’t really offer much comfort. In terms of basic human rights, why should any government have the right to support or to enforce practices that insist that leaving the faith – whatever that faith might be – merits a death sentence? Or that anyone who criticizes or mocks a faith or its tenets or its prophets or leaders deserves to die? Or that genders other than straight heterosexual males have lesser or no rights, or perhaps even no right to life?
All of that boils down to outright hatred of anyone who is different. It’s one thing to hate someone for actual despicable acts; it’s another to hate simply because people are different. Or perhaps, it’s just an excuse to grab or hold power, and that makes it even more despicable.
But then, it’s oh so much simpler just to claim that all differences are “wrong,” and should be punished… or that people deserve what comes to them because they don’t share the same beliefs. It’s funny, too, how so many people who pray to the same almighty god are so willing to kill people who don’t believe in that same god in the same way.