Is Our Civilization Turning Back?

a writing by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen

When religious extremism is growing, then we go back to the dark period when women witches were burned, when blacks were hanged under trees, when complete segregation of peoples was taken the best solution to preserving a supreme race.

This week we watch the merciless killing of Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian government minister of Minority Affairs in Pakistan. His death was alleged to have been carried out by "religious extremists", wanting to silence him from his criticism against the blasphemy law in the country which makes the minority Christians vulnerable to victimization and persecution.

And yet when we go back to a period in time, we discover that in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world, people have demonstrated the capacity to live with each other, showing tolerance and respect in spite of differences in religion and political convictions. The term democracy has been
used to bring out a common understanding on our equality and dignity as persons and as a society of nations in our one world. Our capacity for international cooperation has called us to be one people in spite of our geographical distance and differences in economy, culture, religious and political expressions. We call ourselves civilized people because we have come to the point of finding our commonness in our struggle for survival and development while keeping our human dignity, able to love and protect life.

But with religious extremism which is a relative to racism, we turn the clock backwards, away from our common efforts for building a common world in peace, unity and harmony to a world of chaos and further disunity.

March 3, 2011

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