Two months ago, in an opinion published in USA Today, the president of Baylor University said that: “there is no tolerance without Christianity.”
To suggest that Christianity alone is responsible for world peace would be to put faith over reason.
Taking a whirling tour through history, Christianity has been quite intolerant, compared to other world religions.
To mention a few events, we have the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the forced conversions of Native Americans, the Ku Kux Klan and more recently in history, some Nazis who massacred hundreds of thousands of Jews doing the “work of the Lord.”
Tolerance arises not because of religion, but rather genetics. More commonly studied in the form of altruism, tolerance is seen in humans and many animal species.
Quite frankly, I find it hard to believe that my cat, who is very tolerant of our hyperactive family dog, did so because it spent time looking at crucifixes and wanted to become more like Jesus.
Other religions teach tolerance, too. Islam says, “You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion” (Qur’an 109:6). The Dalai Lama believes that people should retain their religions, instead of changing them. The supreme book on Sikhism religion, the Guru Granth Sahib, says not to call other holy books such as the Vedas (an ancient Hindu scripture) false.
These are just three out of countless world religions that promote tolerance.
Starr suggested that the Department of State “should mount an aggressive diplomatic initiative to convince Middle Eastern societies that they must protect their Christian communities,” effectively making the DoS a Christian missionary.
As a former solicitor general, he should know that this suggestion does not only breaches treaties, it fails the lemon test by not being secular.
As written in Matthews 7:12: “Do to others what you want them to do to you.” I invite President and Chancellor Ken Starr to demonstrate true Christianity and promote religious tolerance at our university.
Currently, Baylor maintains its tradition of being xenophobic. Prospective faculty must disclose their religious affiliation, have “an active Christian faith” and submit a statement on their standing with the church. If they pass the test, they will face another challenge: everybody is Christian, except for two Jewish professors. Furthermore, students cannot form religious organizations that are not Christian.
As Starr well noted, “other minorities also are subject to religious persecution around the world, including Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists.” Let this be a time to reflect and accept the mandate Jesus gave us all: to “love thy neighbor.”
Arecibo, Puerto Rico, senior