Anglican Communion News Service reports that religious violence is “a defining issue of our generation”:
From the World Council of Churches
Violence perpetrated in the name of religion was highlighted as “a defining issue of our generation” by Canon David Porter when he spoke to members of theCommission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) of the World Council of Churches (WCC).
Porter, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as director for reconciliation at Lambeth Palace in London, joined the WCC meeting via Skype on 17 February. The meeting has brought together CCIA members who will set directions for the work of the Commission in coming years.
At the meeting, Porter said that religiously sanctified violence is a global challenge, and not just an issue of the Arab world. “The reality is that those promoting such violence are looking deep into their own religious traditions and are attempting to find justifications for their actions,” he said.
“It isn’t just a façade; for many it comes with a deep ideological commitment from their tradition, as they understand it. Therefore the challenge for us is to look again into all religious traditions and see how traditions and texts are used to justify violence,” Porter added.
Porter stressed the need to delve deeper into what instigates young people to be attracted to the views articulated by extremists. He said for many young people this is an ideological issue with several economic and socio-political reasons behind much of their anger and violence.
From CNN: Ending the Cycle of Hate: with Episcopal priest the Rev. Alberto Cutíe, and other faith leaders:
From Religion Dispatches:
Just as I finished Karen Armstrong’s Fields of Blood, which is a very extended attack on the notion that “religion is inherently violent” or that religion and war go together like a horse and carriage, news broke of the latest atrocity-of-the-day: the beheading of 21 Egyptian men by ISIS, apparently in Tripoli. The men were Coptic Christians, from an Egyptian village where Christians and Muslims have lived together peaceably, but where lack of employment opportunities compel men to look for work abroad. According to NPR, one of the brothers of the victims of the gruesome executions invoked a biblical use of the “m” word – “martyr” – to understand the act…
Such a context makes Karen Armstrong’s job in this book difficult. In the work, she assesses countless such examples, including everything from violence in ancient Sumeria, to the “psychotic” Crusades, to the Thirty Years War, to the Terror in France, to the American Civil War, and finally to the appalling legacy of violence and destruction that characterized so much of the twentieth century.
To these examples (or to the one that will spring immediately to our mind, the atrocity of 9/11), she would have us remember as well the American role in perpetuating cycles of violence and retribution, including the deaths by drone strikes of women such as Mamana Bibi, killed in October of 2012 while out picking vegetables in a field in north Waziristan. Armstrong concludes that, contrary to what Cain asked sarcastically of his brother Abel in the Old Testament – “Am I my brother’s guardian?” – we are now “all implicated in one another’s history and one another’s tragedies.”
Religion News Service has this on the Crusades: Onward, Christian Soldiers: The complicated legacy of the Crusades (COMMENTARY)
As part of that long-ago “threat,” the Roman Catholic Crusaders were equal opportunity attackers during their two centuries of bloody assaults, killing thousands of Jews, Muslims and even Orthodox Christians. In 2001, St. John Paul II wrote to Christodoulos, the Orthodox archbishop of Athens, saying: “It is tragic that the assailants, who set out to secure free access for Christians to the Holy Land, turned against their brothers in the faith. The fact that they were Latin Christians fills Catholics with deep regret.”
When the Christian Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in July 1099, they killed untold numbers of Muslims. That massacre is an integral part of the Islamic narrative about the West and the Crusaders. Today, many anti-Western Muslim militants, including al-Qaida and the self-declared Islamic State, label all Westerners in the Middle East, including Jews, as “Crusaders” who will ultimately be expelled from the region, just as the original Crusaders were ousted after they lost the final battle in Acre (now a part of modern Israel) in 1291.
While Christians may debate the positive and negative legacies of the Crusades, the lethal events of that horrific era are, however, indelibly etched into the collective memory of the Jewish people.
posted by Ann Fontaine
Image “Poprava” by Anonymous – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –