JIM CREES: My religion is better than your religion

CREES MUGNow let me be perfectly clear.

I do not think it is wrong for young people attending St. Mary’s or St. Michael’s schools to be asked to attend Mass. I do not think it inappropriate that young people in these schools receive religious instruction as part of their daily curriculum.

I think it’s wonderful.

I’m happy for them.

I also do not think there is anything untoward when students at St. Peter’s or Trinity schools are called on to attend chapel or open their school day in prayer.

God bless ‘em, every one.

More power to them.

I do however have a HUGE problem when a teacher in a public school – charter or otherwise – decides it correct and appropriate to pass on her religious views as part of her school day instruction.

Private parochial schools are private parochial schools.

Public schools are public schools.

Parents have a choice.

When a teacher in a public school suggests women should fear Muslim men, I find such a discussion very worrisome.

And when a teacher in a classroom offers her errant and ignorant view of religion saying Christianity is a religion based on love, Judaism is a religion based on fear, and Islam is a religion based on hate, I think folks need to perk up and wonder what is going on.

With regard to the first teacher’s comment – women should fear Muslim men. This sentence is so very wrong on so very many levels – and what if there is the daughter of Muslim parents in the classroom?!!?

No matter how one dissects the comment “Women should fear Muslim men” the statement is wrong.

Take the word “Muslim” out and you’re left with “Women should fear men.”

Take the word “men” out, and you are still left with the idea that “Women should fear.” This simply isn’t the type of lesson that needs to be taught.

And then…

The unfortunate theological progression mentioned by another teacher.

Christianity is founded on love. Judaism is founded on fear. Islam is founded on hate.

Seriously??!!??

I would agree Christianity is founded and based on love. Unfortunately, far, Far, FAR too many of those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ seem to be blissfully unaware of this fact in its fullness and totality.

If Christianity is indeed founded on love, why are so many of the modern-day disciples of Christ so hateful and mean-spirited?

Consider if you will Pastor Ted Sessoms of Arbor Springs Baptist Church in Samantha, Alabama, who recently preached God had ordered the destruction of Syrian refugees: “ … in regards to the Syrian refugee crisis. I am against allowing the refugees the rights to America’s soil and my neighborhood… Perhaps our leaders should study the Old Testament when God gave specific instructions to destroy these people (even their women, children and animals). Why would He give such instructions? Because He knew the impact these idol worshipers of false gods would have on His people. It is not a matter of loving your neighbor. My neighbors are the people that value the same standards of life and way of life that I value.”

How loving… and compassionate.

Can we stereotype all of Christianity by this one, ordained pastor? No. But having a teacher so glibly suggest Judaism is founded on fear is quite the same thing as suggesting all Christians follow the teachings of Ted Sessoms.

Judaism based on fear?

Where does one get this kind of blatherskite?

The only thing the Jewish people had to fear over the past 2,000 years was being murdered by their good Christian neighbors – or were the pogroms, exiles, holocausts, and various and sundry bloodbaths simply an overly enthusiastic expression of love?

The Jewish faith is one based on love between God and His children with a daily and generational eye to Tikkun Olam – the repair, restoration and perfection of an imperfect world.

Judaism is based on fear? It’s interesting that Christians spend far, far more time worrying about hellfire and brimstone than do Jews.

Just saying.

And then… Islam is based on hate. Hmmmmmmm …

So because ISIS claims to be Islamic in nature, this means Islam is based on hate?

Timothy McVeigh was “a Christian” when he blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City killing men, women and children. Does his hate-filled act immediately make ALL Christians terrorists?

Just as the members of the Westboro Baptist Church do not reflect on all Christians, so too the terrorists in Paris, Belgium and Boston do not reflect on all adherents of the Islamic faith.

How such “theology” or “comparative religion” can be suggested or promulgated in a public school is quite beyond me.

If someone wants to be so spiritually smug as to suggest ‘my God is better than your God’ (and you’re going to roast in Hell) they should feel more than comfortable doing so in the church of their choice (where they probably picked up such a belief in the first place) but NOT in a public school in which there could well be American Jewish and American Muslim children learning for the first time, from their teacher, that they are cursed and forgotten of God.

It just ain’t so.

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Posted by Jim Crees

Jim is the editor in chief of the Pioneer, Herald Review and Lake County Star. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8360 or by e-mail at jcrees@pioneergroup.com.

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