Religious Diversity: The New Culture Wars

Religious Diversity in Historical Context

Diversity has played a controversial role in this country since its inception—even in writing the Constitution. One thing is perfectlymuslim_headress_window.thumbnail clear. We realized early on that the separation of religion and government was crucial to create a more perfect union.

Careful consideration of history tells us that this was a smart thing to do. Historically, religious leaders have colluded with governments in some of the worse incidents of human rights violations and genocide across the globe. Recently, the Clinton and Bush political machines have dangerously blurred the precious division between church and state in American politics. A combination of the tragic of 9/11 and subsequent colonization of Iraq solidified the undermining of resistance to religion-state separation.

Consider that the Council on American-Islamic Relations recently characterized Fox Television’s thriller series 24 as promoting negative stereotypes and racial hatred for it portrayal of Muslims in an upcoming segment.

Culture Wars

Why not engage in Muslim-bashing for profit given the post 9/11 sentiment towards the Middle East? The results of a recent Cornell University national study of American terrorism fears show that being Muslim is enough reason to curtail one’s civil liberties. According to the study published in December 2004, almost half of respondents polled endorsed the idea of U.S. government curtailing Muslim American civil liberties.

In fact, a little more than one in five respondents said that all Muslim Americans should be required to register their location with the federal government, and that mosques should be closely monitored by U.S. law enforcement agencies. Twenty-two percent said Muslim or Middle Eastern heritage should be used in profiling citizens as potential threats.

The good news is that 48 percent of respondents nationally said they do not believe that civil liberties for Muslim Americans should be restricted. The split in views is consistent with the political atmosphere in this country sense the Gore-Bush presidential campaign. The difference is that the current leadership appears to be exploiting religion to further divide the country rather than to heal people—which I believe is the fundamental tenant of spirituality.

You may want to blame it on white, conservative Americans. Well they could not pull it off without those African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and recent immigrants who have jumped on the Muslim hatred bandwagon with Christian whites. The common ground is a belief that those who do not fit within the mainstream of Christian, God-loving America can be treated as less than citizens. George W. Bush is a master of exploiting religion in the service of government agenda.

The blurred reality of church-state separation is not only a Constitutional travesty. It is also a travesty for a presumably civilized society. Remember enslavement of black Americans and Japanese American imprisonment. Boy, we have a short memory. Not the government—Just us little folks. Our leaders know that they are repeating past mistakes.

The very smart ones also know that we will live to regret the Muslim-American bashing (assuming it does not get worse). Their greed, unfortunately, simply prevent them from more compassionate governance. They also know how to manipulate most of us Americans into siding with their agenda because we are sheep. We do not know how to think for ourselves.

I don’t know if the Constitutional challenges to our wholly war against Muslims will do any good. I do know that we will look back with guilt and shame at how insensitive and ethnocentric we have behaved out of fear resulting from selfish government manipulation. This is not true of all government officials. However, too many of them simply do not have the capacity to be compassionate in a world that is in dire need for it at the top.


  1. Now, since this post is pretty dated, how do you feel about the anti-Muslim sentiment in America? Has it changed at all?

  2. Said EL Mahi says:

    The First Amendment contains two clauses about the Freedom of Religion. The first part is known as the Establishment Clause, and the second as the Free Exercise Clause.

    The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from passing laws that will establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. The courts have interpreted the establishment clause to accomplish the separation of church and state.

  3. Tiera Williams says:

    My personal belief is that people have forgotten that America wouldn’t be America without the Africans being slaves to build the nation, Latinos, Asians. Everyone wants individual credit when America wouldn’t be as rich and willing.

  4. Patricia Honer says:

    Everyone feels differently on the matter of religion and how we are all seperated and fight amoungst another because of one’s opinion is insane. I believe we should all stick together and fight for other things that are worth fighting about.

  5. They say that Muslims “civil liberties” are taken away after the 9/11 attack. Do you feel this is the correct thing to do since most Muslims are probably nice people, just like everyone else. There are always “rotten eggs” in countries and cultures but its no need to discriminate these countries and religions as a whole if one person has done something bad and he or she had a religious background that can be held against him or her.

  6. As with any “hate group” whether you don’t like blacks, whites, etc. It is looked upon from an individual perspective. True if you can get someone to agree or hate the same thing that you hate then you will have alot of “followers.” One should have enough common sense to know that just because a group of people use a religion to commit horrific crimes does not mean that everyone who practice that religion is guilty as well.

