Finding a space for all

The importance of respecting religious values and differences

The Tower Staff

In a world with over 4,000 recognized religions, many opportunities are available to worship however one chooses. However, this unfortunately makes for equally as many opportunities for hatred and negativity towards these religions.

According to the United States Department of Justice, there were 1,005 official reports of religious hate crime in the U.S. in 2021, with about 31 percent being targeted towards those who practice Judaism.

We at the Tower believe that regardless of someone’s religion, they should be treated with respect and understanding. Each individual’s faith is a personal matter, and should not be talked down upon or targeted.

Every religion is built upon a series of beliefs and traditions, each comparing and contrasting with other religions. Although in religions like Catholicism wine is consumed in a traditional mass as a Eucharist rite, the consumption of alcohol is completely prohibited in several other religions such as Buddhism and Islam. Furthermore, Hinduism, Shintoism and others are classified as polytheistic, while Christiantiy, Judaism and Islam are monotheistic, denying the possibility of more than one god. Examples like this outline how certain religious beliefs may conflict with others, yet it is still important to respect these different traditions and ideologies. We at the Tower believe that people can practice their own religious beliefs, while respecting that of others.

Although religions do conflict with each other in this manner, it is important to mention the distinct line of conflicting beliefs and hatred. Although someone may not agree with a belief associated with another religion and chose not to participate or indulge in it, they should not be hateful for this conflicting belief. We at the Tower believe that it is crucial to not get in the way of or judge others for their religious beliefs, just because they may not coincide with your own.

In recent times, much of the media has been consumed by specifically anti-Jewish hate, with figures such as Kayne West leaving anti-semetic comments all across social media. Although anti-semitism or any religious hatred is most certainly not new, these outbursts reinforce the issue at hand. Figures like Ye making such comments causes a domino effect, allowing a platform for more hatred to occur with people agreeing and building off of these hateful ideas. This in turn brings up and sparks detrimental conspiracies that date back to hundreds of years ago, spreading false narratives to harm religious communities. We at the Tower believe that it is important to understand the falsity in these conspiracies and continue to respect religions like Judaism especially when they are under fire.

In general, it is also important to mention the idea of respect between non-religious and religious people. According to Pew Research, about 29 percent of adults in the U.S. consider themselves to be atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” with the other 71 percent associating themselves with a specific religion. Since the creation of organized religion, there has been discrimination towards those who chose not to practice religion. This relationship can also be reversed, with non-religious people talking down on those who practice a religion.

We at the Tower believe that regardless of whether or not you personally identify with a religion, there should be a mutual respect for either choice. Each person is entitled to their own beliefs and should be met with a respect that reflects that.