A history of human suffering caused by rampant ideology


I am disturbed by the front page article of the Feb. 13 issue of your paper, “Fundamentalists seek foothold in legislature.”

While it is wonderful that people are being healed, the article indicates that ideological beliefs are increasingly being used to dictate political positions in Nunavut. People with strong fundamentalist convictions who were elected to the territorial legislature this month should consider the following before they deny human rights to any group of people.

There are numerous instances in history when unthinking commitment to an ideology has led to massive human suffering and undeniable evil. Many groups have claimed to have God on their side and to be fighting the devil.

For example, the Roman Catholic Inquisition systematically tortured and destroyed thousands of wise women and herbalists in the Middle Ages. The church persecuted and eventually massacred the Huguenots in France during the 16th and 17th centuries.

In our own times, we’ve seen the Serbs, Croats and Bosnians slaughter each other out of ideological fanaticism. These are just a few examples of what can happen when good people self righteously impose their beliefs on others.

I was born a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers). In studying the Bible, I note that Jesus was extremely tolerant of all people, and understanding of their humanity. He showed anger only against those who exploited others and who were hypocritical in their dealings, notably the money lenders in the temple.

His abiding message is that the deity who creates us, loves and cherishes each one of us. Furthermore, the New Testament shows that Jesus was unwilling to judge others – “Judge not, that ye not be judged … and why beholdest though the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Matthew, ch. 7, vs 1-3).

Our MLAs should focus on the real issues undermining the well-being of our families here in Nunavut: lack of adequate housing, alcohol and drug abuse, family violence, inadequate health services and lack of education and training opportunities. The spirit of Nunavut should be tolerant and generous, not narrow and vindictive.

Alison H. Lee

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