Religion and violence part 2

Where to start? Oh I have an idea what about the devoutly religious high school student in Oregon who wanted to kill sinners? Where did he get the idea about sinners needing to be killed? Even if he was crazy his idea the he should personally do the killing had to come from somewhere. Untreated mental illness is very common in America. Sometimes mental illness is seen as someone who is merely devoutly religious.  When this religious correctness becomes the driving force to the point where the line is crossed into mental illness – how and why were the warnings missed? Hate is learned and intolerance is learned. Where did this teenager learn to hate?

In the Colonial era of America the Pilgrims hated Quakers. If a Quaker wondered into a Pilgrim stronghold the Quaker could be hung for the sin of being a Quaker. (From a lecture in early American History, college required class.) Sins and death decrees are part of American religious history. Some of the extreme religious right in America have a list of sins by association. These extremist of the religious right want to turn the U.S. into a theocracy. Their God decides who lives and who dies. Something similar is happening here and there all over the world. Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, the list is long. The ones who use their religion as a reason to murder others are “religiously insane.” That is what I call people so filled with hatred and intolerance for others  that they want to “see the streets running red with blood”.

Years ago I interviewed an individual who was deeply involved with the religious right. And he quoted a list of organization whose members were marked for execution by their God. Evidently God spoke to the minister and he preached his vision to his congregation. This interview took place in the early 1980s. There are a lot of small fundamentalist congregations in rural Washington. This state has a long history of spawning radical right wing religions. See “The Family” by Jeff Sharlet for a history of one radical right fundamentalist group which heavily influences a number of congress critters. These radical right fringe fundamentalists want to turn America into a theocracy and they are willing to lie and anything else to get their way. I began researching religiosity and personality in Experimental Psychology during my college years. I continue to follow the research and the news for trends in religious fundamentalism. Ignoring these hate groups won’t make them go away. Not all fundamentalist are haters – but most are. Hot button issues for fundamentalists – gays, feminists, sinners, Evolution. Fundamentalists want all schools to teach the Bible, their version, the list is endless.

The anti-choice crowd hold many of the same radical theocracy views. The hate groups always need a target for their hate – sinners are everywhere, as are women. And we know that women have long been the target of religious fundamentalists. Fundamentalist everywhere hate women. Crimes against women happen world wide. India – four women raped and hung. Egypt 99.9% of the female population has been sexually harassed, or assaulted. New President promises changes.

At one time these extremists right-wing religious nuts were as minority. The skin heads from Northern Idaho and other rural places come to mind. Now it seem that some of those extreme views have gone mainstream. Religious intolerance can be heard on TV, radio and the Internet.

Then there are the on going religious wars all over the globe. Perhaps Americans have learned the location of Iraq, Syria and other countries where our tax dollars flow like water. Along with the location of these far away places – perhaps we are learning that in Iraq and Syria different religious sects are at war with each other. There are the extremists who want to kill all the sinners. Whoops that sounds sort of familiar. Back when Bush and Cheney wanted to invade Iraq they probably thought all Muslims were alike. How many people in America knew that there were Sunni, Shiites and Shia in Iraq before President Bush/Cheney declared war on Iraq? Well geez how did our oil get under the sand of Iraq anyway? ( old lame joke)

Links listing current religious wars:

War zones in general.


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