The modern society has altered the interpretation of democracy. Thanks to several civil rights movements of the past century and the increased desire of general social equality, the popular voice of the current democracy has become the crying of the diversity of people: the black activists against racism, the women against sexism, and added quite recently, the minorities of sexual preference against homophobic culture. However, religion among all the diverse categories has been easily undermined by the society. Thus, to adapt to the concurrent democratic evolution, study of religion and the wider education of it is inevitable.
Firstly, there are numerous simplifications, the current society makes, which result in misunderstandings of religion. Diane L. Moore, the director of Harvard Divinity School stated that “there are four fundamental assumptions that… religious scholars share when… [discussing on] the nature of religious literacy… that there is a distinction between… [a personal belief] and… an academic study of belief… that religion is internally diverse… that religion evolves…” (Moore). Her speech challenges the current journalism in specific for not addressing the assumptions mentioned above but simply using the assumptions to jump to conclusion. She mentioned that the evangelists of the Heartland America were assumed to vote for Hillary Clinton since the Democratic Party candidate provided more religious rights and critically, the religious leaders supported the policies of her. However, the reality was that the majority of the evangelists supported Donald Trump. Here, it is evident that the journalists downsized the poor white evangelist population of the Heartland as a couple of religious leaders. Also, Dr. Moore emphasizes the tragic reality that the Muslim population of the world is being stereotyped and is being simplified to just radical religious believers of the performance of jihad through terrorist actions. In order to widen the scope of understanding of the Islamic World, she gives examples of Muslim religious leaders that discourage terrorist actions of the radical groups. Furthermore, she gives examples of several daily headlines of Islamic Newspapers and compares it to the coverage and the titles of Islamic topics in American media. She explains that these denunciations have been created due to the nature of media to portray the world the way readers want to perceive.
The majority of the modern society: believers of diversity in democracy, is represented as a secular group since religion is scapegoated to cause current inequalities regarding race and sexual preference. This inaccurate representation of society has led the popular media to condemn religious practices. However, the faith that the secular mass believes in is indeed wrong. Religion and the civil rights movement have a strong correlation in history and cannot be seen as rivals.
The Black Lives Matter movement activists have often mistaken American churches to have absolutely no association with them. However, Dr. Moore and her team of religious journalists argue that the American church was indeed very much involved with the Black Lives Matter movement. Firstly they proclaimed that during the Ferguson unrest of 2014, church institutions not only protected the demonstrators but also stood at the frontline of riot to even force the policemen to repent their sins. These active protests that religious institutions executed shows how religions in the modern world are working to achieve a truly equal society as well as accepting diversity.
Although religion has been a powerful weapon in the racism front, it has been long criticized for not accepting minorities of sexual preference: LGBTQ. It is true that many Christian divisions do not allow gay marriage and that other religion of the world do too. However, it is important to highlight that in spite of numerous efforts done with the religious doctrines and its interpretation, the LGBTQ communities and the general society refuses to deny that religion is a tool of expressing homophobia. In the last decade, Christianity has made progress in accepting LGBTQ culture into its religion. Many theologians have debated whether the Bible denies homosexuality and divided amongst themselves for these problems. After numerous debates on October 2016, Pope Francis has commented on homosexuality and said that the Catholic Church should embrace homosexuals as a member of the communion. Despite these efforts, advocates of LGBTQ refuse to accept the struggle that the church has had but instead denounces religion as a whole to be a rival of democratic society. Furthermore, from time to time, when the voices of criticism get louder, it is rather easy to find homosexual activists condemning the religious leaders more brutally than they did to the homosexuals. A religious journalist Sanghyun Paik criticizes this situation in his book Homosexuality is that “It is an irony that it is phobia when Christians, who advise not to participate in homosexuality, criticizes [the homosexuals], but when [the homosexuals] criticize the Christians, it is a declaration” (Paik, 116). The fact that defenders of equality and diversity refuse to accept religious diversity and difference in belief does seem controversial. Thus, to prevent these misunderstanding of diversity, it is important to teach religion universally, even to non-believers.
All in all, the modern society is a mass of diversity. In order to become a democratic citizen, one has to accept diversity. It is true that religion is illustrated conservative. However, the wide variety of religious diversity as well as efforts that each sectors of religion are performing in order to evolve concurrently to the changes in society has to be accepted by the world. Thus, it is a necessity to teach religion in order to become an enlightened democratic citizen of a global society.