By Dan Bodine
Progress? Sí, we’ve made some. Maybe the world is ready then for a universal human rights declaration permitting people to be different. Even in religious beliefs!
Waddaya think?! Would it ease large-scale tragedies by political and religious fanatics? And possibly even ease the world’s burgeoning refugee crisis!? Hundreds of thousands even fleeing Christian persecution!
After all, unless you could find a cave somewhere, being different — e.g., living in a public mind and body God gave you, when one or both are not like everyone else’s — has never been easy, anywhere. At any time!
Shouldn’t this be one of our human rights protected by universal law? Especially from religious persecution! The sweeping context of history is on our side!
Perhaps the best, latest example is the slaughter Easter Sunday in Pakistan of over 70 Christians by Taliban militants. In what the world is coming to realize is payback against the West’s 9/11 response, there is now a War on Christians.
“There is a growing sense of insecurity among minorities in Pakistan, and whoever is not a Muslim is not safe in this country,” said Cecil Shane Chaudhry, executive director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, a Christian NGO.
“People are calling for an assassin to be declared a hero and the government is giving them space,” he said earlier in france24.com‘s “Easter attack confirms worst fears of Pakistani Christians.”
The victims’ crime? They’re different! Innocently got in cross-hairs of an ancient political power game traditionally young or insecure people play on Established Rule — To prove their superiority and/or, even sometimes, make it thru the night!
In Pakistan, i. e.,extreme Muslim defenders call religious differences “blasphemous,” with the divided government recently even executing one liberal governor for it.
He’d called not just for reform of the country’s blasphemy law but also a pardon for a Christian mother of two and stepmother of three, who’s facing blasphemy death herself — for speaking out against the law!
Does this in any way relate to our own country’s Salem witch trials once? A people in the throes of both Change and escaping their past? Seeing things?!!
Or are such comparisons off-limits? All of this — indeed, the ugly trend in the Muslim world since George W. stepped off against “terrorists” — actually is a calculated War on Christians as payback!? By many extremists!
The War on Christians story has some sobering statistics:
According to the Pew Forum, between 2006 and 2010 Christians faced some form of discrimination, either de jure or de facto, in a staggering total of 139 nations, which is almost three-quarters of all the countries on earth. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, an average of 100,000 Christians have been killed in what the centre calls a ‘situation of witness’ each year for the past decade. That works out to 11 Christians killed somewhere in the world every hour, seven days a week and 365 days a year, for reasons related to their faith. [bf emphasis mine]
What IS it about being different that bothers someone’s comfort zone, huh? Maybe there are some models.
No doubt Cleburne, Tx, an old, wonderful mid-size city in the D-FW metroplex, would qualify as most people’s average All-American City — with all of today’s hoopla and warts from the past thrown in collectively.
Having grown up with a speech impediment there, I can testify the teasing I took for stuttering was no less nor worse than most other places you’ll find in America. People are people usually! Where ever!
And later, even working for the newspaper there once, I witnessed the infamous, 1980, “freaks bill,” the zoning ordinance the city used to block a group residential home for 13 moderately retarded citizens.
Usual reaction, it was considered then. Neighbors were afraid wandering freaks would be staring at them through their bedroom windows.
A blatant fear of those from the unknown, yes, but expressed in such rich language as to be taken as an individual’s personal security blanket, a right to hold onto!
Nothing personal to the offended, ‘ya understand?!
I mean, isn’t that how far-right Libertarians react to the sounds of big, bad wolf!? (“Trump, Cruz, you listening!?” Tell ’em, Jethro!) They circle the wagons! But this ploy backfired!
The U.S. Supreme Court later overturned it on prejudice, as being “irrational fear.” And in it, a basic Right stood up!
And thereby it opened the nation’s inner-city neighborhoods to them — in a string of civil rights improvements that still reverberate.
Among benefits for what federal law says are now “intellectually disabled” citizens, i.e., there’re now a group further classified as “cognitively impaired.” (an RN Facebook friend informed me)
Indeed, progress for them (i.e., medical diagnostics, federal disability benefits, society’s awareness and respect) has come a long ways since the 1985 landmark Cleburne case.
Forced progress, it was initially though.
But by being among us, people now are more familiar with these new disabled citizens; and thus not fearful of them. And people everywhere still get to act basically good and decent, right?!
They certainly do in Cleburne! Now.
Could an analogy then for “all such things and people” that go bump in the night not be made?
For religious freaks in other lands, i.e., also? Those “living in a public mind and body God gave (them)” — but “when one or both are not like everyone else’s”?
Perhaps the question is, “Are we as a world’s common people there yet!?”
To dictate thru economic sanctions and such just how far a nation can allow its dictators, fanatics and even religious extremists to go in coercing allegiance?
In a common-trade world? Increasingly where more and more are invested?
This war is by outlaws! Old, frontier-day yáhoos! Huh?
Human rights mean anything!? Is freedom of religion — an inward belief system that physically holds one up (like breathing air) — even a “human right” yet? Shouldn’t it be?!
Look at the magnitude of the refugee situation today! How many are fleeing religious persecution!? Not just Christians but Muslims, too. Any glimpses? Price tags?
Canadian Professor Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann is Canada Research Chair in International Human Rights, and the person who inspired my social minimalism blog herself.
Part of a small group, too, in Canada who’s ponied up $180,000 so far themselves to take in Syrian families. The enormity of its scope — the world‘s new exodus — bothers her.
** “…2.3 million Yemenis are internally displaced and 1.3 million children are at risk of malnutrition (out of a population of 26.5 million)”
** “…And then there are the South Sudanese, suffering malnutrition, displacement, murder, torture and rape at the hands of their feuding leaders, who brought them independence from Sudan proper in 2011 only to fight among themselves.”
“… (H)ow do you assess the millions of people flocking to Europe at the moment not only from Syria and Afghanistan, but also from North Africa, sub-Sahara Africa, and Pakistan,” she asks?
Personally, I don’t think it’s a “you” (as in, singular) question. I think it’s a “we” (as in, plural) question!
No doubt few know United Nation’s mission failure-anguish more than Dr. Hassman. In the U.S. alone, it seems funding “forever” has been crimped by GOP, conservative reform-era politics.
But if there was ever a time for this great body to stand up as “we,” it’s now, it seems.
The evidence is clear. As a “people,” enough of us have crossed the Rubicon!
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