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Original Oratory -- Religious Tolerance

Original Oratory -- Religious Tolerance

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Published by Taryn Corbridge

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Published by: Taryn Corbridge on Jul 19, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Taryn Corbridge 4
Hour Debate Original Oratory
Imagine a newspaper with a picture on the front page of a few US troops at a Christianchurch. Do you see anything wrong with this? What if instead of worshiping our basic Christiangod, they were worshiping Pagan gods? This very thing happened in June of 1999. As publishedin the Washington Post, every night a few dozen off-duty soldiers would hold a Wicca ceremonyaround a small fire. A photo was taken and published in the local newspaper and the society wasoutraged. Why is it that our the society we live in is supportive of major religions such asChristianity, but so close minded to minorities and Pagan religions? These men and women werein the army, offering their services to our country, yet within days of this article being published,they had several groups threatening to stage a march through their camp to disrupt their supposed
devil worship
. Religious prejudice is a problem that has plagued our world for many years, andwill continue to do so if we don
t do anything to stop it.
What are the devastating effects of this certain intolerance? Why do we do this toourselves? What simple things can each one of us do to help? These are some things I would liketo speak about today.
Religious intolerance has caused problems from an international level down toproblems within families. I have known parents who have had to switch religions just so theirson could have friends because the other parents wouldn
t let their kids play with anyone whodidn
t go to their church. But there are larger things as well. For example, according to the NewYork Times, on May 8
of this year there were hundreds of Muslims and Christians fighting inthe street all night in Cairo. At least twelve people dead in that one night. And many people think Jews were the only religious group targeted in the holocaust, but onwar.com tells us thatJehovah
s Witness and Roma were largely targeted as well and were a large part of the fivemillion others who died in this massive genocide. While these larger scale events draw moreattention, this is not what first got me worrying about this topic for myself. One day I took a look around at all my friends. I happened to notice that they were in two fairly defined groups: thosewho went to church, and those who didn
t. At first I was sure it was coincidence, but then Istarted listening closer to what they were saying. I heard things like,
You're actually friendswith her? But she
s super
Ughh I hate her. Did you know she
s an
Iguess there really is a reason everyone
s separated after all. And it isn
t just me. Our entirecountry is like this. According to gallup.com, over 43% of Americans admitted to having aprejudice toward Muslims. This is most likely due to the fact that the men who crashed into thetwin towers were followers of Islam.
Why are we so ready to judge people just by where they are on Sundaymornings? I think it all starts with our own personal beliefs.
In our world, there are many different religions. Each religion believes it is theonly true religion, and most are paired with some consequence or another for nonbelievers. Forexample, as said by Minnesota State University, Christianity teaches that God will save thefollowers and believers, while those who do not follow and lead a life of sin will face eternalpunishment. Some people simply look down upon those who the church has taught are not asgood. Obviously that is not going to be taken well. Other people try and help those who haven
taccepted God. That can
t be expected to be taken well all of the time either.
Hello, miss. You'reliving your life wrong,
is not exactly what people always want to hear. While these are somecauses of common day religious issues, there are greater conflicts at work in the world, Such asthe ancestors of Judaism and Islam, forever fighting over the Promised Land. So many religions,so many reasons, and all have cost many people things that are dear to them. There are so fewpeople in this world that have gone unscarred by religious prejudice. It has affected so manypeople, and in many cases, ending lives.
t it time we do something about it?
Does religion really change the fact that we are all human? Our country isnow on the road toward making racism unacceptable, how is this any different? Religiousprejudice is just another way of judging someone before you know their real personality. What if everyone looked past religion for awhile? What do you think they would see? What if for only afew minutes we could eradicate religious prejudice throughout the entire world? Maybe I couldhave a conversation with some of my friends without getting a lecture on how I would be betteroff joining their church. How amazing would that be? I thought it would be pretty cool, so acouple months ago I decided that instead of judging based on religion, I will learn what thereligion truly is first. I am going to be open to knowing where people
s backgrounds are before Imake any assumptions, and I challenge you to do the same. It
s amazing some of the stuff youcould learn. And maybe in awhile if we get enough people learning instead of judging, then wecould make a serious difference.There are even organizations out there looking to better our society through tolerance andexpression of our differences in faith. One is the Interfaith Alliance, which specifically teachesthat while religious extremists are not healthy for society, expressing all of our views in anondiscriminatory way will lead to a stronger, more vibrant society. I urge you to find these safeplaces for faith and listen to what they have to say. Many different people are able to offer moreviews on the matter than I ever could get through to you with this speech.
You now know where intolerance stems from, why we need to stop it, and themotion we should set in action to make a difference, even if it
s only a small one.

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