In an ideal world, the moral code followed by all who belong to any
religion would, in fact, dictate moral behavior.
Yet, since the earliest of times, we know that religious differences have caused more wars, devastated more countries, divided people belonging to the same religion, while tyrannical leaders have caused and continue to cause atrocities such as the holocaust of European Jewry in the 20th century and massacres and acts of genocide continuing into this century.
Today, on Easter Sunday, and during this week of Passover, I can think of no better time, no better opportunity, as we celebrate these holy days, to teach and inspire our children to live by our religious beliefs and moral codes.
It is unacceptable to think that most of us are sitting by idly as so many of our youths are bullied not just by fists and curses but by those who, time and again - hiding their faces or not, disguising their identities or not – wreak havoc with the lives of their peers to the degree that those who are taunted feel isolated, hated, and ultimately are opting to take their own lives in ever increasing numbers.
Christian parents who are commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ today, Easter Sunday, can take this opportunity to devote themselves and, in turn have their children devote themselves to a spiritual resurrection, a time in which to renew their commitment to lead loving and compassionate lives.
Jewish parents celebrating the festival of Passover, commemorating the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and freedom from slavery, can continue to teach their children to identify with all people who fight to be free from oppression, encouraging them to experience this as a time to commit themselves, as well, to standing up to bullies, to finding the part of their moral compass that will encourage them to be loving and compassionate.
These holy days are not simply days to attend religious services and enjoy family feasts. We owe it to ourselves and to all who are fighting for freedom around the globe to teach our children first and foremost about respecting themselves and then how they can extend that respect and compassion to others.
We live in a world where those opposing freedom are slaughtering innocent civilians, murdering doctors and nurses who treat victims of repressive regimes (as occurred in Syria just days ago)... and hundreds - if not thousands - of our youth are committing suicide because bullies are making them feel that they cannot endure the dark days of their lives. Mustn’t we all do whatever is in our individual power – in our homes, temples, churches, mosques – to put an end to those who see themselves as all powerful when, in fact, they are callous cowards who should be forced to suffer the consequences of their actions?
To feel any hope at this time, I need to believe that in practicing the best of what the moral codes of our religions have to offer we might have a chance, at least, to live in a saner, better world.
Happy holy days to one and all!