Aaim Austin http://aaimaustin.org/ Sat, 09 Oct 2021 18:32:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://aaimaustin.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-5-120x120.png Aaim Austin http://aaimaustin.org/ 32 32 Pope calls on all religions to “defuse the temptation of fundamentalism” https://aaimaustin.org/pope-calls-on-all-religions-to-defuse-the-temptation-of-fundamentalism/ https://aaimaustin.org/pope-calls-on-all-religions-to-defuse-the-temptation-of-fundamentalism/#respond Fri, 08 Oct 2021 15:17:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/pope-calls-on-all-religions-to-defuse-the-temptation-of-fundamentalism/ Pope Francis urged all the peoples of the world to put aside “partisan games” and all hostilities and to regard others as “like human beings” and “brothers and sisters in the faith”. The Pope made this appeal Thursday at the Roman Colosseum during the closing ceremony of the Meeting of Religious for Peace, an annual […]]]>

Pope Francis urged all the peoples of the world to put aside “partisan games” and all hostilities and to regard others as “like human beings” and “brothers and sisters in the faith”.

The Pope made this appeal Thursday at the Roman Colosseum during the closing ceremony of the Meeting of Religious for Peace, an annual event organized by the Sant’Egidio community.

“In the name of peace, please, in every religious tradition, let us defuse the temptation of fundamentalism and any tendency to consider a brother or sister as an enemy”, pleaded the Pope, speaking on a platform installed at the foot of the most emblematic monument.

“The suffering of others hardly disturbs us”

“If there are those who are plagued by hostility, factions and partisan games, we ourselves repeat Imam Ali’s words: ‘There are two types of people: your brothers and sisters in faith, and those who are like you. ‘ “, continued François, standing alongside the religious leaders.

They included the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayyeb. Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also present.

“People as brothers and sisters. We proclaim it in the context of the Colosseum,” the Pope continued.

“Long ago, this amphitheater was the site of brutal mass entertainment,” he noted.

“Today, we too can be spectators of violence and war, of brothers killing brothers, like games that we watch from afar, indifferent, certain that they will never affect us,” lamented François.

“The suffering of others does not trouble us much. Not even the suffering of war victims, migrants, young boys and girls trapped in conflict,” he said.

The arms trade

The 84-year-old Pope also renewed his condemnation of the arms trade.

“War plays with human lives. Violence and the scourge of a booming arms trade, often moving in the shadows, fueled by underground cash flows,” he thundered.

Further on, the Pope spoke out against violence that also extends to the environment. He even quoted Bartholomew I, whose efforts to defend the environment have earned him the title of “Green Patriarch”.

At the end of the ceremony, the Pope and the other religious leaders signed a “call for peace”.

Their main message is that “religions can build peace and educate it”.

“Only peace is holy, and no one should ever use the name of God to bless terror and violence… People long for peace,” says the call.

“The disarmament process, currently blocked, must be relaunched,” he insisted.

The signatories also warn that “the proliferation of nuclear weapons is an incredible threat.”


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All religious traditions must resist the ‘temptation of fundamentalism’ | Catholic National Register https://aaimaustin.org/all-religious-traditions-must-resist-the-temptation-of-fundamentalism-catholic-national-register/ https://aaimaustin.org/all-religious-traditions-must-resist-the-temptation-of-fundamentalism-catholic-national-register/#respond Thu, 07 Oct 2021 18:42:15 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/all-religious-traditions-must-resist-the-temptation-of-fundamentalism-catholic-national-register/ VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis called on leaders of world religions to resist “the temptation of fundamentalism” in the name of peace at an interfaith rally on Thursday outside the Colosseum. Peace “calls us to serve the truth and to declare what is wrong when it is wrong, without fear or pretense, even and especially […]]]>

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis called on leaders of world religions to resist “the temptation of fundamentalism” in the name of peace at an interfaith rally on Thursday outside the Colosseum.

Peace “calls us to serve the truth and to declare what is wrong when it is wrong, without fear or pretense, even and especially when it is committed by those who profess to follow the same creed as us,” said the Pope on October 7.

Vatican Media.

“For peace, please, in every religious tradition, let us defuse the temptation of fundamentalism and any tendency to regard a brother or sister as an enemy.

Speaking on a stage with Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu representatives, Pope Francis called for peace amid current conflicts around the world.

Vatican Media.

Vatican Media.

“Dear brothers and sisters, as believers it is our responsibility to help eradicate hatred from human hearts and to condemn all forms of violence. Let us unambiguously urge that weapons be put aside and military spending reduced, in order to meet humanitarian needs, and that the instruments of death be transformed into instruments of life, ”commented the Pope.

“Fewer weapons and more food, less hypocrisy and more transparency, more vaccines distributed fairly and fewer weapons traded indiscriminately,” he said.

Vatican Media.

Vatican Media.

The Pope called prayer a source of strength that “disarms hearts filled with hatred”.

Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt, also spoke.

Vatican Media.

Vatican Media.

The Islamic scholar, who signed the landmark document on human brotherhood with Pope Francis in 2019, criticized the uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

He said that “the world has suffered a setback despite the efforts of religious institutions, their representatives and leaders, to foster a collaborative approach and the exchange of goods, prioritizing public interest over private interests.”

Vatican Media.

Vatican Media.

Pope Francis was speaking at the closing ceremony live on “People as Brothers, Future Earth.” Religions and cultures in dialogue ”, the 35th event promoted by the Sant’Egidio community in the“ spirit of Assisi ”, the interfaith gathering convened in the birthplace of Saint Francis by Pope John Paul II in 1986.

In his speech, the Pope said: “Today, in a globalized society which sensationalizes suffering, but remains unable to sympathize with it, we must ‘build compassion’… We must listen to others, make their suffering our own, and look at their faces.

“We cannot continue to accept wars with the detachment with which we watch the evening news, but rather make an effort to see them through the eyes of the peoples involved,” he said.

Vatican Media.

Vatican Media.

Christian leaders present at the event included Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians, Karekin II, leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and German Lutheran Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm. The event began with a prayer involving Christian leaders.

Vatican Media.

Vatican Media.

Representatives of the world’s religions at the ceremony included Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, Chief Rabbi of Moscow and Chairman of the Conference of European Rabbis, Shoten Minegishi, a Soto Zen Buddhist monk from Japan, Sayyed Abu al-Qasim al-Dibaji, from Pan -Islamic Jurisprudence Organization world, and Edith Bruck, Jewish writer of Hungarian origin and Holocaust survivor.

