War & peace

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It is now December, which, in this country, is defined as the Christmas season. Tradition says it is to be a month of joy.

We are to celebrate Christ’s birth, exchange gifts and feast on the holiday. It is supposed to be a time of peace. During the Civil War and both world wars there are accounts of soldiers stopping their battles and engaging in a meal with the other side. Christmas simply embodies peace.

A look at today’s world simply declares that the custom of Christmas is forgotten. We are a world at war. Unfortunately, today’s wars find their roots in religious intolerance. That is not a new reason for war. One needs only to look at the Crusades, the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants in Europe and the Roman persecution of Christians to realize that religious conflicts have been with us over the centuries. Religious intolerance seems to have intensified since 1900.

The Muslim, Turkish Ottoman empire in 1915 invaded Christian Armenia in 1915 and slaughtered a million Armenian Christians. Hitler convinced the German populace in the 1930s that the Jews were the source of Germany’s economic woes and sought to exterminate the Jewish race in German-controlled areas. Today Communist China is waging serious oppression on its Muslim minority. The middle east is now boiling over with war between Israel and HAMAS. Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan are at a constant state of skirmishes on their mutual border. Religion often propels war as witnessed by these events.

Today in this country we have pro-Palestinian groups chanting from “the river to the sea” which is simply a code for the annihilation of the Jews in Israel and the formation of a Muslim state. We also have some Christian related groups that show hatred toward those of the Islamic faith.

We are forgetting that our founding fathers saw religious intolerance and sought to avoid it. They wanted a nation of laws and not a segregated theocracy. They stressed in the Constitution that all men are equal. Tolerance would be afforded towards religious beliefs. We would not have a state religion. The concept of not having a state sponsored religion was unheard of in the western world in the 1700’s. The United States accomplished religious freedom and that concept has worked for 250 years. Today that concept is under fire.

Our schools today rarely go into any thoughtful classroom teaching about history and religious tolerance. History and governmental classes are not the priority of the classroom. Our youth are taught about public initiatives and majority rules as a basic of democracy. We have forgotten that we are a nation of laws that historically has abhorred mob rule. We are rapidly approaching mob rule from both sides of the political spectrum. People fled to this nation to avoid religious persecution. Today many of those are now seeking to persecute those who they disagree with. For 200-plus years the U.S. has been the beacon of freedom and rule of law. That beacon has influenced this world  and has hopefully stopped some religious conflicts in the world. If we lose that beacon we will simply become like much of the world and the group that has the numbers will prevail and minority freedoms will be a forgotten dream.

America needs to demonstrate to the world what true freedom and rule of law entails. This country does not need to let fanatics of any type gain power over the decision making aspects of our government. Failure to be the beacon for the world means that peace fails, and war will thrive.