  7. No people want to believe in God just because is easier not to but my believes remains with me and the world will be as it is.

  8. i agree with that, i think the states is quick to use one or even several individuals of a group’s actions and labled them to what we think the group as a whole is all about. like how many people are quick to grab there children when a muslim of middle eastern decent is around because america has shown them as the ‘bad’ones, but when they see a black muslim there reaction might not be as critical because those arnt the faces that we were shown to not like..and they think they are protecting against muslims? i think most of our leaders are jokes, and maybe we do need to ignore alot of it and think on our own.

  9. Aridrinanna Turner says:

    After reading this i must say we as people can not blam all muslims for what some muslims did how would we like if the government took away some of our civil liberties because some blacks kill and steal while others work hard you cant judge one race because of something one individual or a few individuals did its not right and i believe if this were to happen it would just make thing worst than what they are now we as people some times forget that we are all humans no matter the race or color of the skin

  10. well religion is such a powerfull thing. so powerfull that it gets people killed everday because people misunderstand other religions and only think there’s is the the only way to be or to live by personaly i dont care what your religion is as a matter of fact lets get together and see what is really different !!! but we will soon relize its all the same no matter what it is just different versions. i dont impose my religion on anybody else because its not there religion its mine.i dont judge by that i have alot of friends and none have the same religion and i respect and love that .

  11. everyone has there opimions and everyone has there own side to choose whoes to say anyone is wrong? but something that is true is that facts stay the same! opinions change every day like Tiera said america woulnd most def be america if it werent for the slaves others may view it differently Muslim is a religion and it was wrong for everyone to try and attack everyone whom is muclim and hate them! in the religion of muslim self sacrifice is not something they follow.

  12. I feel that for being one of the most diverse countries in the world and growing we are becoming more and more intolerable of other religions and ethnicity’s. How is it that we are digressing further and becoming less intolerable of others as we are becoming more and more diverse over time?

  13. I believe that it does not matter what religion, ethnicity, or race we are. It is important to be able to understand and accept other people how ever they may be. We are all different and no one will never get to make everyone the same or to have the same beliefs, customs, traditions, way of thinking, etc. no matter what they do. It is impossible! God created each of us different. I do think that for safety of every individual the government should make some changes that will off course evolve every time, but still respecting every individual.

    God bless you all! 🙂

  14. Alexus Gilmore says:

    i believe that everyone should put aside their differences ad stick together and try to learn about one another. if we take the time to learn about different religious than we would not held people for their beliefs.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    No matter what religion, ethnicity, or race we are. Accept other people how they are. We are all different!!! We will never all be the same or have the same beliefs, customs, traditions. Everyone thinks differently and their cultures influence what they believe and how they act on a daily basis. Diversity is not a new concept and there is a wide range of religious beliefs. As the world continues to grow, the more acceptance we should have. That is unfortunately not always the case.

  16. I think that it is very important to learn and accept other religions, because you will never truly know your own religion until you have encountered a different religion and challenged yourself to learn more about it. It makes you a stronger believer of your own faith.

  17. Elijah Biggs says:

    These wars have been going on for thousands of years. It isn’t sensable to me that people take other’s lives in the name of a God. Yet many people believe so strongly that what they are killing for is right to them. I belive they are blind. I also believe that our beliefs will out way our logic and some will continue to kill for thier God or Gods.

  18. “Remember enslavement of black Americans and Japanese American imprisonment. Boy, we have a short memory. Not the government—Just us little folks. Our leaders know that they are repeating past mistakes.” “….The very smart ones also know that we will live to regret the Muslim-American bashing (assuming it does not get worse).

    Well said. The entire Muslim population cannot be punished as a whole. We cannot blame each and every Muslim for an act of terrorism that few committed. I’m sure that much of the Muslim community regrets what those few did to America. And yes, I do believe we will soon regret the way we have treated the Muslim-Americans much like we should regret we treated the black American slaves and Japanese. But perhaps we shouldn’t point the finger at any particular group as the writer mentioned (white conservative Christians, etc…) and we should only try to make a difference ourselves. We do not need to make religion the “New Culture War” although it may be too late. Pointing fingers will make a war of it. I believe we need to do less passing of the blame onto one party and worry about ourselves. I’ll pray to my God, your pray to yours. We must learn to accept others of different faith and practices.

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