Greg Jenks — a Jesus Seminar Fellow who brought John Shelby Spong to the little city of Toowoomba where I once lived and worked (and met Spong) — has posted the following on Facebook: (I think it’s a form notice, but no matter. . . .)
Burma may turn into the next Rwanda unless we raise our voices and stop the racist attacks right now — will you join me?
Let’s also protest against those who are using the violence there to score points in their shallow anti-religion crusade:
- Why Evolution Is True — So Much for Peaceful Buddhists
- Skeptic Forum — So Much for Peaceful Buddhists
To blame the killing on “religion” is simplistic and hides a far deeper and more complex problem. There are ethnic differences; local jobs are thought to be at stake; cultural differences are sharp and offensive to some; there is a new nationalist sentiment beginning to blossom in Burma; religious difference is easily identified for hostile targeting and becomes the scapegoat.
Burma is for most part a Buddhist country. Ask a Buddhist Burmese about the violence in the west (towards the Bangladesh border) and one is likely to be told that the Rohingya people living there are “not Burmese”, but fled there (and were “generously allowed to stay”) after war and dislocation in India/Bengal/Bangladesh. That’s from talking with Burmese, but I don’t know all the facts. There’s a Wikipedia article that has something to say about the Rohingya people. I understand some have converted to Buddhism.
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