Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The religious group that I have chosen for this blog post is the Lutheran Christian faith.
My reason for choosing this specifically is partially because of a friend living in America who accepts it as their belief, which has encouraged my curiosity to understand more about it, how it differs from other forms of the christian belief, and of its place in American society.
Here I will provide a brief background on how it came into being:
. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was formed over 20 years ago, and is the result of the formation of three seperate church bodies, namely The American Lutheran Church, The Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and The Lutheran Church in America.
.The chosen combination was the result of shared beliefs and "missions" between the three churches.
.The website claims that the church is now compromised of 4.8 million members.
.Founded by the German priest Martin Luther.
Reading through the ELCA Social Messages tab, it reveals how many topics of debate - including the death penalty and Euthenasia, are viewed by this religion and how they do not appear to deny, but instead confront them much more sensitively and even attempt to look differently at the issues that surround the topics.
Whilst I am not extremely familiar with various religious outlooks and practices, ELCA comes across as a very world-wise website that very much focuses on aiding the wider community and encourages its followers to support others living in different nations as well as their own in their time of need, as exampled in the segment located on the front page of the website which has a feature titled "Japan Response". It also appears to function as a communicative tool to create awareness of poverty and disease, such as the advertisement for World Malaria Day also on the front page. In this sense, it may also act as a news source for how Lutherans could be contributing to the wellbeing of others.
To me this portrays American identity to be compassionate and supporting, whilst at the same time very modest and open-minded in keeping with the incentive to "Love thy neighbour".
Monday, April 25, 2011
I have a strong connection to the Islam faith. I defend it to no end, and am constantly talking about it even though there are areas in which I disagree. But I know that within this task, Islam is quite possibly going to be a large contender as it has so much history, culture, difference and media to it, especially in the United States. I am though, going to specify with African Muslims. The stereotype of a Muslim is a person of an Asian origin, most commonly Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran etc. But what most people tend to forget is that Africa is largely Islam.
African Muslims first arrived in America during the slave boom, being sold to British from the western countries – Senegal, Gambia etc. – and were encouraged or forced to conform to Christianity. And although many practiced Islam in secret, this soon wore off as the generations died out. And so now-a-days, it’s rare to hear about African Muslims in particular unless you search for it. This is what I found…
A gun shot on an innocent woman because of her faith? And 3 African Muslim men being attacked after a prayer session? This doesn’t define the American identity of faith as very well. They boast about having this freedom country yet what they do not seem to tell people is that there is a small print; some terms and conditions. You can have this amazing life of believing in whatever God you would like, and have the right to practice this, but only if that faith is the correct one. Maybe this is Christianity or the Jewish faith, but Americans have no right at all to be hurtful towards a faith that is doing nothing wrong.
It really shows the American public to be very ignorant. Through research carried out in America, hate crime on Muslims have soared since 9/11, but these people doing these hate crimes are just ignorant. It doesn’t take much common sense to realise that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are not Muslims. They have this name of “Extreme Islam” but it’s not Islam, it’s not. If it was, would not everybody who followed the Islam faith be terrorists. And sure, most of them get called this, but I don’t know why. Muslims seem to hate Al-Qaeda more than the normal American for the extreme hate crimes that they have encountered.
But I also believe that Asian Muslims feel the hatred more than the African Muslims, purely because Al-Qaeda is Middle-Eastern and not African.
So in answer to the blog post, how do African Muslims define the American identity in terms of faith? They do it well. They do not let other people tell them what faith they should and are rightly allowing themselves the freedom of America. They’re generations of family have most probably been there as long as the Christian families, and atheists families. For the rest of the American public, or just those few ignorant, horrible people, they do not shape the American identity very well.