Lakshmi Vyas, President of the Hindu Forum of Europe, and Jaswant Singh, a Sikh representative, were also present.

Vatican Media.

Vatican Media.

“As representatives of different religious traditions, we are all called to resist the lure of worldly power, to be the voice of the voiceless, the support of the suffering, advocates of the oppressed and victims of hatred, of the people rejected by both men and women. on earth, yet precious in the eyes of the One who dwells in the heavens ”, declared the Pope.

Pope Francis said there was a connection between the “dream of peace” and the need to take care of creation.

“By cultivating a contemplative and non-predatory approach, religions are called to listen to the moans of mother earth, which is undergoing violence,” he said.

The Pope suggested that “unbridled individualism and the desire for self-sufficiency” had spilled over into “insatiable greed”.

“The land we inhabit bears the scars, while the air we breathe is rich in toxins but poor in solidarity. We have thus poured the pollution of our hearts on creation, ”he declared.

Vatican Media.

Vatican Media.

At the rally, Sabera Ahmadi, a young woman recently arrived from Afghanistan, read a call for peace.

“The pandemic has shown how human beings are in the same boat, linked by deep threads. The future does not belong to those who waste and exploit, to those who live for themselves and ignore others, ”she said.

“The future belongs to united women and men and to fraternal peoples. May God help us to rebuild the common human family and to respect mother earth. In front of the Colosseum, symbol of greatness but also of suffering, let us reaffirm with the strength of faith that the name of God is peace.

Angela Merkel also spoke at the event, which is due to step down as German Chancellor following the federal elections on September 26. She had a private audience with the Pope on the morning of October 7.

The 67-year-old, who has led the most populous nation in the European Union since 2005, has been a frequent visitor to the Vatican since Pope Francis was elected in 2013.

The Pope described the Lutheran pastor’s daughter as “one of the great figures in world politics” in an interview last month. He has received Merkel in private audience more often than any other head of state.

Pope Francis greets Angela Merkel, the outgoing German Chancellor, at the Vatican, October 7, 2021. Vatican media.

Pope Francis greets Angela Merkel, the outgoing German Chancellor, at the Vatican, October 7, 2021. Vatican media.

The two leaders spoke privately for about 45 minutes before exchanging gifts. The Pope gave Merkel a small bronze image of the holy door in St. Peter’s Basilica along with copies of her writings. She gave him three volumes on the Bible and a book on Michelangelo.

In what should be her farewell visit as Chancellor, Merkel also met Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and “Foreign Minister” Archbishop Paul Gallagher.

Pope Francis greets Angela Merkel after the closing ceremony.  Vatican Media.

Pope Francis greets Angela Merkel after the closing ceremony. Vatican Media.

The Holy See press office declared that “during the cordial discussions, thanks were expressed for the existing good bilateral relations and the fruitful collaboration between the Holy See and Germany”.

He added: “The parties then turned their attention to issues of mutual interest in the international and regional spheres, agreeing on the opportunity to relaunch cooperation to deal with the multiple ongoing crises, with particular reference the consequences of the health emergency and migration.

In his speech outside the Colosseum, Pope Francis said: “Yes, let’s dream of religions as sisters and of peoples as brothers! Sister religions to help peoples to be brothers and sisters living in peace, reconciled stewards of creation, our common home.


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Ecumenical Patriarch rejects religious fundamentalism and outright nationalism https://aaimaustin.org/ecumenical-patriarch-rejects-religious-fundamentalism-and-outright-nationalism/ https://aaimaustin.org/ecumenical-patriarch-rejects-religious-fundamentalism-and-outright-nationalism/#respond Wed, 06 Oct 2021 22:48:39 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/ecumenical-patriarch-rejects-religious-fundamentalism-and-outright-nationalism/ “No to religious fundamentalism and absolute nationalism,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said at the International Meeting of Religions and Cultures in Rome. Yesterday at the end of the afternoon, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew spoke at the international meeting organized in Rome by the Catholic community of Saint Aegidos, the “Brother peoples, the land of the future. […]]]>

“No to religious fundamentalism and absolute nationalism,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said at the International Meeting of Religions and Cultures in Rome.

Yesterday at the end of the afternoon, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew spoke at the international meeting organized in Rome by the Catholic community of Saint Aegidos, the “Brother peoples, the land of the future. Religions and cultures in dialogue.

The Primate of Christian Orthodoxy, among others, emphasized:

“Can we go back to the previous period, as if nothing had happened? Our answer to this question is only one: the old world no longer exists and we have in our hands the capacity to build a new beginning, a departure that can only be done together.

The Ecumenical Patriarch addressed believers, economists, philosophers, environmentalists, scientists, men and women of good will and highlighted three main principles for the future.

“We begin by re-stating what the pandemic has made clearer: that we belong to one human family, from all the peoples of the earth, with a need to pay attention to Creation. It is therefore necessary that we all recognize, at all levels, not only human rights, but that we belong to a single humanity, with all its peculiarities, cultures and identities. A new start in the post-pandemic era cannot ignore all of this by eliminating any perception of diversity and helping us to recognize ourselves as one family.

The second principle, according to the Patriarch is to recognize the unique identity of each one and to listen to one another, “not to become one with an international identity, but to understand the uniqueness of the other”.

The last principle emphasized by the Ecumenical Patriarch is mutual respect: “Mutual respect, dialogue and mutual listening make the above possible. By overcoming religious fundamentalism and absolute nationalism. “Proclaiming fair justice at all levels of human society and creating moments of mutual enrichment,” Bartholomew said.

Because “the main goal is for people to live in peace” and “protect God’s creation and everything related to it”. Otherwise, “the consequences will be worse than the world we left behind.”

Today the Patriarch will pray for peace at the Colosseum. An initiative in which Pope Francis will also participate.


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Judging a “sincerely supported” religious belief is difficult for employers who demand vaccines https://aaimaustin.org/judging-a-sincerely-supported-religious-belief-is-difficult-for-employers-who-demand-vaccines/ https://aaimaustin.org/judging-a-sincerely-supported-religious-belief-is-difficult-for-employers-who-demand-vaccines/#respond Mon, 04 Oct 2021 18:12:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/judging-a-sincerely-supported-religious-belief-is-difficult-for-employers-who-demand-vaccines/ A person receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Los Angeles in April. // Getty Images, Mario Tama Updated October 4, 2021, 12:51 p.m. ET Brittany Watson worked as a nurse at a hospital in Winchester, Va. – until her employer, Valley Health, announced that all staff needed […]]]>

A person receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Los Angeles in April. // Getty Images, Mario Tama

Updated October 4, 2021, 12:51 p.m. ET

Brittany Watson worked as a nurse at a hospital in Winchester, Va. – until her employer, Valley Health, announced that all staff needed to be vaccinated.

