2/10/2014 4:21:00 PM Editorial
Evil, Muslim or Christian, is evil
It was difficult as a Christian to read this week of the evil acts being committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) by members of the Christian majority against members of the Muslim minority. Christians there are reportedly lynching Muslims, destroying their homes and hacking them to death. More than 40,000 are reported to have been driven out of the country, and human rights workers there fear almost all Muslims may be forced out of the Central African Republic by the Christian majority.
It was difficult for me to read because it reminded me of how easily we in the United States attribute evil acts to the Muslim faith rather than to the perpetrators of the evil acts. We talk of Muslim terrorists as if the acts of terrorism were the result of the teachings of the religion of Islam, rather than the acts of political fanatics who happen to claim to be Muslims.
Few among us would claim that the brutal and inhuman acts committed by those Central African Republic Christians reflect the teaching of the Christian faith.
Violence, even in self-defense, is anathema to the teachings of Christ. Christ taught that we are to give up our lives for others and showed us how serious he was about that lesson.
As a human being, I can claim the right of self-defense under human law, but I cannot make the claim, even if it were in defense of my children, that an act of violence is ever a Christian act.
I know from my readings in the Koran that the violence perpetrated by terrorists does not reflect the principles of the Islam faith.
The wars taking place in Africa and the Middle East are not religious wars between Christians and Muslims, or between Jews and Muslims, or between peoples of any other faiths. They are wars between people who are struggling against various evils within their respective territories.
The evils against which they struggle are based largely on want and greed.
The evils are based on want of rain for crops, water for drinking, food to eat, medical care for treatable illnesses, sanitation facilities for waste, education for their youth, employment for their adults, homes for their families and peace within which to practice their individual faiths.
The evils are based on greed by leaders who seek political and economic power for themselves and their supporters.
Those who perpetuate violence benefit from our propensity for trying to find a simple explanation such as religion for their acts of violence. They know that will delay any effective action on our part in response to the evil they do, no matter what faith they claim to represent.