I used to be a devout Catholic who regularly attended religious services on any given Sunday. But once I became a freethinking adult, I found that many of my beliefs about religion stemmed more from my parent’s views than from my own.
I see religion as a very private matter, up to the individual, and something that shouldn’t be forced upon anyone by radical groups looking for allies. I’ve also discovered there’s a lot of hypocrites out there – who preach the word of their God of choice, but do little to practice its beliefs in their every day lives. I’m not sure if that makes them any more religious than I am, but I’m sure in their own minds it does.
As I understand it, the purpose of religion is to foster love, acceptance and prosperity for everyone – bringing about a true sense of unity, harmony and peace. But what I’ve come to realize over the years is that religions seem to have more biases towards “everyone” than many ordinary people walking on the street.
Take the Westboro Baptist Church based in Kansas. Their religious claim to fame? Protesting outside military funerals among grieving family members – carrying signs reading “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “God Hates Fags,” while preaching the gospel of homophobia. They believe these deaths are punishment from God himself for the way in which our nation tolerates homosexuality.
How can these people claim to be Americans, while denouncing the brave individuals who are risking their lives to protect us? To protect our very Freedom of Speech, which the Westboro Baptist Church and many other radicals rely on to spew their message of hate.
I’ve always believed that neither the color of your skin nor your sexual orientation has anything to do with a person’s character or their ability to be an upstanding member of society. If the real purpose of religion is truly to foster love, acceptance and prosperity for everyone, then the Westboro Baptist Church is nothing more than a sham – a toxic gathering of people who are filled with nothing but hate.
When “Dear Abby” was asked by a reader what he could do to improve the quality of his neighborhood after a gay couple moved in across the street, she simply replied, “YOU could move.”
I think it’s time for the members of the Westboro Baptist Church and so many others like it to move on – there’s no denying it will make the world a much better place to live in.