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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Leonard Pitts Jr.: Faith not force

Leonard Pitts, Jr.  (Photo by Anna Hanks)
It seems that practically every day we hear stories about how one group tries to force its faith upon another.  However, we don’t hear them told quite as adeptly as Leonard Pitts, Jr. does.

In his recent Miami Herald article “Faith cannot be coerced,” Pitts gets right to the heart of the matter.  In telling about the
plight of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian who is sentenced to be whipped then hung for refusing to renounce either her marriage or her religion, Pitts makes it perfectly clear that her captors are not actually motivated by faith.

He offers these two classic definitions of faith:  “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (from The Bible), and “taking the first step, even when you don’t’ see the whole staircase” (from Martin Luther King, Jr.).

He compares this with the kind of “theological bullying” that so often occurs, then asks this vital question:  Can faith ever truly be faith if it is imposed by force of law or threat of violence?

Pitts then states that those who feel they must resort to force in order to spread “faith” are showing their lack of trust in “what they profess to believe.”  For if the power of faith truly exists, then it does not need violence in order to proliferate.


Copyright June 5, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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