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Playing the God card

Minnick is a sophomore graphic design and magazine major and can be contacted at katherine.minnick@drake.edu

Lately, there have been a large number of stories covered by the media regarding people defending offensive and hateful actions with religion. These people commonly say phrases such as “It’s my religion,” or “I’m defending my faith.” Many times this is referred to as playing the “God card.”

One of the most well-known and recent examples in the media of using the God card was when the Rev. Terry Jones from Florida planned to burn Qurans on the anniversary of Sept. 11. Jones claimed that “enough is enough” and that people needed to stand up against Islam. Although Jones later did cancel the burnings, he was presented numerous times throughout the media as a man using his faith to attack and hurt Muslims.

In a similar story, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell from Michigan publicly attacked the University of Michigan’s student body president who is openly gay. The president, Chris Armstrong, was elected this past spring and is the campus’ first openly gay student body president. Shirvell, a Michigan alumnus, started a blog called the Chris Armstrong Watch, saying he is concerned with Armstrong’s “radical, homosexual agenda.” He also protested outside of Armstrong’s home. Shirvell defends his actions by saying he’s “a Christian citizen exercising my First Amendment rights.”

These stories cause many to generalize all Christians as ruthless and heartless. Not only are these people giving all Christians a bad rap, but they are also complete hypocrites. Jesus Christ did not teach to tear other people down, but to love them, right or wrong.

These self-proclaiming Christians aren’t the only ones playing the God card either. Another story making the rounds is that of the Times Square bomber, who was recently sentenced to life in prison after an attempted bombing in one of the nation’s busiest areas. Faisal Shahzad, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Pakistan, is a Muslim. During his trial, he excused his actions: “We are only trying to defend our religion, our people, our honor and our land. The Quran gives us the right to defend, and that’s what I’m doing.”

These people are radical in their religions, differentiating them from the majority of their fellow believers. However, their actions cause bad light to be shed on all members of that faith.

Others practicing these religions are taking a stand, attempting to defend their true beliefs. The Vatican, along with numerous other religious leaders, condemned Jones’ plans to burn Qurans, saying his actions were dividing people, rather than bringing them together. Muslims also have come together to condemn the actions of extremists who tarnish the image of their religion. From websites to groups and protests, people of all faiths are taking a stand against extremism.

I was taught to treat others with kindness. Hiding behind the excuse of a religion is pathetic and cowardly. What takes real courage and strength is turning the other cheek and loving people in all circumstances, no matter their actions.


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