Today Rev. Sunshine Wolfe joined us and presented a service about interpreting Islam. Rev Wolfe is part of the Congregational Field Staff for the Central East Region of the national Unitarian Universalist organization (UUA.) We received a brief review of Islam, and we discussed how that story has been told to us in modern times within a power dynamic shaped by our impression of Islam after the events of 9/11. Islam was founded as a peaceful religion. Sometimes those in power have twisted its teachings to serve the ends of the powerful.
The problem is, that almost all religions in the world have been twisted by powerful people to meet the needs of the powerful. In America, the Christian religion has been used to justify slavery. In the 13th Century the Pope used religion to decide that his political enemies, the Cathars, were heretics, and therefore felt justified in slaughtering them and others in Carcassonne, France. For centuries powerful people have turned Christianity into a vehicle to attack Jews when it is politically expedient to do so, and be able to turn it off when it became politically inconvenient. Even countries where Buddhism predominates have, in the ancient past, been able to twist their religion into providing a justification of attacking other countries. So, beware of people who will tell you that your religion justifies what would otherwise be considered an immoral act. It is a sure give away that political power is twisting a religious principle.
If you find conversations like this interesting, please come join us some Sunday.