A. Philadelphia, PA, USA. In a response of at least 175 words, compare the role of religion vs. nativist politics as underlying causes of the violent Protestant–Catholic confrontation. Include the word count in parentheses at the end of your response.The cause of the Philidelphia Nativist Riots was multifaceted; as Philadelphia improved on its industrialization, more and more Irish immigrants were coming to America to work, especially in the light of the Irish potato famine This brought a new population of Catholics to America, which alarmed the mostly-protestant Americans (and those Irish who were also Protestant). This created two different forms of animosity towards immigrants: people hated immigrants because they were taking jobs and resources from Americans, and were incredibly tolerant of their different religions.
The nativist movement came about as a result of the fear that came about from these newcomers to America; they wanted those who had already been established in America to be favored over those just getting here. The religious angle was also a convenient scapegoat; the Hugh Clark controversy is evidence of this. By allowing anti-Catholic sentiment to rise as a result of claims that a Catholic was taking the Bible out of schools, nativists were able to drum up animosity toward Catholics extremely easily. This, combined with the fear of immigrants stemming from their nativist roots, led to the Philadelphia Nativist Riots. ( 188 words)B. Afghanistan. In a response of at least 175 words, discuss how you can draw on the concepts of empathy and the Platinum rule with regard to those who carried out the burning of the Quran/Koran in Afghanistan. Include the word count in parentheses at the end of your response.The burning of the Quran in Afghanistan on the part of American soldiers at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in 2012 was a highly controversial move; these troops desecrated a religious text that Muslims hold deep in their hearts, and soured Middle East relations to a substantial degree. This was a huge mistake; that move demonstrated a severe lack of empathy for those citizens of Afghanistan (and the Muslim world) who are Muslim, but not against America, and indirectly justifies the terrorist acts that have been perpetrated against Americans.
The soldiers at Bagram should have displayed more empathy, and not burned the Quran. By empathizing with the Muslim population of the Middle East, better relations could have been fostered between these two peoples, and violence could have been reduced. The Platinum Rule – “Do unto others as they would have done unto them” – applies here; the Muslims do not want their sacred text disrespected, and so the soldiers should have respected that. When espousing ideas like freedom of religion and liberty, Americans should not exercise their power by disrespecting the religion of others. ( 182 words)C. Florida, USA. In a response of at least 175 words, discuss how you can again draw on the concepts of empathy and the Platinum rule with regard to the pastor’s intent to organize a public burning of the Quran/Koran. Include the word count in parentheses at the end of your response.The hatred of the Muslim religion by many in America (often as a direct result of 9/11 and the Islamophobia that resulted) has led many anti-Muslim efforts to be made even on home soil. Pastor Terry Jones’ declaration of a public Quran burning was meant to demonstrate this intolerance toward Islam and all its forms, but that hatred is misplaced. Instead, Jones should have empathy toward the Muslim population, as it was not Muslims on the whole who attacked America, but extremist terrorists who are not an indicator of the religion as a whole.
The Platinum Rule also applies here. By understanding the position of Muslims, one can reach a better understanding. By doing unto others as they would like done unto them, this respects their space and beliefs; they would not like the Quran burned by anyone. By obeying the Platinum Rule, this avoids international hatred, helps to prevent violence, and fosters respect among two very different kinds of people. Jones’ move was deliberately inflammatory, and meant to violate the Platinum Rule, which is why it was deeply offensive. ( 180 words)D. In a response of at least 175 words, discuss the connections you see among the three cross-cultural incidents involving sacred religious texts:1. The violence in Philadelphia related to the Catholic vs. Protestant Bibles,2. the violence in Afghanistan related to the burning of the Quran/Koran, and3. the potential for violence related to the call for the burning of the Quran/Koran in Florida.
There are many similarities I see between all of these different cross-cultural incidents involving sacred religious texts. First off, they all deal with issues of xenophobia, and a fear of what the Other will take away from them. The nativists were afraid that the Irish Catholics would take jobs away from them, and the troops/Pastor Jones hated the Muslims for attacking them and hating America in the first place. Their religions represented the biggest dividing lines they had amongst each other, and so this became the target of their ire instead of their real problems. Hatred for the Irish taking jobs and muscling in on their country turned into hatred of their Catholicism. Meanwhile, the hatred of Muslim terrorists attacking America translated into striking back at their Quran. All three were acts of intolerance and a lack of empathy stemming from fear of what is different, and fundamental disagreements with different religions. While violence is never justified, the reprisals (or threat of reprisal) experienced were definitely instigated by the other party’s trampling on their faith.
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