The idea of the separation of church and state is an important one because it keeps people from being subjected to the whims of others who don’t share our beliefs. It has been a popular meme for many years to say that the problem we have in society, especially with the youth, is that religion has been taken out of schools. This may sound like an easy fix, but it is the opposite of that.
That approach tends to foster intolerance, especially since it’s possible for people to be coerced into special belief systems incompatible with their own. It is possible, however, to find a way around this issue of prayers in schools; “prayers” could take the form of moments of silence in which students can use that period in whatever way they would choose.
America is a very diverse nation with people honoring all types of religious/spiritual disciplines. Yet, with all of this diversity, it seems as though human tolerance is going in the opposite direction; it is apparent that there is a gradual devolvement of spirituality and humane comportment. This has become apparent from the behavior of some high-profile members of the clergy.
Some examples of recent headlines involving questionable behavior among the clergy include: Fight Breaks Out at Pastor’s Installation; The leader of Jesus Dominion International has been making headlines for much of the past two years over charges of sexual assault and human trafficking; The leader of End Times Disciples Ministries in Soshanguve, Plethebo Rabalago of Mount Zion General Assembly in Limpopo sprayed the popular insecticide Doom on his congregants, claiming that it would “heal” them; Clergyman… fed his congregants snakes; Clergyman took his pro-life teachings a little too far when he shot and killed an abortion doctor outside of her clinic – he was arrested and later executed for his crimes.
Continuing; Clergyman claimed to be able to diagnose (and cure) any of his churchgoers’ hidden diseases just by asking the heavens for help – he was later revealed to be wearing a wire, through which his wife would feed him the information; and Pastor accused of defrauding an elder parishioner out of her life savings. All of this has been coupled with the horrific scandal connected with Catholic priests’ sexual abuse activities.
This turn toward a devolving spiritual climate is evident on social media platforms, as well, where people are unnecessarily nasty toward one another. Almost every issue generates hatred and intolerance among an unusually large number of people.
It is as though people feel comfortable revealing their true selves while hiding behind an anonymous keyboard.
Topping off this campaign of bad behavior is the fact that the former president of the United States has been found guilty of inciting an insurrection against the United States government. He has influenced almost half of the Republican Party to deny the legitimacy of election results, and many of his cohorts are in lockstep with him in the fight against democracy as we know it.
Regarding the Black community, an increasing number of people are just randomly engaging in fratricide; and a lot of folks just don’t seem to care about the well-being of those around them. Of course, there are pockets of sanity where some people actually do care and help each other, but they are not in the majority.
Things can’t continue along these paths without something bad happening if we don’t change our ways. One of the first things we must understand is that there is a difference between spirituality and religion. Yes, some aspects of religion are getting a bad rap, which is resulting in a loss of faith among people. But the behavior (or misbehavior) of the clergy or highly placed politicians should not be the determinate of bad behavior on the part of citizens. We must learn that we’re all in this together. That may sound corny, but it is true.
As we enter a new year, we have an opportunity for a fresh start; we can change directions in our collective behavior. The truth of the matter is that we are heading toward a precipice, and we need to put on the brakes before we go over a cliff.
What will be necessary for us to save ourselves is that we must reach deep inside, finding the good that we can retrieve and ignoring the negative external influences that seem determined to cause us to fail. We need to re-claim our faith and change society for the better. A Luta Continua.