Of Villainy and Religion

 

To Apologize for Kindness

Christ Falling on the Way to Calvary
Raphael

You may recall that after the Newtown massacre where 20 children and six adults were murdered, an inter-faith memorial service was held.

Reverend Rob Morris, a Newtown Lutheran Minister, one of whose young parishioners was among the dead, gave the benediction at the service.

Reverend Morris was subsequently forced to apologize to his church leadership for participating in the service since mingling with different denominational ministers violated their prohibition against joint worship with people of other faiths.

The man who demanded the apology, Lutheran President and Reverend Matthew Harrison eventually apologized for his original demand offering up acontorted rationale.

A Civil Society?

The Church and the State form two of the most important institutions underpinning modern or civilized life. Both are associated to varying degrees with compassion. Many citizens,religious or not, would see the role of the pious as teaching, modeling or extolling the virtues of compassion, kindness and comity as a key tenet of earthly life. Faith relies on the future while kindness exists in the moment before us. And, few acts of kindness are more powerful than comforting the bereaved.

How jarring then, in the midst of such a devastating catastrophe as Newtown, to have God’s minister rebuked and forced to apologize for an act of healing and kindness. What aspect of that reinforces the concept of mercy or the sanctity of human life?

Villainy

It’s fancy for “wicked” which is a powerful word. It basically connotes an evil willfulness. Demanding what would effectively be a public apology from Reverend Morris for his kindness was an act of villainy. He was forced to betray his personal sense of kindness and sense of community in order to satisfy the peculiar tenet of a religious doctrine.

God created “man” and we have created an endless series of sects and divisions jostling and preening for first place in the eyes of the great one. Though it has long since been proven that we are all essentially the same, the role of much religion is to somehow convince us that we are actually different, and damned because of it.

Power

The synonyms for power are better than the word itself: might – force – strength – potency – authority. In the world we inhabit, it seems that no institution, of God or man, can long exist without some combination of strength and authority. Institutions of power are characterized by hierarchy, status and the ability to punish. Punishing human compassion is an exquisite abuse of power normally associated with the cruelest of regimes.

Tragically, the cost of power-based organized religion is the requirement to subordinate the inclination to be kind or merciful in order to reinforce a sense of difference or specialness.

Christ En-route to Calvary

Look, or look again, at Raphael’s masterwork but see the faltering Christ as the grieving people of Newtown. See the beseeching Mary on the right as those who would offer compassion including Rob Morris. Lastly, see the towering and unmerciful guards, centurions who willingly inflict pain to protect their power as the kings of religion.

Thus has the message of mercy and kindness been subverted by religious dogma and the lust for power and control.

 

1 Comment

  • Victoria Huckenpahler says:

    So true. It’s disheartening that people nowadays feel compelled to bow before every little manifestation of disgruntlement exhibited.

    I agree with HH Dalai Lama when he says, “My religion is kindness.” He also advocates against one global religion, saying that just as many cuisines exist for many different palates, so different expressions of religious truth must be honored as valid according to the needs and capacities of their practitioners.

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Comments
Eric Lamar
Our American Sharia
Should all weapons be legal? Should some be more difficult to obtain in order to protect children? Calling the support of a Sandy Hook fundraiser "betrayal" is sharia sheikh trash talk. Folks that think it's not, don't care about innocent children. Shoe fit? Where it.
2015-04-24 22:16:35
Jonathan Weinberg
Our American Sharia
Perhaps the reason Spartacus thinks that "controls to prevent another “Adam Lanza” somehow is a restriction on lawful guns owners" because the controls that were put in place after the Sandy Hook travesty were, in fact, restrictions on lawful gun owners. In fact, in New York, guns that had been lawfully purchased by lawful gun…
2015-04-24 22:08:54
Eric Lamar
Our American Sharia
BTW- What warped definition of logic compels you to assume that controls to prevent another "Adam Lanza" somehow is a restriction on lawful guns owners?
2015-04-21 17:16:11
Eric Lamar
Our American Sharia
Please try to stay on topic. It is very simple--will sane and reasonable citizens do all humanely possible to protect children against homicidal children? The hardcore gun lobby passes for a harem of sharia sheikhs. Nanny state? Please. Let's protect children with entirely reasonable actions. The sky won't fall.
2015-04-21 17:11:42
Spartacus
Our American Sharia
Step away from the kool-aid. The Sandy Hook promise is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at more gun control. You want increased mental health funding and programs, fine. What we don't need are any more laws that restrict law-abiding gun owners. Note that Adam Lanza was not a law abiding gun owner. Nor…
2015-04-21 16:48:27
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