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Column: Illustrious Imani

Citizens combat the conflict of creed and culture
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What is religion’s impact on youth? Personally I believe religion has a negative impact on our youth today. Religion is a highly complicated and controversial topic to speak on, especially now. Generally speaking, most can identify religion as a way of life or a reflection of one’s morals. Even though overall it has a large positive impact with most of the world, religion is a range of social/cultural systems that easily influences large groups of people. Most of these beliefs that can stem from cultural practices or moral beliefs can also create social standards for those who partake in a certain religion.
“The purpose of Christianity is stated to be that, ‘Through belief in and acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.’ While Jesus is often the model for loving one another and guiding those who are lost, Christianity must not be used as an easy way out to practice homophobia,” it states in the column “Christianity is no excuse for homophobia,” written by Ani Svendsen in the student newspaper at Redwood High School in California.
Though one religion, especially one with a higher percentage of the population, may have different types of people who believe things to different degrees, the hate toward members of the LGBTQ+ community comes from Christian believers who quote “man shall not lay with another man” from the Bible. Overall I understand not agreeing with someone and their practices, but to be disrespectful, degrade and overall harass a group of people, and justify it with your religion in which you are told to be kind and loving to all, is just extremely disrespectful and hypocritical.
Everyone of course is entitled to their own opinion, but I believe when those cultures, beliefs and values become an excuse for prejudice and discrimination toward innocent groups of people who don’t practice the same religion or culture, that is when their opinions or views of others should be revised. A lot of hateful actions come from strong-willed people who use their religion as a reason for why they are acting a certain way.
This can also cause conflict for people exploring areas of their life that aren’t socially acceptable. Many cultures have standards that are difficult and even impossible to follow. You could even say it’s part of one’s destiny to disappoint your family for not being able to be the culturally and socially perfect child they raised you to be. In recent times, especially with this new accepting attitude the younger generations have created for themselves, it’s tempting to step out of your family’s boundaries and be someone they may not accept themselves. Unfortunately, this clear difference can hurt and even end relationships. Many of the people from older generations are having a much harder time coming to terms with the new way of life millennials and younger generations have brought to our world.
It’s common for generations with age gaps to clash in opinions, but as our world gets bigger and more diverse, it seems as if there are more people to be understanding toward, making it that much harder to unify us. Although again it’s important to have something important to believe in and live by, we must also stay open minded and empathetic to other types of people, regardless of their gender, race, religion, or ethnic background. Religion can just be used as an excuse to degrade these other groups of people and therefore people who have strong beliefs must be those most careful about their actions and how they treat others.
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About the Contributor
Imani Ongalo, Executive Editor
My name is Imani Ongalo. I am a senior at North and a returning fourth year editor to The Knight Times. This year I am executive editor of the newspaper. Aside from journalism at North, I am also, vice president of Rho Kappa, an Honors Swat Tutor, part of FBLA, Link Crew, Tennis, E-Club, Sign Language Club, Black Union, and Art Club. I am excited to experience my final year as part of the staff here at North. Journalism at North  is one of the activities I've been doing since freshman year, and I am excited to return.

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