Tuesday, 27 April 2021

New York Religions - Trying to Solve the Problems Religions Cause.

Dec 11, 2019. Orthodox Jewish men pass New York City police guarding a Brooklyn synagogue prior to a funeral for Mosche Deutsch, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn who was killed in a shooting at a market in Jersey City, N.J.
Credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
In New York, interfaith coalition makes common cause against rising tide of hate

Concerned by the rising tide of inter-faith tension and hate resulting in violent attacks on members of one faith by members of another, a group of New York's faith organizations have got together to try to solve the problem faiths are causing.

According to a report in Religion News Service:
On April 16, clergy from 20 New York congregations, including Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and Christians, met as the Interfaith Security Council held its first meeting to talk about how to share expertise and improve relations with law enforcement.
This was prompted by, amongst other incidents, the mass shooting in Pittsburg, PA, in October 2018, when a gunman attacked worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue, killing 11 people, vandalism at four synagogues in the Riverdale neighbourhood of Bronx, NY, last week, and the killing of Mosche Deutsch, a rabbinical student from Brooklyn in Jersey City, N.J. on Dec 11, 2019. Armed police had to be deployed at the Brooklyn synagogue where his funeral took place.

The Interfaith Security Council is an umbrella organisation bringing together several other religious security organizations, one of which is 67th Precinct Clergy Council of Brooklyn, which supports mostly churches in the borough’s East Flatbush area. It's president, Pastor Gilford Monrose, of Mt. Zion Church of God 7th Day, blamed white supremacists for the escalating level of inter-faith violence with:
With a heightened level of white supremacy and a heightened level of hatred we can benefit from the research, information and training that these Jewish organizations have and that can then trickle down to our organizations so we can protect ourselves as well.
White supremacy was given a boost by then President Donald J. Trump's tacit approval of it, making it socially acceptable to be openly racist again and associating it with American patriotism. Many white supremacists were also prominent supporters of Donald Trump and constituted his White Christian fundamentalist base, culminating in the attempted Coup d’état on January 6, 2021 by members of Trump's Talibangelical Christian cult.

Several of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theories involve fictional Jewish plots and many fundamentalist Christians believe God put Trump in office to fight these 'subversive conspirators' who were also behind the alleged plot to steal the election for Biden. It turned out that the subversive conspirators were the Trumpanzees behind the QAnon conspiracy, taking their lead from Trump and his right-wing, fundamentalist cabal.

The Religion News Service article by Yonat Shimron continues:
The FBI’s latest hate crime report from 2019 found that 20% of hate crime victims were targeted because of the offenders’ religious bias, accounting for 1,650 offenses reported by law enforcement.

The number of hate crimes targeting minority groups appear to be increasing. In recent months, the country has witnessed a string of high-profile attacks on Asian Americans, including a mass shooting at Atlanta-area spas that killed eight people, including six Asian women, and a shooting at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis that left eight people dead, including four Sikh Americans.
The FBI report referred to reports:

Victims of Hate Crime Incidents

  • There were 7,103 single-bias incidents involving 8,552 victims. A percent distribution of victims by bias type shows that 57.6% of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ race/ethnicity/ancestry bias; 20.1% were targeted because of the offenders’ religious bias; 16.7% were victimized because of the offenders’ sexual-orientation bias; 2.7% were targeted because of the offenders’ gender identity bias; 2.0% were victimized because of the offenders’ disability bias; and 0.9% were victimized because of the offenders’ gender bias.
  • There were 211 multiple-bias hate crime incidents, which involved 260 victims.

Offenses by Crime Category

  • Of the 5,512 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2019, 40% were for intimidation, 36.7% were for simple assault, and 21% were for aggravated assault. Fifty-one (51) murders; 30 rapes; and three offenses of human trafficking (commercial sex acts) were reported as hate crimes. The remaining 41 hate crime offenses were reported in the category of other.
  • There were 2,811 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (76.6%) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 23.4% of crimes against property.
  • Two hundred thirty-six (236) additional offenses were classified as crimes against society. This crime category represents society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity such as gambling, prostitution, and drug violations. These are typically victimless crimes in which property is not the object.

Known Offenders

  • In the UCR Program, the term known offender does not imply that the suspect’s identity is known; rather, the term indicates that some aspect of the suspect was identified, thus distinguishing the suspect from an unknown offender. Law enforcement agencies specify the number of offenders and, when possible, the race of the offender or offenders as a group. Beginning in 2013, law enforcement began reporting whether suspects were juveniles or adults, as well as the suspect’s ethnicity when possible.
    • Of the 6,406 known offenders, 52.5% were white, and 23.9% were Black or African American. Other races accounted for the remaining known offenders: 1.1% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.9% were Asian, 0.3% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 6.6% were of a group of multiple races. The race was unknown for 14.6%.
    • Of the 5,443 known offenders for whom ethnicity was reported, 33.1% were Not Hispanic or Latino, 10% were Hispanic or Latino, and 1.9% were in a group of multiple ethnicities. Ethnicity was unknown for 55.0% of these offenders.
    • Of the 5,599 known offenders for whom ages were known, 84.6% were 18 years of age or older.
The full Hate Crime Statistics, 2019 report is available at https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2019.

Ironic then, when it is religions and religious dogma which has caused such a large proportion of these social divisions and tensions and with them, these violent attacks, that it should be religions that are getting together to try to clean up some of the mess they've collectively made of American society. Their plan of mutual cooperation and respect for people as people would return it to the state it would have been in if religions had all maintained their progress over the past century of adopting Humanist principles and abandoning many of their old dogmas and primitive superstitions. Dogmas and superstitions which caused them to be racist, sexist and ableist, all justified by 'God's Holy Word' in their different holy books and each claiming to have the 'One True Faith' and all others to be Satanic creations, here to destroy the 'One True Faith'.

There may have been a time in early human history when it was beneficial to a small group of related individuals to share a common set of superstitions, chants, rituals and ethics, as part of a collective identity to maintain group cohesion. And it's much easier to abdicate responsibility for ensurign compliance to an imaginary mind-reading enforcer who never misses a thing. It may even have benefited the members of a cohesive group to see other groups, with other religions as threats and rivals for territory, so reinforcing that group cohesion, but the same forces in large, urbanised, multicultural societies can only be harmful, acting to balkanise society into mutually suspicious rival group, each convinced that its beliefs, its rituals and its god-given privileges are the only valid ones and all others are potential or actual threats.

The problem is that, in the absence of hard evidence, religions can only be maintained by enforcing and defending the basic framework of dogmas and doctrines, so any compromises will diminish the strength of that framework and threaten the collapse of the religion, so all religions need to maintain the myth that they and they alone have it right while all the others are wrong and therefore, somehow against the religion's god or gods and the one true faith.

It looks like religions have brought New York, and probably much of the rest of America, to that sorry state of mutually hostile cults, while some of the progressive leaders are belatedly scratching their heads, wondering how to clean up the mess they've made.

Fortunately, recent pinion polls have shown that religons and the grip they have on American society are declinign fast with some estimates puting the 'half-life' of Christianity, for example, at about 1 generation. In other words only half of the children of Christians will grow up to be Christians while some 90% or more of the children of non-believers will grow up to be non-believers. Maybe the recent growth in inter-faith violence will speed up that healthy decline.

Thank you for sharing!









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1 comment :

  1. The sooner the world rids itself of religious fanaticism and intolerance, the better off we will all be.

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