Opinion

The U.S. and religion: Jesus would not have approved

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on one cheek, let him hit the other one too; if someone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well. Do for others just what you want them to do for you.” One would think today’s Dalai Lama would say this, but in reality Jesus Christ said this in Luke 6:27-31.

While reading the chapter about Christianity in Experiencing the World’s Religions by Michael Molloy for my Religion 101 class, I became aware of Jesus Christ’s desire to promote love and nonviolence to the public. I am baffled after learning how Jesus’ emphasis on nonviolence and love has been lost through the ages. Additionally, Judaism and Islam have also overlooked their original message of love and nonviolence. Today, the three major monotheistic religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, are buried in the complete opposite of their roots.

So why does the United States, a country dominated by Christianity and Christian principle, engage in war and use war as a method of political action? Does our country’s separation between church and state enable our leaders to use war as a method of action?

As I continued to read about Jesus’ promotion of love and nonviolence, I often thought I was reading one of the Dalai Lama’s teachings. When our country was attacked with force, our initial reaction was to respond with a stronger force. If we win a battle or the war, should we rejoice and declare that the appropriate method of action was used? Should we lose, will we rethink our choice of action?

It is hard to believe that a country so deeply ingrained by the life of Jesus Christ can be so far from his original ideals for the world. At the present moment, our country needs to carefully reevaluate the ideals that it stands for. Right now, it appears that life is not something we place the highest value upon.

Sam Rega can be contacted at s.rega@umiami.edu.

October 19, 2004

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