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Don’t invoke God’s name to justify hatred, ignorance

Once upon a time when a wise man stated, “if slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong,” the defenders of the peculiar institution cited religion as justification for perpetuating one of the greatest violations of human rights in world history.

Once upon a time when women sought to participate in the democracy they helped to build, the voices against women’s suffrage declared, “The mothers of this country can shape the destinies of the nation by keeping in their places and attending to those duties that God Almighty intended for them.”

Once upon a time is again upon us, and again the Lord’s name is being invoked in vain to trample on the unalienable rights that the Lord himself granted. The Arizona legislature has approved a bill that would allow citizens of that unenlightened state to refuse services to those citizens they feel violate their religious beliefs due to their sexuality. By invoking the power of God, the legislative branch is proving an adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Why do some who proclaim their devotion to God spend their time ridiculing the very children he created? Who are we to think that we can invoke the name of God to justify ignorance and hatred? Aside from the ancient tradition of placing the ugly face of hatred on the glorious face of God, I am concerned about a more recent development – the falling number of Americans who attend church weekly. The numbers are dropping significantly. As a person who seeks to grow the church, I have a humble suggestion: proclaim the good news of the Lord with open and loving arms. After all, is that not our own ultimate hope?

Patrick Braunscheidel

West Seneca