Watson says there are several reasons she didn’t get the jab. The first is that she had COVID-19 in November, so she thinks she has some natural immunity. And she’s also skeptical of any carrots that have been hung – things like college scholarships, shotguns, fishing licenses – to urge West Virginia like her to get vaccinated.

“I might have had it if it wasn’t so pushed to get it,” Watson says. “And then they mandate it. Now you tell me what to do. I worked 18 months during the pandemic, and now I’m not allowed to work there if I don’t have a vaccine.”

Whether an employer grants a religious exemption to a vaccination requirement is usually based on a judgment of the employee’s sincere religious belief – and whether the accommodation constitutes undue hardship on the employer, or would pose a threat. direct to the health and safety of others.

Watson organized a picket line outside Winchester Medical Center to protest the Valley Health mandate. She also asked for a religious exemption, signed by her pastor.

“My explanation was that ‘Human life is sacred. The Bible tells you that your body is a temple. The vaccine is made from aborted fetuses. The mandate directly affects my religious beliefs.’ And that’s it, ”she said.

The vaccines themselves do not contain any fetal cells. Fetal cell lines have been used in vaccine development, as they typically are in the development of new pharmaceuticals.

Valley Health approved her religious exemption, but Watson decided to seek employment elsewhere.

Watson’s girlfriend Katherine Hart also had her religious exemption approved by Valley Health. After going on strike for three weeks, Hart returned to her job as a nurse practitioner at an emergency care center in Martinsburg, W.Va.

“I went back to work and literally nothing has changed. I see the same patients,” says Hart. “I do COVID tests. I see COVID patients every day. I wear my same masks, I follow the same rules. Literally nothing has changed, which makes me even more suspicious, because if I were a such a threat to society, you would think they should change the rules and make me do something differently. ”

Hart and Watson say other people they know have had their exemption requests turned down.

Valley Health last month terminated the employment of 72 employees, out of a workforce of more than 6,000, due to non-compliance with its vaccine mandate. The health system claims that more than 95% of its employees are now vaccinated, of which 5% are exempt for religious or medical reasons.

No major religion has opposed COVID-19 vaccines. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and the Catholic Church have all issued statements saying their religion does not prohibit members from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The Pope said getting the vaccine was “an act of love”.

The assessment of requests for religious exemptions is difficult

“Employers are inundated with these demands [for religious exemptions], and must assess them in large numbers, ”says Alana Genderson, lawyer specializing in labor and employment law at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

Because employers are reluctant to engage in assessing questions of religion and personal beliefs, Genderson says that “employers feel more comfortable judging undue hardship and whether there is an accommodation where the person does not. would not be a direct threat to others “.

The idea of ​​evaluating sincerity is particularly thorny.

“Sincerity is like what’s true in your heart. There is no way to judge this as religious or not, or as sincere or not,” says Kira Ganga Kieffer, doctoral student in religious studies at Boston University. , where she writes a book on vaccine skepticism in America.

But there is a legal basis for employers to assess sincere religious beliefs.

According to Genderson, according to federal guidelines and previous court rulings, employers may consider several factors when assessing the sincerity of a religious belief.

“These factors can include whether the employee’s behavior is inconsistent with the professed belief; accommodation constitutes a desirable advantage which may be sought for secular reasons; the timing of the request makes him suspect; or the employer has an objective reason to believe that the accommodation is not sought for religious reasons, ”she explains.

Employers can ask the employee for additional information, such as asking if they are taking other drugs that also used fetal cells in their development, such as Tylenol or Motrin.

A tension between religious freedom and public security

When Kieffer began her research, she was originally looking at measles outbreaks in places where parents chose not to get the vaccine at school.

In those cases, she said, “It was political, yes, but it wasn’t a red versus blue issue. It wasn’t a Republican versus Democrat issue. There were people on both sides with measles. . ”

But the politicization of this virus has changed that.

“The people who are the most angry now or who oppose the most now are kind of a new cohort, I would say, who are much more traditionally politically motivated,” Kieffer said.

The stakes could not be higher. As religious exemptions are now demanded en masse, their use raises concerns that they pose a serious risk to public health.

“We firmly believe that religious freedom should not be licensed to harm others,” said Rachel Laser, CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She says it’s problematic that public safety rests on hard-to-assess issues of individual religious sincerity.

“What this has created is a situation where we actually see herd immunity threatened and public safety threatened, where religious exemptions are kind of so voluminously claimed,” Laser said.

“What we need to do is draw a line where religious freedom would endanger lives and harm others,” she said. “So we don’t even have to come up with that sincerity calculation.”

Some see mandates as the wrong approach

“I actually think a warrant is a blunt instrument at this point in the game, because everything is so new,” says Jason McKnight, senior pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Kinston, North Carolina.

He himself is vaccinated and church members have sought advice on how to approach the mandates.

“Obviously the scriptures don’t talk about vaccines,” he laughs. “So how do we seek principles and use wisdom to apply them correctly, how does someone need to live in his conscience, but not in a stupid way?”

He says vaccination issues are something some people struggle with, among many other issues in their lives. He hears concerns that the vaccines are still too new, too untested – but people might not have a choice of getting the vaccine if they want to keep their jobs.

McKnight says if a member asked for his signature on a religious exemption, he thinks he would sign it.

“Part of my role is to support the underdog. That’s what Jesus did,” he said. “And that is why we are trying to figure out how to bring Afghan refugees here, why we are trying to help migrant workers. Nurses who are going to lose their jobs because they are just not ready to be vaccinated seems right. a little harsh right now in a civilized world. ”

Others believe resistance to vaccination is politically motivated

Randall Balmer grew up in the Evangelical Church and is now a Dartmouth Religious Professor and Episcopal Priest.

He suspects that much of the opposition to vaccines is politically motivated.

“I have to believe that something else is at work here, that there is some kind of underlying ideology that says, I don’t know, ‘We don’t want the Biden administration to succeed in overcome this public health crisis’ “he says.
“There is certainly no theological basis for this kind of opposition.”

And he believes many churches could render greater public service during the pandemic, noting that they enjoy tax-exempt status.

