I was born and brought up as a Christian and although I was aware of religious differences in Uganda, I was also taught tolerance. Just as well, for you see I come from a large family and within that family are Christians, Muslims, Pentecostal, Seventh-Day Adventists etc.
This tolerance was not limited to my family but appeared to be the norm certainly within the education system. For instance as an Anglican I was admitted to a Catholic Secondary School and some of my classmates were Muslims. That is how things were and I accepted them.
As an adult, I’ve struggled with the idea of religion on and off. This is not because I lost my faith per se but because I cannot establish logic in nor reconcile some of the actions that are carried out by some folks in the name of religion.
Here are some examples
- Sudanese Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag is 8 months pregnant and has recently been sentenced to death by judges in her country. She is accused of abandoning the religion in which she was born but not raised.
- In Nigeria over 200 teenage girls were abducted from their school a month ago in the name of religion
- Whilst in Uganda preachers such as Dr Martin Ssempa have sought tougher action for gay people in that country in the name of religion
I don’t claim to be an expert on religious affairs but when I observe such instances with a common man’s eyes, I fail to understand or even appreciate what sort of God would call for the killing, kidnapping etc, of another human on grounds of religion.
In my quest to understand these things, I often ask the question whether people who kill, rape, kidnap in the name of religion leave their religion in the buildings of worship. For you see my understanding of religion is that we are created in God’s image and that all places of worship should teach tolerance and that we should apply those lessons in our daily lives.
Take a look at Meriam in the photo above on what is probably the happiest day of her life and tell me that you can understand why anyone would want her dead in the name of God.
I heard on the news that her government is likely to kill her after she has had a child as if somehow this makes it OK. Is it ok to deprive a child of it’s mother and a man his wife in the name of religion?
As I said I don’t really understand this way of thinking and often apply my grandmother’s wisdom who used to say “they are no useless people and our challenge is to find the value in others”