In His Name

The last few days, I’ve been blogging about religious freedom and the fundamentalist Mormon groups. I’ve been dwelling in this subject area since last October when we started a new screenplay about religious intolerance during Puritan times. It’s funny, when I’m working on a project, everything I read, see or do seems somehow linked to this story.

Everything about the war in Iraq seems related to the topic. You’ve got the entrenched intolerance that the Shiite and Sunni have for one another driving the centuries-old civil conflict. That is layered with the right-wing, righteous Christian drive to bring “freedom” to the region and obliterate a dictator. Everyone in the region is claiming the will of God as their inspiration and motivation. Just as the Puritans did when they beat, imprisoned and hanged the Quakers. Just as Joseph Smith and his followers did in their justification for marrying multiple women.

crusades.jpgI was raised in the Roman Catholic faith. Whenever I’m talking about these other faiths and their controversial practices, someone invariably mentions the sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests and demands that I justify what they have done. Like my LDS friends, I hastily distance myself from “those” Catholics. There is, however, a big difference between the events. To the best of my knowledge, none of the priests ever claimed to have been commanded by God to commit those acts. None of them ever claimed to be doing God’s will.

The historically-astute may then point to The Crusades, the nearly 200-year conflict between Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East. Christians claimed that were trying to “liberate” Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Muslims said it was Christian greed that brought them to their lands. The roots of the Iran/Iraq problem with the U.S. were planted about nearly a millennium ago. Maybe that is the problem with doing “God’s work” — the conflict is eternal.

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