I got an email from one of my aunts yesterday. I thought about replying to her (and about 7 others to whom she forwarded this email), but decided that I only knew half of those people so I brought it over here. They'll find it eventually if they are so inclined.
Here's the email I recieved: President Obama removing his shoes before entering the Blue Mosque
Thank you, Barbara and David!
[Now, I didn't think to check Snopes immediately, so I started poking around online to try to briefly address the religious side of the whole thing (my entire family was raised in the Christian faith, myself included). Here's what I found - and bear in mind, I never took a journalism/history/religion/political class or anything beyond high school. I'm not a researcher or teacher... I just play one on the internet.] :P
Anyway, this is what I almost sent back to all of them....
Quick history lesson:
Atheists and believers have been around since the dawn of time. There has likely been at least one person on Earth at any given time in history who didn't believe there was *something* out there bigger than himself. Judaism was founded around 1300 B.C., which is about 3300 years ago. Then Christianity, which I'm sure you all know the most about. Next up, Islam - whose followers are called Muslims - was founded about 1300 A.D., or 700ish years ago. Later on came Hinduism and Hare Krishna, and so on throughout time. I'll go into these a little more at the bottom.
SO, about President Obama and 'the scary Muslim picture'. Who really cares what religion he is? The constitution guarantees freedom of religion - any religion - or none at all. That's up to each individual citizen. Here is what Thomas Jefferson - a founding father of the US - said about that. If you need more, trust Google to help.
The National Day of Prayer has *not* been cancelled - it's still on for May 6, 2010. If you pray, you may pray anywhere and anytime as a matter of fact, but on this day groups of people will come together to pray. Think of a revival meeting - but one which invites everyone who believes in any sort of higher being, no matter the name of said being.
I also want to point out that our founding fathers decided that a majority should choose who runs the country (that's the 12th Amendment). That happened once again just over a year ago, when people actually *did* get out and vote - and that should be celebrated! Too many people just do not care about their governments (local, state or federal) and either choose not to - or flat refuse to - go out and vote, when this *is* the best way to have our voices heard... as stated in the Constitution written by those same founding fathers. Isn't that wonderful?! Do not be afraid to voice your opinions at the polls! Anyone who tells you otherwise is only trying to keep you from your duty as an American citizen - you must *not* let that happen.
Here's some fun stuff for you to digest:
I feel drawn to (and try to practice) Buddhism, and I have among my friends: Buddhists, Hare Krishnas, Jews, Catholics, Christians, Pagans and Atheists. Does that have any impact on our friendship? Actually, no. I see *people* - loving parents, friendly personalities, good humans with good morals - and I do not care to whom or what they worship or pray if they do at all. It shouldn't matter to anyone really - every religion states something along the line of the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you.... pretty simple stuff.
Here are some links which describe some of the basics of a few religions:
Buddhism - founded about 2500 years ago. Extra link here.
Islam - founded about 1300 years ago. ("Allah" is the Arabic word for "God" - not a different God, just a different word - like "Dios" in Spanish and "Dieu" in French both translate into English as "God")
Judaism - founded around 1300 B.C., so it's about 1300 years older than Christianity. (sidenote: many Jews do not write or speak the word God, as it is a name and so holy that it must be guarded to avoid defacement - that will make sense if you click the link)
Vaishanvism - a recognized sect of Hinduism - also known as Hare Krishna, which gained popularity here in the states thanks to George Harrison. (not just "strange orange-clad men in airports", they are normal people like you and me)
Atheism - well, they just have that one rule.
And here is a link showing that there are SO many others as well.
Click each of those for a brief description of their core beliefs.
My goal in all of this writing? Just want my family to remove their blinders, or at least loosen them up a bit. When I was young, another aunt once told me "only believe half of what you see and none of what you hear". That advice should be taken completely to heart in these days of email!
Many blessings upon you,
Amphitrite <---(A Greek goddess. That post is still in the works too!)