Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Respect each other's spiritual beliefs.

Religion is a big part of politics today. Mike Huckabee is or was a Baptist minister. Mitt Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints - also known as Mormons. John McCain is apparently not religous enough, but Sarah Palin might just make up for it. Some people still believe (incorrectly) that Barak Obama is a Muslim, and for some reason have a problem with that. I wonder what they would make of me, a non-practicing Presbyterian Jewish agnostic Unitarian?

The thing is - none of that matters. Because, really, a particular religion isn't what makes someone a good leader, or even a good person. Most religions actually agree on many parts of what a good person is. It doesn’t matter if they are a follower of Christianity or Confucianism, Judaism or Jainism, Islam, Paganism, Buddhism, Baptism, Atheism, or even a garden variety follower of Unitarian Universalism, but they ALL agree that the following things are part of what makes someone good: Caring. Polite. Helpful to those in need. Gives to charity. Takes responsibility. Avoids hypocrisy. Loving to their family. Honest. Loyal. Thoughtful. Cleans up after themselves. Takes action when there is a need. Lends a hand.

A specific religion isn't what makes two of my neighbors, who are as far apart religiously as any two people can be, good people. Both are caring, involved mothers. Both are loving, and give back to the community. But one is a member of a fundamentalist church, and the other is a pagan. Yet they get along fine, consider each other friends, and are always polite to each other. They give each other and everyone else respect because they see the common ground: they and everyone else are still human beings, and as such deserve respect.

Be like my neighbors, and respect each others' religious beliefs. People don't have to agree, but should strive to be respectful. I think we'd all be better — and happier — for it.

No comments: