They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.
Posted by Anni on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
After yesterday’s post about the infuriating behavior of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools—they refused membership to Iman Academy, a Muslim school in the state, and made headlines by refusing to reschedule a game with a Jewish Orthodox school (the game fell on the Sabbath)—I’ve been thinking a lot about religious holy days and public education. Christmas has always been a school holiday, while other non-Christian holidays like Hanukkah or the two Muslim holidays of Eid, have not. I think this is an important issue to discuss. If we are giving kids days off for Christmas, don’t we have an obligation to respect all other religious days? If we don’t respect other religious days, should we start having school on Christmas?
Posted by Anni on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
I am not a religious person. When I was a child, my parents encouraged me to attend religious events, to find my own way. I went to a Catholic church for a while, then to a synagogue, then to a mosque. I read the Bible, the Quran, the Popol Vuh, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Torah. In the end, I couldn’t decide which story made the most sense. Why should I believe in Jesus over Zeus? I realized that, for me, evidence-obsessed as I am, the thing that made the most sense was no story at all. Sometimes I wish I had a shared story with a group of people, so we could all feel connected. For me, the lure of religion (and please forgive me if this is sacrilegious) is more about people, friends and neighbors, than it is about God. Though I do feel connected to other non-religious people, it’s informal and we don’t have a place of worship.
Posted by Anni on Friday, March 16th, 2012
As you have likely heard, mayhem has broken out in Afganistan over the mistaken burning of Qurans at an American military base. Understandably, Afgan civilians and soldiers are outraged, a dangerous thing for people to be in a region of the world plagued by unrest and violence. As of the beginning of this month, the event has been linked to dozens of deaths in the region. In an attempt to quell the anger, President Obama made a public apology for the event. I was pleasantly surprised by his apology. Apologizing for such a blatant piece of disrespect in a war-torn and heavily religious country where we are guests, is the right thing to do. Unfortunately others in the political spotlight disagreed.
Posted by Anni on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Before I even start discussing this recent finding, nobody is suggesting that prejudice is a simple thing. There is no single factor that makes someone prejudice: in many ways it is a choice, and people of all types can be open-minded. That said, a study at Brock University in Ontario suggests that people of lower than average IQ tend to gravitate towards socially conservative ideologies. They also tend to display more open prejudice towards others. The authors of the study suggest that this prejudice is a result of the conservative tendency to “stress hierarchy and resistance to change.” This tendency, as one might imagine, increases the likelihood that an individual will view a member of an unfamiliar religion or ethnicity as outside the hierarchy, and will resist redefining the hierarchy to include them.