THE ITHACAN

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The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

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Combating Religious Persecution with Open-Mindedness

In a country filled with so much ethnic diversity, different beliefs are bound to arise. Political, social, economic, culturally; all of these differences make up our country. Perhaps the greatest source of stereotypes comes from religious affiliation. If you follow a certain faith, you are automatically put into a certain category. The fact of the matter is that your spiritual beliefs do not dictate who you are as a person.

Catholicism is often associated with strict views- no sex before marriage, no same-gender relationships, and a strict interpretation of the Bible. Many of the older generations especially are devout followers, but many have more open and “modern” beliefs such as in the case of marriage equality. Those who follow the Jewish faith are often depicted as cheap or greedy, which is obviously not the case. There may be some that are, but there are also cheap Christians, Muslims, Agnostics, Catholics, Protestants, etc. The Islamic faith is often seen as a group of radicals who hate Americans, which is an irrational fear that broke out after 9/11 and is an unfair view of Muslims. Atheists are some of the most misunderstood people; the world sees them as Satanists or as a cult-like entity when, in reality, they merely just have a different belief when it comes to the afterlife.

The point that I want to make is this: no matter what your spiritual beliefs are, there will be people who put you into certain groupings. This is a result of the extremists in religion who have created an image that is unfairly placed on all who have the same or similar beliefs. Our country prides itself on welcoming diversity, yet religion causes so much conflict and so many hard feelings. And why do people hate each other for their religion? If Person A believes that apple pie is the best dessert in the world and Person B is a proud sponsor of chocolate cake, can they not be friends anymore? This may sound ridiculous, but that’s what it’s like to hate someone for their belief in life after death. So maybe persons A and B can’t sit down for dessert together- just like two people of different religions wouldn’t go to church together- but that is their right. It is their right to believe in what they choose and express their beliefs.

My religious beliefs? They don’t matter. However, I do believe that people have the right to do/believe in what they wish AS LONG AS they are not infringing on others’ rights/beliefs. Any person should be able to believe in what they choose without being judged, provided that they are not offending or harming other groups. If people can learn to accept (or at least tolerate) other religions, then the persecution and hatred could all subside into a world without limitations.

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