Balmer says that “a reasonable approach to this serious public health crisis would be for these churches, these religious organizations to say, ‘Look, we understand the public has been subsidizing us for a long time. In return, we believe that we have an obligation of civic responsibility, and we are ready to assume that obligation not only to vaccinate ourselves, but to vaccinate others. ”

“And I even dare say that maybe that’s what Jesus would do in a similar situation,” he said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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Parents lose religious belief offer to suspend order for school masks https://aaimaustin.org/parents-lose-religious-belief-offer-to-suspend-order-for-school-masks/ https://aaimaustin.org/parents-lose-religious-belief-offer-to-suspend-order-for-school-masks/#respond Tue, 28 Sep 2021 01:06:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/parents-lose-religious-belief-offer-to-suspend-order-for-school-masks/ By Matthew Santoni (September 27, 2021, 9:06 p.m. EDT) – Federal judge will not stop Pennsylvania school mask warrant for four parents claiming masks violate their religious freedoms, finding on Monday that parents did not manifesting their opposition to the masks was a “sincere religious belief” and not just an opposition to current circumstances. U.S. […]]]>
By Matthew Santoni (September 27, 2021, 9:06 p.m. EDT) – Federal judge will not stop Pennsylvania school mask warrant for four parents claiming masks violate their religious freedoms, finding on Monday that parents did not manifesting their opposition to the masks was a “sincere religious belief” and not just an opposition to current circumstances.

U.S. District Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg has dismissed a preliminary injunction request preventing the Tredyffrin / Easttown School District from following the state’s requirement that all students wear masks to school regardless of their age. COVID-19 vaccination status, finding it unlikely that the parents in the trial would be able to succeed with their claims that their religious beliefs forbid them …

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What constitutes a sincere religious belief for the purposes of the vaccine mandate? https://aaimaustin.org/what-constitutes-a-sincere-religious-belief-for-the-purposes-of-the-vaccine-mandate/ https://aaimaustin.org/what-constitutes-a-sincere-religious-belief-for-the-purposes-of-the-vaccine-mandate/#respond Fri, 10 Sep 2021 10:48:12 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/what-constitutes-a-sincere-religious-belief-for-the-purposes-of-the-vaccine-mandate/ In Northern California, the pastor of a mega-church distributes religious exemption forms to worshipers. A New Mexico state senator “will help you formulate a religious exemption” by pointing to the decades-old use of aborted fetal cells in the development of certain vaccines. And a Texas-based evangelist is offering letters of exemption to anyone – for […]]]>

In Northern California, the pastor of a mega-church distributes religious exemption forms to worshipers. A New Mexico state senator “will help you formulate a religious exemption” by pointing to the decades-old use of aborted fetal cells in the development of certain vaccines. And a Texas-based evangelist is offering letters of exemption to anyone – for a suggested “donation” starting at $ 25.

With workplace vaccination warrants in sight, opponents are turning to a proven remedy to avoid a COVID-19 vaccine: the claim that vaccination interferes with religious beliefs.

No major denomination opposes vaccination. Even the Church of Christian Science, whose adherents rely heavily on prayer rather than medicine, does not impose official policy. He advises “respect for public health authorities and conscientious obedience to the laws of the country, including those requiring vaccination.”

And if a person claims their private religious beliefs prohibit vaccination, that defense is unlikely to stand up in court if challenged, according to legal experts. Although members of the clergy have ridden the anti-vaccine train, they have no obvious justification in religious texts for their positions. Many seem willing to meet the needs of people who reject vaccination for another reason.

Yet the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission gives wide latitude to what constitutes a sincere religious belief. As a result, some experts predict that most employers and administrators will not want to challenge such objections on the part of their employees.

“I have a feeling that not many people will want to fight over this topic,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, infectious disease expert and professor at the University of California-Berkeley.

The full approval by the Food and Drug Administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on August 23 could take the problem to a critical point. Many government agencies, healthcare providers, colleges and the military were waiting for this decision before implementing the warrants.

In Dallas-Fort Worth, major health systems were the first companies to implement warrants, giving workers until the end of the month to get vaccinated. The issue of the exemption is already a battleground, with Liberty Counsel threatening to sue the Methodist Health System for denying religious exemptions to at least four workers.

Health care

Religious freedom group targets mandate to vaccinate Methodist health system workers

Religious freedom group Liberty Counsel says the Dallas-based Methodist health care system illegally denied employees exemptions from its company-wide vaccination mandate when it rejected multiple requests. Florida-based Liberty Counsel, who has become a staunch opponent of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations, said the vaccines all have links to aborted fetal cells and because of that, anyone with religious objections should benefit from an exemption.

California, which abolished non-medical exemptions for childhood immunizations in 2015, has paved the way for COVID immunization mandates. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom’s July 26 order that state employees and healthcare workers be fully immunized or tested weekly was the first of its kind, as was a similar August 11 statement for all teachers and staff in public and private schools. . California State University’s 23-campus system has joined with UC in requiring vaccinations for all students and staff, and companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter have announced mandatory proof of vaccination employees for those who return to their offices.

The University of California is requiring proof of vaccination for all staff and students on its 10 campuses, a move that potentially affects half a million people. But like many other companies, it makes room for those who wish to apply for an exemption “for medical, disability or religious reasons”, adding that the law requires it.

Nothing in the story suggests that a large number of students or staff will seek such a solution – but then, no previous conversation about the vaccine has been as overtly politicized as the one around COVID.

“This country is going to issue warrants. It’s just. All other alternatives have been tried, ”said Dr Monica Gandhi, infectious disease expert at UC-San Francisco. “This phrase, ‘religious exemption,’ is very big. But it will be quite difficult in the current climate – in a mass health crisis, with a vaccine in place that works – to drop such religious claims. “

Indeed, while anti-vaccine pop-up churches have long offered reluctant parents ways to exempt their children from vaccines, nowadays churches, internet-based religious businesses and others seem to be offering wholesale. COVID vaccination exemptions.

Dr. Gregg Schmedes, Republican state senator and otolaryngologist from New Mexico, used a Facebook post on August 19 to direct healthcare workers “with a religious belief that abortion is immoral To a site that attempts to catalog the use of cells from abortions. fetus to test or produce various COVID vaccines. A vaccine distributed in the United States, the Johnson & Johnson product, is made from a cell culture obtained in part from retinal cells from an aborted fetus in 1985.

