|Some of Yoni and my new friends, clockwise from Top Left: actor Jim Carrey, food activist Haily Thomas, civil rights leader Terrence Roberts, historian Dr. Rita Roberts and quantum physicist and environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva, Ryan Beatty and his coolio guitarist, entertainment manager Josue Sejour, wordsmith and hip hop poet J. Ivy, Our resident urban yogis, The Nanny Fran Drescher, CEO of Special Olympics Tim Shriver, rapper Talib Kweli, Philanthropist and community activist Erica Ford, rock n' roll photographer Mick Rock, Magic Wands and Rathborn. Look how we all loving' one another and stuff...|
" One thing that we found odd was seeing The Book of Mormon left out on the coffee table (probably not intentionally) but I'm an atheist and so I found that quite confronting and in poor taste...
In my profile I clearly state my religious views so people are aware. It might be good if you do the same. Our anti religious stance is very strong and is a factor in the places we choose." -- Valda R.
I would like Valda R. to know that my Mormon faith is similarly central to my life. I would also like her to know that it absolutely does not factor into the places I choose on airbnb or the people I allow to stay in my home. I love my faith and chances are, there are a lot of things about your faith that I love to. Whether that is a specific religion, faith in God, family, community or the potential for good in humanity. But people like this woman give atheists a bad name because most atheists I know aren't religious bigots.
While I'm at it, I want to clear something up. It's commonly quoted that more people have died in the name of religion than any other way. This statement is just untrue. The majority of conflicts that have taken place in the world are and have been political and/or ethnic conflicts.
Hitler: economic and ethnic Fascist, not religious though he almost killed off the Jewish people
Stalin: Marxist. Not religious.
The Crimean War: Territorial, not religious
WWI: Not a religious conflict
Pol Pot: Socialist, not religious though he killed a lot of religious people.
Darfur: Racial genocide -- both groups were generally the same religion.
The Civil War (US): Political/racial/economic
Armenians in Turkey: Ethnic genocide
The Rape of Nanking: Ethnic genocide
I could go on, but it's gonna get too depressing. The short(er) version of the story is, hateful, self centered, opportunistic people are the reason why a lot of carnage happens. It's when we don't do business because someone is Jewish or gay or Mormon or atheist or Muslim or Catholic or evangelical. When we make others among us. That's when the problems begin. When we think it's acceptable to mark people with a star or a book of mormon against their will to warn others about their beliefs. Religion isn't the problem. Hateful, angry, people who are unable or unwilling to show love or tolerance to those who look different, go to a different church or believe different things are the problem. If you find yourself doing that, well shame on you. And if I find myself doing that shame on me. And if you find me doing it, please say something. Because to paraphrase Rabbi Jachim Prinz, the greatest sin we commit against humanity is silence in the face of injustice. So speak up. Sing out. And hopefully, one day we'll all get along.
Do you have any stories to share about discrimination in your life?
Update: Since writing this post, airbnb took down the final sentences of the review. Still not satisfied. But I feel better for having written this little note.