Even America Has Fanatics

I just saw a report on CNN about a Pastor in North Carolina who placed these words on his outside Church bulletin board: “The Koran needs to be flushed!” While I agree that anger over the fanatical actions of the Terrorists make me get the urge to say those self same words at times, the part of me that is rational says we must all respect the Religious beliefs of others. That same rational part of myself also says that all Muslims aren’t like Zarqarwi or bin Laden. The last thing we need in America or the world is another bunch of fanatics. When I saw that sign, I remembered when John Kennedy ran for President. Many people were against him because he was a Catholic. They were convinced that if he was elected, the Pope would run the country.

Of course that was an absurd and unwarranted fear. There was a time in this country when people were burned as witches. America has had its share of religious zealots. Even today we are in the midst of a possible religious fanaticism that threatens to return us in many ways to a time back before the sixties.

I remember those times. Though there are so many really good things to remember from those days, there are also many I, as an American, find shameful. I remember when Blacks had to drink from separate water fountains and sit at the back of the bus. I remember when the “little woman” always stayed home. If she did work outside the home, she did work as a clerk in some store or babysat someone’s kids.

But as a young girl, most women were of the mind set that you graduated from high school and either got married or went to college or finishing school then got married. If she talked about college she was encouraged to be a secretary. The husband’s word was final in everything. Women rarely wore jeans or slacks in public. Young girls went home from schools and did house work. You weren’t supposed to like doing yard work or sports. That was a mans job. Women and men doing the same job were paid significantly diverse salaries because a man had a family to support.

Only lesbians went into the military, played ball, or demonstrated behavior considered aggressive. In most cases the husband handled the income. A man who had an affair was just never at fault. The woman must have encouraged him. However if a man had sex outside the marriage it was ok because he was a man or his wife didn’t “take care” of him at home. She had to do all this and not let her husband think she enjoyed sex. If your husband beat her, it was her fault and besides that was between the husband and his wife. In other words women were basically like property.

You couldn’t buy meat on Sunday because of the “blue laws.” You paid a poll tax, that way when Blacks did get the right to vote, they couldn’t vote. They couldn’t afford the tax. Since their educational opportunities were sub standard, most were illiterate so Blacks also failed the literacy test.

Churches had an uncanny influence on your personal activities as far as what was and wasn’t acceptable behavior. The views were extreme and overly restrictive and generally in agreement with male supremacy.

I don’t ever want to go back to those restrictive times. I want to be paid a salary based on the same scale as any other employee. I want control over my own body. I want to worship God in my own manner. I want to vote for my own choice in political elections. I want to be able to say no and have that no respected. I want to have the right to not be beaten by my spouse. I want to go to college to be whatever I want to be that I am capable of being. I want to live my life with dignity and respect. I want all people to be allowed that same dignity and respect.

I will not support anyone who wants to chip away at those rights I finally enjoy. I want my daughter to have these same rights, not just my son. I want my kids to both enjoy equally the rights endowed us in the Constitution. I want to respect the rights of others without having to give up my rights. There is no room in the world for those who want to deny these basic rights to all people. Deny them to one group and then another, and another will be denied. As we react to the changing world around us we must not let pour fears dictate our actions.

We must be vigilant as we respond and adjust to change not to revert back to restrictive times. There is room for values and progress to go hand in hand if we apply our brains and reign in our emotions.


~ by devildog6771 on May 25, 2005.

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