Still, the Vatican has deemed it “morally acceptable” to be vaccinated against COVID. In fact, Pope Francis has declared it “the moral choice because it is about your life but also about the lives of others”. In a growing number of dioceses – Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and New York, among others – bishops have asked priests and deacons not to sign any letter that lends the church’s imprimatur to a request for religious exemption. .

Schmedes did not respond to questions posed by KHN via email.

Signs about freedom of choice and the offer of other messages were fully displayed during the protest outside Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas on August 7, 2021.

In the town of Rocklin, in the Sacramento area, a church that openly defied Newsom’s COVID shutdown orders last year distributed hundreds of exemption letters. Greg Fairrington, pastor of the Destiny Christian Church, told attendees at a church service, “No one should be able to demand that you get vaccinated or lose your job. It’s not fair here in America.

EEOC guidelines suggest that employers make “reasonable accommodation” to those who have a sincere religious objection to a workplace rule. This may mean moving an unvaccinated employee to a secluded part of the office, or from a forward-facing position to one that involves less people-to-people contact. But the employer is not required to do anything that results in undue hardship or more than a “de minimis” cost.

As to the objection itself, the committee’s opinion is vague. Employers “should normally assume that an employee’s request for religious accommodation is based on a sincere religious belief,” says the EEOC. Employers have the right to request supporting documentation, but employees’ religious beliefs should not depend on specific or organized faith.

The distinction between religion and ideology is blurring among those who seek exemptions. In Turlock, Calif., A preschool teacher received a letter of exemption from her pastor, who offered the documents to those who felt taking a vaccine was “morally compromising.”

Asked by KHN via a direct message why she requested the exemption, the woman said she did not feel comfortable being vaccinated because of “what’s in the vaccine,” then added, “Personally, I’m on ‘COVID’ and the control the government is trying to implement on us!” Like other exemption seekers, even those who have posted in anti-vaccine Facebook groups, she was concerned that other people would know that she had requested an exemption.

A surgical technician working at Dignity Health, who ordered her employees to be fully immunized by November 1, said she was awaiting a response from the company’s human resources department on her request for a religious exemption. She freely explained her reasons for applying, referring to two passages from the Bible and listing the ingredients of the vaccines that she said are “harmful to the human body.” But she didn’t want anyone to know that she had requested the religious exemption.

A state’s right to require vaccination is a law established since a 1905 Supreme Court ruling that upheld mandatory smallpox vaccination in Massachusetts. Legal experts say this right has been upheld on several occasions, including in a 1990 Supreme Court ruling that religiously motivated actions are not isolated from laws, unless a law designates religion for disadvantaged treatment. In August, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett refused, without comment, to challenge Indiana University’s rule that all students, staff and faculty should be vaccinated.

“Under current law, it is clear that no religious exemption is required,” Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC-Berkeley law school, told KHN.

Clearly, that doesn’t stop people from looking for one.

This story was written by Mark Kreidler of Kaiser Santé news, which publishes California Health Line, an editorially independent service of the California Healthcare Foundation.


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Taliban ideology: a mixture of Islamic fundamentalism and Pashtun customs https://aaimaustin.org/taliban-ideology-a-mixture-of-islamic-fundamentalism-and-pashtun-customs/ https://aaimaustin.org/taliban-ideology-a-mixture-of-islamic-fundamentalism-and-pashtun-customs/#respond Tue, 07 Sep 2021 03:25:41 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/taliban-ideology-a-mixture-of-islamic-fundamentalism-and-pashtun-customs/ His interpretation of Islam excludes the slightest deviation from orthodoxy. Its penal code imposes corporal punishment reminiscent of the Middle Ages. They separate women from the public space and when they have access to them, they must completely cover the shape of their body, from head to toe. They ban music and all other entertainment. […]]]>

His interpretation of Islam excludes the slightest deviation from orthodoxy. Its penal code imposes corporal punishment reminiscent of the Middle Ages. They separate women from the public space and when they have access to them, they must completely cover the shape of their body, from head to toe. They ban music and all other entertainment. This is the description of the Taliban society we knew in the 1990s, but it could be the Islamic State (ISIS), Saudi Arabia (before the latest social reforms) and even the Revolutionary Iran at the start. Radical Islamists have a lot in common, but they are not the same.

These similarities have led some observers to equate the ideology of the Islamic Emirate, as the Taliban themselves call themselves, with Saudi Wahhabism. Undoubtedly, the money that the Desert Kingdom sent to Pakistan to finance the United States’ war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s radicalized the students of the madrasas and fostered the extremist advance in the region, where prevailed a movement. local known as deobandi, appeared in the 19th century and of Sufi origin. But the Taliban are not Wahhabis, and their morals for society have more to do with their Pashtun origins than with Islam.

Bashir Ahmad, professor of Islamic studies, explains that “there are many differences between Taliban ideology and Wahhabism”, which equates to the ideology of the Islamic State, with which the new rulers of Kabul compete. “The Taliban follow the jurisprudence we call Hanafi, and [los grupos wahabíes] they don’t attend any of the schools [del islam suní] Hanafi, Shafii, Maliki or Hanbali; they have their own ideas, ”he said in a conversation from Kabul.

It is, explains Zahid Hussain, a Pakistani expert on the Taliban phenomenon, “a movement built on Islamic fundamentalism and strict adherence to the conservative Pashtun culture”. This seemingly academic distinction may be key to the Taliban’s ability to be flexible as leaders. Perhaps the most visible and easily understood example is the burqa, a common garment in Pashtun society, but unprecedented in the rest of the Islamic world.

In their first government, the Taliban imposed the burqa Afghans, especially in cities outside their stronghold, where their customs were more challenged. In the countryside, the existing segregation was sufficient, and the nomads kuchi They never used this coat with only a slit at eye level. Now they are talking about the compulsory nature of the Hello, No burqa.

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Being a cultural imperative rather than a religious one allows for flexibility. Only 40 to 50% of the Afghan population is Pashtun; the other half, although made up of ethnic minorities who are also Muslim and generally conservative, do not adhere to the same codes. It remains to be seen what the rules will be and whether the veil will allow women to work and participate in public life, as is the case in Iran (under a Shiite Islamist regime), or whether the objective is to lock them away. houses. Houses.

The comparison with Iran has also emerged these days following the leak that the leader of the Taliban will become the country’s highest authority, comparable to a head of state, with the final say in religious, political matters. and military. . The figure refers to Iran’s Supreme Leader, currently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. However, the Taliban are Sunnis and in Sunni tradition the idea of ​​following a guide (the concept of taqleed) It’s controversial. While the Deobandis accept it, the Salafis reject it.

Regarding the appointment of Hibatullah Akhunzadah as supreme leader, Ahmad explains that “this is the standard of the Taliban”. “There is a big difference between the Iranian government and the Taliban government. Maybe from the outside it seems [un cargo] like that of the Iranian government, but there is no relation ”, underlines this professor of the Salam University of Kabul, without going into the precise details of the difference. “You will understand it better in the next few days,” he replies when asked for an example.

Another important difference from the Wahhabis – or Salafists as they prefer to be called – is the concept of jihad, or holy war. While for the latter it is a must (as seen in Al Qaeda or ISIS), for the Deobandis it is a less strict concept. In fact, while the Taliban once housed al Qaeda, they have never been linked to operations outside their country. Therefore, the United States did not include them on its list of terrorist organizations (although it did include one of its factions, the Haqqani Network) and does not believe that they are now a direct threat to their interests.

Significantly, the theological seminary of Dar ul Ulum in the Indian city of Deoband, from which the deobandi movement was born and took its name, has always supported the aspirations of the Taliban, but condemns Islamist terrorism (it even issued a fatwa on this subject). In 2008).

Also the Salafists are more intolerant than the Deobandis towards non-Muslims (suitcase) and even Muslims who do not follow their line, as evidenced by the treatment that the Islamic State reserved for minorities (Yazidis, Christians or Shiites) when they imposed themselves in northern Iraq and southern Iraq. Syria. When asked whether the ideology of the Taliban is closer to the Iranian theocracy or the Saudi regime, Ahmad responds neither. “They have their own idea of ​​government,” he concludes.

Although this seems contradictory given the doctrinal differences inherent in the two branches of Islam, other analysts are convinced that the Taliban today have a better political relationship with Tehran than with Riyadh.

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Fundamentalism and Succession Dynamics in Minneapolis https://aaimaustin.org/fundamentalism-and-succession-dynamics-in-minneapolis/ https://aaimaustin.org/fundamentalism-and-succession-dynamics-in-minneapolis/#respond Tue, 31 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/fundamentalism-and-succession-dynamics-in-minneapolis/ At the end of my article last Tuesday, I alluded to a brewing controversy at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. So I’m grateful to Greg Rosauer for sharing a guest post today that expands on this story and draws a useful historical contrast to an earlier incident in the same city. Greg is Associate […]]]>

At the end of my article last Tuesday, I alluded to a brewing controversy at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. So I’m grateful to Greg Rosauer for sharing a guest post today that expands on this story and draws a useful historical contrast to an earlier incident in the same city. Greg is Associate Professor and Archivist at the Berntsen Library at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, and a member of Trinity City Church in St. Paul, MN.

Earlier this summer, my pastor and I reflected on how Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) had a formative impact on us during our college years in the early 2000s. In particular, we remembered one provision to consider racial justice and justice for the unborn child as objectives that are proportionate and naturally allied. It only dawned on us years later how these themes by then-pastor John Piper formed an odd couple for many American evangelicals. So, it surprised me when Piper’s successor in Minneapolis, Jason Meyer, resigned in part over accusations that his attempt to resolve the city’s racial unrest subordinated the gospel to ideology. of social justice.

Bethlehem Baptist Church – CC BY 2.0 (Ed Kohler)

In his resignation letter, Meyer used a recent taxonomy of developing factions in evangelism to indicate that it no longer corresponds to Bethlehem. According to Meyer, the BBC and its school, Bethlehem College & Seminary (BCS), are heading towards neo-fundamentalism. Meyer isn’t insulting here, but makes a historical observation that others have seen as well. The polarizing force of national politics, compounded by COVID and racial unrest, has externalized the political and social impulses of American evangelicals. And (surprise!) Evangelicals, even very conservative ones, display different attitudes and dispositions towards culture. The label neo-fundamentalism refers to the militant mentality of 20th century fundamentalists who fought against perceived ideological and cultural threats against the gospel. Today, evangelicals and their institutions seem to sort themselves out according to their level of activism against such threats.

That this has already happened in the middle of the twentieth century is not news. But maybe I can add an observation by comparing what’s going on at the BBC and BCS right now with another church and school in downtown Minneapolis over 70 years ago.

William Bell Riley (1861-1947) was a leading figure in the fundamentalist movement of the early 20th century. He was the longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Minneapolis and the founder and president of Northwestern Schools (a Bible college and religious seminary). A prolific author and lecturer, Riley has devoted most of his organizational and polemical skills to attacking the “threat of modernism” (that is, the encroachment of theological liberalism in denominations, schools and culture). It’s hard not to see the parallels with Piper, who also pastored a Baptist church in Minneapolis, was a prolific author and speaker, helped spark the New Calvinist movement, and founded a religious college and seminary. .

William Bell Riley (center) in 1944 – Used with permission from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul Archives

Both men were institution builders in their own way. However, the institutions they erected were / are dominated by their personalities. In Piper’s case, I think there is an awareness of the danger of personality-driven institutions, but despite her best efforts, there is no getting around the fact that the benches are filling up and the school is recruiting. based on John Piper ‘brand’. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is definitely dangerous to be an evangelical celebrity (as a certain podcast has reminded us well lately). Riley was very familiar with the power of personality-oriented movements, which prompted him to coax a young man named Billy Graham into taking the reins of his denominational school upon his death in 1947. Jason Meyer took over from Piper. as pastor of the church in 2013, not as president of the school.

But despite this difference, Graham and Meyer inherited an institution from a founding leader that was virtually unassailable and essential to his identity. And by virtue of that status in the institution / movement, Riley and Piper had a critical level of trust among their constituents that the incoming leaders did not. This trust allowed some members of the institution to downplay or deny aspects of Riley and Piper’s ministry that they were uncomfortable with. A different but glaring example of this dynamic occurred a few weekends ago when former President Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Alabama and received boos from the crowd for suggesting that they should get vaccinated. The interesting thing about this is how many otherwise staunch Trump supporters have never been on board with “Operation Warp Speed” and are now openly hostile to what Trump considers one of its main achievements.

Trump idiosyncrasies aside, I think a similar type of disconnect happened when Riley left the stage, and I suspect that’s happening now with Piper’s slow exit. The things Riley and Piper kept together in their ministries have never been comfortably reunited in the minds of their constituents.

