Letter: Response to past letter

Nov 29, 2017

A November 22 letter referred to the abhorrent act of female genital mutilation (FGM) as a “Muslim practice.”

It is not. The Quran does not justify it, and the practice pre-dates Islam. There are many Muslim countries in which FGM is not practiced at all (e.g., Pakistan, Saudi Arabia), and there are predominantly Christian countries where it is practiced at high rates (e.g., Eritrea, Ethiopia), as well as several countries where is it practiced by Muslims, Christians, Jews and animists.

It should be remembered that people have used the Bible to justify slavery, segregation and lynching in the United States, apartheid and brutal repression in South Africa and a host of other acts worthy of condemnation.

To characterize Christianity as responsible for those practices would be patently unfair. Fredrick Douglass said, “Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference.” We must adopt that vision and wisdom when regarding the gulf between the teachings of any religion and the practices of some of its followers.

We are living in an age where misinformation is ubiquitous and it is shared at the speed of light. The inclination to accept information uncritically is as dangerous as it is common. At its very best, it is intellectually lazy to regard any group as monolithic. At its worst, intentionally cleaving to erroneous information to justify one’s superiority is a moral transgression. We would do well to remember these words of Voltaire: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

Humanity will not flourish until it establishes its unity. To do that, we must actively pursue recognition of our inherent oneness, rather than taking the well-worn path of “othering” and the atrocities, which inherently follow it.

 

Craig D. Lewis, Ed.D.

Mukilteo

 

 

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