When we view the world, we see expressions of these considerations in many forms.
We talk about the injustices of a Religion-based government such as the Taliban.
The Taliban, and other extreme Islamist faiths, came to the conclusion that their cultures
had drifted from the fundamental tenets and customs of their religions, or the teachings
of certain religious leaders (who became "bigger" than the religions in which
they were leaders). It was their assessment that the citizens of their countries
were sinners and infidels, subject to punishment, and a detriment to their society as a
Their intolerance of diverse opinions and practices, coupled with their unwillingness
to acknowledge the right of others to choose their own disciplines and paths, caused them
to seek or force their own political power within their countries. Once that power
had been attained, they fundamentally altered the government and its laws to reflect what
we would call a harsh regimentation, or tyrannical application of their own values,
regardless of the views of their fellow citizens. These leaders believed that they
held the righteous opinion or belief, and they would enforce it on others.
This included opinions about television, music, free speech, religion, education, sex,
abortion... many areas of life which are assessed on an individual basis, regardless of
Iran is an example of such a phenomenon. When the Ayatollah Khomeini took over
control of Iran, the people were jubilant to remove the Shah and his desire to westernize
Iran. They had recognized that their own values (based on their awareness of their
heritage, traditions and religion) had been compromised.
When Iran's government became fully organized around an oppressive religious regime,
the people began to dissent. Regardless of the new laws, and their oppressive
enforcement, people broke those laws in private.
These days, the citizens of Iran are choosing, more and more publicly, to choose more
of the "western" luxuries and styles, despite the laws. They are choosing a more
moderate view of the appropriateness of mixing government with religion. They want their
religion, but they want freedom as well. And so, through dissent, they are beginning
to define that more moderate society. Many people are dying because of their dissent
of the mandates of these religious leaders.
There are many lessons to be learned from these brief examples of what happens to
communities when they feel they must go to extremes in order to feel safe or protected in
their desire to live in a community that they consider "the kind of place you'd want
to raise your kids".
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(C) 2002,2003-2009 Charles Rehn Jr IV All rights