COLUMN: My religion has taught me to respect other religions

I am proud to say I'm Catholic.

My parents had me baptized four months after I was born. I went to church every weekend. I attended Catholic school and went to Mass every week. I essentially went to church twice a week, in addition to taking religion classes.

It’s safe to say my faith has been instilled in me at a young age.

As a student at Central Michigan University, this is my first time at a public school with students who are not Catholic. I have met people who practice different religions and have beliefs — Muslims, atheists and people from all types of different religious backgrounds.

It’s a great community to be a part of. I respect them.

If Catholic school and twice-weekly Masses have taught me anything, it's that respecting other types of beliefs and viewpoints should be a priority — especially in today’s society.

Now is not a good time for religious people around the world. On Palm Sunday, news broke that two Christian churches in Egypt were bombed. This happens not just at Christian churches, but at mosques, temples and other places of faith and worship around the world.

It’s disheartening. Religion is a place to come together, to unite communities and to be inclusive.

The Catholic Church is open to all. When I go to Mass, I am surrounded by people who are there because they have a deep faith and want to grow deeper in it.

Every week, I hear the word of God. One of the most important words of Jesus is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” This is where respect comes it.

Nobody on this campus has to agree with anyone about anything. Everybody has different opinions and beliefs.

However, we must respect one another.

On this campus, issues have arose where faith and religion have been threatened. 

A Catholic parish on campus lost trust after the community learned its priest sexually harassed a female student. In February, a non-student insulted the Jewish community by creating an anti-Semitic Valentine's Day card. Muslim students were threatened by President Donald Trump after he initiated a travel ban earlier this year.

Religion, like it usually does, persevered.

A new Catholic priest was instituted, the Jewish community came together and the Muslim community rallied. Others rallied with those groups. It is all out of respect.

If you go to the Catholic church on campus now, St. Mary's, you'll find students still worship in its pews.

February’s incident led to an outpouring support for the Jewish community.

After Trump’s travel ban, students of all beliefs and backgrounds rallied on campus to support the Muslim community.

What is even more interesting is how these groups rallied after troubling times were not just the groups themselves. People of all beliefs came together and supported them.

It is all because of respect, something we need more of. With the way social media and society is, there will be new ideas, beliefs and opinions all the time we will not agree with. Some people will continue to spew hate.

However, we can all agree that we are humans who have the ability to exercise faith, or no faith. If we disagree, we must still respect one another.

This Sunday is Easter. I am going to Mass to celebrate how my Lord and Savior resurrected from the dead to give us eternal life.

Maybe some of you don’t believe in Jesus as the lord and savior. Maybe some of you believe in the prophet Muhammad. Maybe some of you don’t believe in anything.

Whatever the case may be, try to respect and support people of all faiths. We need it now more than ever. 


About Evan Sasiela

Evan Sasiela is the University Editor at Central Michigan Life and a senior at Central Michigan ...

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