Our view: Reaction to Sikh temple shooting reveals hidden prejudice

Jason Cuevas, News editor

Despite religious freedom being in the first amendment to the constitution, the battle over religion has been ongoing ever since. Recent events have displayed an improper way of thinking and have made the need to stand up for religious rights as important as ever.

The recent tragedy at the Sikh temple in Milwaukee has shown people’s ability to reach out to those of other faiths and to undermine some of the most important values at the same time. A common theme has been that the shooter probably mistook the Sikh people as being Muslims. It has been stressed that these people are not Muslim.

The same reaction also occurs when it comes to President Obama and the lies that have been spread about his religious background. Almost everyone has heard the false accusation of the President being a Muslim. Once again, people come out in droves to defend that he is not.

What these arguments do is fool people into subtly agreeing with a very poor point of view. Without realizing it, people have already agreed that there is something wrong with being a Muslim.

When the focus of the Temple shooting becomes that they weren’t really Muslims, it is implied that it would have been more acceptable if they were. The truth is it would have been just as much of a tragedy if it took place at a Muslim temple.

When one adamantly defends Obama as not being Muslim, it implies that there would be a problem if he was. There is nothing wrong with a Muslim holding political office. The form of worship one follows has nothing to do with their ability as a political leader.

There is currently a very dangerous movement that tries to claim our country is a Christian nation, and that when the founding fathers created the constitution they were only implying Christian freedom. This idea is both dangerous and false.

The United States Constitution clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This means that all people are allowed to practice their religion, or lack of, the way they see fit. There is no religion that is better than any other religion.

The facts are that every religion in history has some blood on their hands. There will always be extremists, but people in this country should not be forced to be held accountable for the actions of those extremists.

Madison College is a diverse community with people of almost every background possible. We hope that the student body here will respect the religions of others and not infer that anyone is worth any less due to their beliefs.