For Riley, the point of tension was his interfaith. Although a staunch Baptist, he designed his school to be interfaith and promoted cooperative efforts in the fight against modernism. He was also not a separatist, although much of his rhetoric supported the growing impulse of fundamentalists to leave denominations tainted with liberalism. The tension between leaving or staying, fighting or cooperating animated the battles that followed within mid-century fundamentalism. Graham was a fundamentalist, but he was not “an ultra-fundamentalist fighter”. By the 1940s fundamentalism was breaking down and its most important split, neo-evangelism, was occurring within Riley’s own school. As president, Graham was influenced by Carl FH Henry and Harold Ockenga to bring Riley’s school in the neo-evangelical direction only to meet significant resistance from the “ultra-fundamentalist” separatists at the school. The militant, separatist mentality of some collided with Graham’s spirit of cooperative evangelism, making Riley’s Northwest schools ungovernable even to a man of Graham’s talent. Many of Riley’s constituents had never accepted his spirit of interfaith cooperation. They liked the way he fought, but they still suspected that Riley’s cooperative efforts would result in compromise. Graham resigned the presidency in 1952 amid accusations he compromised the gospel for the recognition and acceptance of the world.[1]

Billy Graham at Northwestern Bible Camp in Medicine Lake – Used with permission from Northwestern University-St. Paul Archives

Jason Meyer’s resignation in 2021 is eerily similar. As I mentioned, Piper was well known for emphasizing issues of racial justice. It was in part a legacy of neo-evangelicals in spaces like Wheaton and Fuller (where Piper was educated). But it appears that many under his ministry were still uncomfortable with the issue of race and racism. Jason Meyer, like Graham before him, inherited an institution where ideological tensions could only be maintained by a flawless and trusted founder. A contingent of BBC members, it seems, tolerated the racial justice efforts under Piper but were always uncomfortable with them. As many pastors have discovered, 2020 has exacerbated the discomfort in discussing race. For the BBC, this unease manifested itself in open suspicion of Meyer’s commitment to the gospel, even by some of Bethlehem’s own elders. Meyer, like Graham, did not enjoy the same latitude of confidence accorded to his predecessor. In other words: Meyer cannot care about racial justice without suspecting that he is “awake”. Just like Graham could not cooperate with non-fundamentalists without suspecting himself of being “liberal”.

The difference that had separated the neo-evangelicals from the fundamentalists was not primarily doctrinal, but dispositional. In 1951, Graham attempted to temper Riley’s militant disposition by emphasizing Riley’s interfaith spirit. The “fighting ultra-fundamentalists” reversed the emphasis. “A fundamentalist,” to use George Marsden’s flippant definition, “is an evangelical who is angry with something. Meyer, like Graham, was not sufficiently militant against liberalism or revival. Hence Meyer’s feeling that the BBC and the BCS are moving towards neo-fundamentalism, that is to say a culture concerned with combating the encroachment of secular ideologies infiltrating the church and where the taking charge of needs of the broken is a subterfuge of secularization. In an ecclesial culture where compassion involves compromise, it is not enough to check all the doctrinal boxes. Compassion can sound too much like irrational empathy. The fear, sometimes rightly founded, is that if we lose our sanity, we no longer have a Christian faith.

My hope is that Christians of all stripes will throw off the burden of distrust of one another and assume the humble trust of our Lord, doing “everything without complaining or arguing, that we may become blameless and pure,” children of God without fault in a twisted and twisted generation ”(Phi 2:14 NIV).


[1] This story is based on one of my articles: Greg Rosauer, “Billy Graham’s Northwestern Years (1948-1952): Emerging Evangelical and Fundamentalist Identities”, Fides and History 52, no. 1 (2020): 39-54.


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British Columbia Court of Appeal Finds ‘Honest and Sincere Religious Belief’ Grounds to Avoid Sex https://aaimaustin.org/british-columbia-court-of-appeal-finds-honest-and-sincere-religious-belief-grounds-to-avoid-sex/ https://aaimaustin.org/british-columbia-court-of-appeal-finds-honest-and-sincere-religious-belief-grounds-to-avoid-sex/#respond Sun, 29 Aug 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/british-columbia-court-of-appeal-finds-honest-and-sincere-religious-belief-grounds-to-avoid-sex/ The British Columbia Court of Appeal stated that an “honest and sincere religious belief” should be considered a ground for avoiding the sex necessary to consummate a marriage. The highest court in the province last week annulled the marriage of a Sikh couple who married civilly but claimed they had never slept together because they […]]]>

The British Columbia Court of Appeal stated that an “honest and sincere religious belief” should be considered a ground for avoiding the sex necessary to consummate a marriage.

The highest court in the province last week annulled the marriage of a Sikh couple who married civilly but claimed they had never slept together because they broke up while awaiting a religious ceremony for consecrate the union.

A lower court judge refused to annul the marriage because religious reasoning failed the long-standing legal test for failure to consummate a marriage – “physical or psychological incapacity.”

The appeals court judges ruled that “in the multicultural society that our nation reflects”, the law must be applied “in accordance with the cultural norms of the parties seeking annulment.”

“The [B.C. Supreme Court] judge insisted too much on the agreement of the parties not to consume, ”says the ruling.

“[The judge] did not give enough weight to the fact that the deal reflected an underlying aversion to consumption before the end of a Gurdwara ceremony. “

“Caprice is not a sufficient motive”

The decision contrasts the long legal history of marriage law with the realities of a diverse Canada.

According to the decision, the “founding Canadian” precedent for annulment is a 1942 Supreme Court of Canada case known as Heil v Heil.

In this situation, a doctor married a woman he met in Vienna in 1937 while studying.

The couple boarded the Empress of Britain for Canada, after which she immediately left to visit an aunt in New Hampshire and he left to look for work.

According to the decades-old ruling, sex escaped the couple the following year; they caught a glimpse of each other as he moved to Ottawa, then to Timmins, and she was on her way back to Europe.

She claimed she had “fulfilled her marital duties,” but Canada’s highest court did not believe her.

They also did not accept a trial judge’s finding that “she was mentally incapable of having sex between a man and a woman”.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal stated that an “honest and sincere religious belief” should be considered a ground for avoiding the sex necessary to consummate a marriage. (David Horemans / CBC)

This laid the foundation for a standard that is still accepted today.

“The refusal of sexual intercourse is the result of stubbornness, which is a creature of his will, and not the result of an invincible reluctance to the physical life of marriage,” wrote the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada.

“The simple refusal of marital relations on a whim is not a sufficient reason to justify a judgment in nullity.”

“Indeed, the end of the relationship”

In the case of British Columbia, the woman – PK – met her future husband – GS – after arriving in Canada as a student in 2017.

