By Kris McKusick, re-printed from The Examiner
As the New York Times reports: In a vote that displayed a widespread anxiety about Islam and undermined the country’s reputation for religious tolerance, the Swiss on Sunday overwhelmingly imposed a national ban on the construction of minarets, the prayer towers of mosques, in a referendum drawn up by the far right and opposed by the government.
Now this decision is not all that surprising, right? It’s sad to say that but due to the fervor attributed to Muslim fundamentalists in the media (Fort Hood gunman, Jon Muhammad), something like this was to be expected sooner or later. It just happened to be the right-wing Swiss People’s Party to set the events in motion.
And this is what is wrong with organized religion in its essence: it causes people to overstep boundaries, show intolerance, and institute their assumed power over another organized religion. There are no winners here. The indignation Muslims feel at this decision is equaled by the shame of the Swiss government. Organized religion is responsible for the majority of murders, injustices, and tragedies in this world.
It’s cases like this that make me reference John Lennon’s beautiful ballad, ‘Imagine’. You’re probably familiar with the lyrics but I’ll repeat them here: Imagine there’s no countries/it isn’t hard to do/nothing to kill or die for/and no religion too/imagine all the people living life in peace…
We need to get back to looking out for each other this holiday season. That means showing tolerance for others who may not share the same religious beliefs or worldview as you do, because when it’s all said and done, that’s not what’s really important. Tolerance and compassion are.