Advance View: Bullies take religion to extreme

Some people will see the Charlie Hebdo shooting as a question of freedom of religion. But it’s not really that, although there is a bit of it at play.

Others will try to frame the atrocities committed in Paris in the name of religion as a question of freedom of speech issue. But it’s not really that, either, although that, too, is part of it.

Perhaps thinking of it as a human rights issue makes sense – but still really only in a round-about way, in that every human being has – or at least should have – the right to live a full and decent life.

Because that is what the religious nuts seem to miss every time they break out their guns and bombs in their unalterable right to impose their beliefs on others.

They have a right to practise their religious rituals and assert their religious beliefs. But so did the other guy – you know… the guy with the bullet in his head, or with his legs and arms blown off.

In virtually every case, religion is supposed to be a connection between humanity and a kind and loving god – or whatever stands for “god,” depending on the organized belief system we’re dealing with.

Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Confucianist, Jainist, Wiccan… you name the organized religion, and the bottom line is always quite similar: you revere your deity by being good to each other.

How does that ever, in any sane mind, translate into suicide bombings and beheadings and murders?

The bottom line is that the shooting in Paris is just another example of bullying. 

We humans are good at it. We see it on the internet, especially in the rancour that enshrouds much of social media when the holier than thou presume guilt any time a supposedly anti-social incident is brought to light. We see it in road rage when some jerk feels threatened by another driver’s presumed mistake. We see it on school grounds and in workplaces. Our politicians are adept at the practice.

And when it gets extreme, bullets fly.

Terrorists are just the ultimate bullies. They deserve no more respect than that.

– B.G.

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