Religion must take equal blame for the problem we have today
CAPE TOWN – While the whole world was caught off-guard by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, other life realities that we as humans are faced with continue to take their toll.
There is George Floyd's killing, which is a rather painful reminder of the traumatic daily experiences black people are generally subjected to around the world. In the domestic context, Tshegofatso Pule's killing and other killings of women present another reminder of South Africa's femicide problem.
A spate of demonstrations across the world followed, with people calling for governments to act against the killing of black people, while domestically the call was more against femicide.
While these demonstrations are directed at governments to act against these occurrences and the perpetrators, there is a sector of society that we often fail to look at for its contribution to human behaviour. This sector is religion.
There is not much leadership from this sector with regard to such cases except at funerals when religious leaders conduct burials. Why do we tend to overlook the role religion needs to play in successfully guiding society towards a potential solution.
The conditioning of minds by religion to transform and do good cannot be complete if the foundation of the religion contains the same elements of what it seeks to undo.
Religion being a leader of morality has not done enough to bring about change in their systems first and how society views things. Some religious approaches have systematized subservientness, inequality, gender and racial dominance, as it is authored in their scriptures.
You find it in religious scriptures where embracement and depiction of moral authority is ascribed to racial groups. You find it in religious scriptures where masculinity has always been associated with morality and leadership. You find it in religious scriptures where obedience with the powers that be, which happens to have a racial and gender face, is one of the fundamental principles.
All of the demonstrations are directed at government institutions, and yes the governments must strengthen laws that protect all citizens, but while the government must bear the brunt of not doing enough to enforce the laws, religion must also face the music for resisting change.
Most governments and democracies specifically, with the introduction of new or amended constitutions, have undone documented systematised racial or gender dominance. Religion can do the same.
Why of all the institutions in this universe is it only religion that remains static? Why is it that religion is not allowed to alter its founding documents like other institutions? Religion must take an equal blame for the problem that we have today.
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.