Found this just now when I tried out a google search for “religious hegemony.” Yes, yes. I agree completely, Mac.
“True Religion vs. Religious Hegemony via haircuts” (April 29, 2007) from “mac’s daily miscellany.”
Far too often, religious people seek to impose their beliefs on the populace at large. If that’s what society wants, so be it. However, I can think of precious few instances in world history when an entire society saw eye-to-eye on religious matters. Whether’s it’s Hindus in India being scandalized by Richard Gere’s cheek kiss of a woman, Baptists freaking out about DisneyWorld having a gay day, or Muslims saying you can’t wear your hair in a spike style, religious hegemony by way of force, is contradictory to the tenets of their own religious teachings; yes, even the Koran says it’s better to persuade people to do good than to obligate them. Jesus never said, “Obey my commandments or burn in hell.” He did say, on the beach, to Peter, while enjoying some fish and honeycomb, “if you love me, keep my commandments.”
If you love Him, keep His commandments. That’s a good rule. One that most people can parrot back to you, but very few can live. A true person of faith, doesn’t seek to impose their own faith on someone else. I can not like the fact that pornography and vice pervade our culture. It makes me wish that people would choose better things for themselves and for their families. There are only two paths to achieving 100% obedience to the commandments. 1) you can obligate people to obey, taking away their rights and free will, and 2) you can show them by example, by love unfeigned, how much better life can be. The first plan belongs to Beelzebub; the second to God. He is the Father of everyone, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, even Baptists. We are all brothers and sisters. Loving God, and choosing to do his will, is the only thing we can do to show our obedience. It has to come from within. Making someone get a certain haircut, trying to burn Harry Potter books, hell, especially telling someone that they’re going to hell for believing a certain way, places one squarely in the gall of bitterness and pride.
That Beelzebub versus God part — that’s cool. I like that especially. Thanks, Mac.