They got married in February 2019.

“They wanted to marry civilly to be able to live together, which would be against their religion, but they postponed the consumption until they underwent a traditional ceremony of Gurdwara”, indicates the decision of the court of appeal. .

After the civil marriage, they claimed that they lived separately in the same house, which they shared with friends.

GS was suffering from depression and PK claimed they started arguing.

“I decided to leave this place because it was affecting my studies and my job as well. So I just decided to get out of this thing because it was – was affecting my health and my emotional health so much,” PK said. at the bottom search.

“It was indeed the end of the relationship,” said the appeal court’s decision.

But the trial judge refused to annul the marriage.

She said it looked like PK and GS had simply “decided” not to consummate their marriage.

The judge said PK was not claiming that “the marriage could not be consummated because one of the parties is unable to have sex resulting from physical or psychological incapacity”.

Not necessary or appropriate today

Last year, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge annulled a marriage after finding the husband couldn’t maintain an erection.

This case looked at the graphic legal history of cases in which courts once required physical evidence of impotence.

“I am not convinced that this extremely high standard of proof is necessary or appropriate today,” wrote Justice Wendy Baker.

Likewise, considering the reasons why PK and GS were unable to consummate their marriage, the Court of Appeal considered that the trial judge “focused too much on the physical and psychological aspects of capacity in the traditional sense. of the term ”.

“They wanted to live together, but according to their cultural norms, they couldn’t do it without ceremony. Hence the civil ceremony. Sikh Gurdwara ceremony, and therefore did not consummate it, ”the judges wrote.

“The real aversion to consumption arose out of their religious beliefs, creating real incapacity.”


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Threat of the rise of fundamentalism for democracy https://aaimaustin.org/threat-of-the-rise-of-fundamentalism-for-democracy/ https://aaimaustin.org/threat-of-the-rise-of-fundamentalism-for-democracy/#respond Wed, 25 Aug 2021 06:56:15 +0000 https://aaimaustin.org/threat-of-the-rise-of-fundamentalism-for-democracy/ Fundamentalism is the belief in ancient and traditional forms of religion or the belief that anything written in a holy book is true. This was particularly evident in the 20th century, which seeks to reclaim and publicly institutionalize aspects of the past that modern life has obscured. The 21st century has witnessed a phenomenal rise […]]]>

Fundamentalism is the belief in ancient and traditional forms of religion or the belief that anything written in a holy book is true. This was particularly evident in the 20th century, which seeks to reclaim and publicly institutionalize aspects of the past that modern life has obscured.

The 21st century has witnessed a phenomenal rise in fundamentalism and fanaticism and a rise in global terrorism. Fundamentalists view secular states as their main enemy because their goals don’t tend to align with each other.

Representative image. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Socialist society believes in education, democracy, reforms, modernization, liberalization and economic reforms. Fundamentalists see all of these goals as obstacles to their goal of preserving the spiritual dimension of life.

The ideology of fundamentalism has not only gripped poor and underdeveloped countries, but has also hijacked developed, liberal and democratic nations. Many factors such as imperialism, poverty, lack of good governance, corruption, political instability and poor economic conditions have contributed to the rise of fundamentalism.

Lately, the concept of fundamentalism has taken a bad turn with the rise of activism, violence and terrorism. Religious awareness not only among the elderly but also among the young is increasing nowadays. It is the by-product of modern life, which has become synonymous with stress, pressures, competitiveness and uncertainty.

This overt religiosity has led to the growth, spread and strengthening of fundamentalism. However, among the most distinctive features of the current situation are the leaps that are taking place in globalization, linked to a process of capitalist accumulation that is accelerating in a world dominated by the capitalist-imperialist system. This has led to significant and often dramatic changes in the lives of large numbers of people, often undermining traditional relationships and customs.

All over the developing world people are being driven from the farmlands where they lived and tried to survive in oppressive conditions, but they can’t even do it now. They are thrown into the urban areas that surround the heart of cities.

Almost half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, including massive and growing slums. Uprooted from their traditional conditions and the traditional forms in which they have been exploited and oppressed, they are thrown into a very precarious and unstable existence, unable to integrate in any way into the economic and social fabric. and the functioning of society.

In many countries, the majority of people living in urban areas work in the informal economy. To a large extent, because of this, many people are turning to religious fundamentalism to try to give them a foothold in the midst of all this dislocation and upheaval.

In developing countries, these massive changes and upheavals are occurring against a backdrop of domination and exploitation by foreign imperialists, who are associated with the local ruling classes. These classes are economically and politically dependent and subordinate to imperialism and are seen as corrupt agents of a foreign power, who also promote the decadent culture of the West.

Demonstration in Bangladesh
Representative image. (by Abdul goni from Pixabay)

This, in the short term, can strengthen the hands of fundamentalist religious forces and leaders who oppose the corruption and Western decadence of the local ruling classes and imperialists to whom they are indebted, in terms of return and enforcement with revenge, relationships, customs, ideas and traditional values ​​which themselves are rooted in the past embody extreme forms of exploitation and oppression.

Many fundamentalist organizations have been created, and it should be clearly noted, they are limited to Islamic fundamentalism.

Fundamentalism is viral in many religions, including some liberal religions. Fundamentalism in the United States has its roots in the Niagara Bible Conference linked to Christian fundamentalism. Jewish fundamentalism has been used to characterize militant religious Zionism. Likewise, Hindu fundamentalism is noticeable in Hindutva, Ayodhya verdict, Gujrat riots, etc.

The origin of Islamic fundamentalism dates back to the 7th century. The Shia and Sunni religious conflict has also created a rift and worsened Islamic fundamentalism. Boko Haram of Al-Shabaab, Ansar-al-Sharia, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, etc., are Islamic fundamentalist organizations endangering peace and harmony, giving rise to terrorist activities.

The rise of fundamentalism is leading not only to the loss of life and property, but also to the displacement of millions of people from their homelands. The growing terrorist attacks and the migration crisis in Europe are due to the growing fundamentalism in Central and West Asia. Peace, harmony and prosperity have been dominated by fear, apprehension and hatred.

A democratic government that enjoys greater popular participation must be the backbone of good governance. People need to be educated to improve their employability. This leads to an improvement in the standard of living. People need more religious freedom.

There is a need to intensify international cooperation and collaboration in order to stem the rise of fundamentalism. The United Nations has an important role to play in improving the deterioration of the global environment.

Featured Image via pxfuel


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