religious violence

All in the name of religion.

All in the name of violence.

Terror and violence both have a long-standing tradition of division and a knack to divide and conquer.

In the name of religion, blood is shed--lives are marked with fear. Religion-based violence is nothing new. Look no further than to the pages of a dark world history. The Inquisition, the Crusades, the Holocaust and violence against minorities through the KKK. 
Many of us were taught in our youth to treat all people as equals as stated in the second paragraph of the United States, Declaration of Independence from 1776: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Why do we even trouble ourselves with this principle when we generalize? Judging people based on the actions of one psychotic person or persons does this as we see with radical Islam in American soil and abroad. The social contract of the Declaration of Independence is seemingly abandoned in the U.S., to people on the left and people on the right of the political isle. To some Americans, the entire religion of Islam is demonized because of the actions of others. This stereotype has become pervasive in our society, especially after 911. A recent PRRI found that this line of thinking is feasible. There is a double standard in the nation when it comes to religious understanding in America among Christians. The questionnaire asked people the following questions: 

"When people claim to be ________ and commit acts of violence in the name of ________, do you believe they really are ______?"

The survey found that 75 percent of the public said that Christians who commit acts of violence in the name of Christianity aren’t really Christian. "Fifty percent of the public said the same about people who claimed to be Muslim and commit religiously-motivated violence. Fewer than 37 percent said that such people are actually Muslim, while 13 percent were uncertain."

As a nation that is pretty polarized, don't assume that political beliefs are in this twisted mess. The poll started with the Republicans. It found that 72 percent of conservatives believed that self-described Christians who shed violence in the name of Christianity are not true Christians. This is compared to the Democrats who polled at 79 percent. Independents were surveyed at 72 percent. This is where the double standard comes into light. "Republicans were far less likely to make these same allowances for Muslims. Only one-third (33 percent) of Republicans believed that people who committed acts of violence in the name of Islam are not actually Muslim," the study found.

Both Democrats and independents said that those who commit violence in the name of Islam were not true Muslims. To break down the PPRI poll further. The group that had the largest double standard on religious violence were white evangelical Protestants (87 percent), who claimed they would disown Christian terrorists in the name of their religion but are the least to say the same about Muslim terrorists at 44 percent.

Writer Anhvinh Doanvo, who is a contributor for The Hill said that the Republican party only defends the Christian faith and not any other group. Doanvo also shared that they discriminate against Muslims and the LGBTQ community. He explained that the party played into ISIS’s hands "by taking offense at the very sight of a subgroup of Muslims that express themselves through their clothing and portraying Islam as incompatible with the West."

Arab America explained that treatment needs to be equal across the board when it comes to terror in the name of any religion. "Unwarranted hatred and fear of Muslims will only continue without a change in how the word terrorism is used in American media." The article shared that we need to observe acts of violence on an individual case and create more of a barrier between religion and terrorism. This will prevent the politicians from using the American Muslim community as a scapegoat.  

A poll done shortly after the terrorists attack in San Bernardino, California where 14 people were gunned down in 2015 showed what was revealed by PRRI in 2017. The Public Religion Research Institute found that 75 percent of Americans believed Christians who committed acts of violence in the name their religion were not Christians. Only 19 percent of those who were surveyed said: "they believe these types of perpetrators are authentic Christians."

Americans believe that American Muslims have not worked hard enough to condemn the extremist in their respective communities. In many cases, it is true. However, the Muslims United for San Bernardino took a stand and denounced the shooters of the shootings in 2015 and raised over 100,000 to help with the needs of the victims.

There is a double standard in America because of fear. Acting in the name of religion to perpetrate hate is detestable. All religions need to get on board to denounce any acts criminal activity and other heinous crimes. Hate never unites, no matter where you stand in your politics or your religion--it only propagates.


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