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Taryn Corbridge

4th Hour Debate

Original Oratory.blehhh

INTRO: Imagine a newspaper with a picture on the front page of a few US troops at a Christian church. Do you see anything wrong with this? What if instead of worshiping our basic Christian god, they were worshiping Pagan gods? This very thing happened in June of 1999. As published in the Washington Post, every night a few dozen off-duty soldiers would hold a Wicca ceremony around a small fire. A photo was taken and published in the local newspaper and the society was outraged. Why is it that our the society we live in is supportive of major religions such as Christianity, but so close minded to minorities and Pagan religions? These men and women were in 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, and will continue to do so if we dont do anything to stop it. (PREVIEW) What are the devastating effects of this certain intolerance? Why do we do this to ourselves? What simple things can each one of us do to help? These are some things I would like to speak about today. MAIN POINT 1: Religious intolerance has caused problems from an international level down to problems within families. I have known parents who have had to switch religions just so their son could have friends because the other parents wouldnt let their kids play with anyone who didnt go to their church. But there are larger things as well. For example, according to the New York Times, on May 8th of this year there were hundreds of Muslims and Christians fighting in the 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 that Jehovahs Witness and Roma were largely targeted as well and were a large part of the five million others who died in this massive genocide. While these larger scale events draw more attention, 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: those who went to church, and those who didnt. At first I was sure it was coincidence, but then I started listening closer to what they were saying. I heard things like, You're actually friends with her? But shes super Mormon, and, Ughh I hate her. Did you know shes an Atheist? I guess there really is a reason everyones separated after all. And it isnt just me. Our entire country is like this. According to gallup.com, over 43% of Americans admitted to having a prejudice toward Muslims. This is most likely due to the fact that the men who crashed into the twin towers were followers of Islam. (TRANSITION) Why are we so ready to judge people just by where they are on Sunday mornings? I think it all starts with our own personal beliefs.

MAIN POINT 2: In our world, there are many different religions. Each religion believes it is the only true religion, and most are paired with some consequence or another for nonbelievers. For example, as said by Minnesota State University, Christianity teaches that God will save the followers and believers, while those who do not follow and lead a life of sin will face eternal punishment. Some people simply look down upon those who the church has taught are not as good. Obviously that is not going to be taken well. Other people try and help those who havent accepted God. That cant be expected to be taken well all of the time either. Hello, miss. You're living your life wrong, is not exactly what people always want to hear. While these are some causes of common day religious issues, there are greater conflicts at work in the world, Such as the 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 few people in this world that have gone unscarred by religious prejudice. It has affected so many people, and in many cases, ending lives. (TRANSITION) Isnt it time we do something about it? MAIN POINT 3: Does religion really change the fact that we are all human? Our country is now on the road toward making racism unacceptable, how is this any different? Religious prejudice 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 a few minutes we could eradicate religious prejudice throughout the entire world? Maybe I could have a conversation with some of my friends without getting a lecture on how I would be better off joining their church. How amazing would that be? I thought it would be pretty cool, so a couple months ago I decided that instead of judging based on religion, I will learn what the religion truly is first. I am going to be open to knowing where peoples backgrounds are before I make any assumptions, and I challenge you to do the same. Its amazing some of the stuff you could learn. And maybe in awhile if we get enough people learning instead of judging, then we could make a serious difference. There are even organizations out there looking to better our society through tolerance and expression of our differences in faith. One is the Interfaith Alliance, which specifically teaches that while religious extremists are not healthy for society, expressing all of our views in a nondiscriminatory way will lead to a stronger, more vibrant society. I urge you to find these safe places for faith and listen to what they have to say. Many different people are able to offer more views on the matter than I ever could get through to you with this speech. (REVIEW) You now know where intolerance stems from, why we need to stop it, and the motion we should set in action to make a difference, even if its only a small one.

CONCLUSION: Never forget those who died in the holocaust and those who are dying today for the same reasons. I hope you can remember the effects of this, all of all the kids lacking friends, and all the lives we could save. I leave you with the words of a very wise man (and by coincidence an extreme stoner): Imagine theres no countries It isnt hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace You may say that Im a dreamer But Im not the only one I hope someday youll join us And the world will be as one ~John Lennon