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|I think one of the reasons that they don't like you talking about being Christian (of any type, but I assume especially Catholic) is because people in the Middle East are still really really angry about the whole Crusade thing. The American commanders want to distance themselves as much as they can from that, which most likely includes having the soldiers of keep mum about their beliefs. Also, like Rogue said, you guys showing respect for their culture helps gain their respect and trust, making it easier for them to not see you as invaders and enemies and thus making things more peaceful.
It is also a huge cultural thing in that region. Even non-practicing Muslims often follow such customs as fasting during Ramadan.
In the end, while it does suck for you because you are not one of the people that gives the religion a bad name, Christianity does have the stained reputation of heavily persecuting other faiths (Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Hindus, etc), just like white people have the reputation of mistreating non-whites. It isn't fair that you have to pay for the actions of morons in the past, but because some of those morons are still around the brass has to play it cautious.
|I totally agree with Rogue on this one. I think that is more of a cultural issue than it is a religious issue. You, True, would know a thousand times more about this than I, since Vulkar is 100% correct to point out that YOU are the one over there, but what a lot of people over here don't seem to understand is that religion takes on a cultural aspect in other countries. Like, people consider being Jewish to be a nationality. Well, it's not. It's a religion. People can convert to Judaism. They can consider themselves Jewish afterward. But they can't be a non-Italian, for example, and "convert" to being Italian. Hopefully I'm making sense here. HOWEVER, Judaism is SUCH a part of certain cultural aspects, that's where the sterio-typical Jewish "nationality" came from, at least in my opinion, I am always open to be corrected or hear someone else's take.
Speaking of being open to the opinions of others, I sincerely hope you don't mind, Urban, but True said she was Christian, not Catholic. Catholocism is a sect of Christianity, so there's a BIG difference between the words and what they stand for. Secondly, while I have my own opinions on Catholocism, some of which I'm certainly sure you and I will agree upon, tagging the Catholic Church as the religion that "takes your money" is discrimination. They ALL take money. They all take SOME sort of cost on it's followers.
See, one form of religious respect, in my opinion, is to take the time to learn about them, whether you believe in other religions or not. Even if you totally disagree, respect could still be shown simply by knowing what you're talking about, at least a little(Not saying you don't know anything Urban, I'm moving on with my points is all.). True, you may not have agreed with it, but I respect you for going through with reserving their beliefs, because in conjunction with Rogue's point, you're one more person out there who did something really good for our culture, not just for the situation over there. Actually did something, didn't just sit and talk about doing something.
|I agree it's unfair for you, but what I think they're trying to do is form a bond with the Iraqis by playing in their court for a while, eating (or not eating in this case) their food, observing their rituals, and trying to gain their respect.
Many think Americans just rush into other countries and then try to make them conform to our ideals. You constantly see the stereotype played up in movies -- whenever an American tries to converse with someone in another country they shout loudly and slowly in English. Or they commit sacrilege in sacred places.
It seems whoever is commanding you to follow their customs is trying to gain the Iraqis' trust and prevent them from thinking of Americans as uncultured brutes.
I mean, Muslims derive from Christianity, which is derived from Judaism. It's a shame that these three often don't get along in a world setting.
|Lord Vulkas Mormonus
|I'm sure you already know more about this than me, already serving in Iraq and everything, but...
Christians have been seen as the enemy of the Middle East for, well, frankly hundreds of years. If we really want to get past our problems with their culture, we probably need to show them that we're more than just the Christian infidels, we're Americans. However, I do think that if you went into a room without any Iraqis in it, there really should be no reason for you not to eat or drink some water.
|I feel as though you're doing that out of respect for your commandiing officer, right? Obeying orders was something you signed up for, it happens. If you weren't ready to blindly follow someone because the government pays you to I wouldn't have suggested a job in the military. You can complain and maybe bring it up to you CO if you would like not that it would have much effect. BTW why would you want to parade about saying that your a catholic? The fact that you can't say that to the muslims over there doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. I don't enter cabs and say take me to Fourth St, by the way i'm a christian. But, alas i understand your strife, for a long time i was forced to go to church (i am not a fan of organized religion especially one's with their hands in my pockets.) something that i've never wanted to do, and it's not just because i'm lazy but that will end up a totally different subject. Sometimes you have to grit your teeth and go along with it.|
|So how far is too far? I really want to know?
Here is my scenario. It is Ramadan. During Ramadan the muslims here do not eat, drink, or smoke during the daylight hours. So as soldiers we are to follow suit if we work around a lot of Iraqis.
So... we are told not to disrespect their religion, but being a Christian here in Iraq is a totally different subject. So I am not allowed to say I'm Christian around muslims, because it counts as preaching and what not. Along with that I am to follow suit and respect everyone else's religion. That includes my fellow pagan friend. Which I am happy that she chose at least SOMETHING to believe in.
Anywho... I was at the change of command ceremony and I met everyone in the official party including Joe Biden. =P Everyone who is not media is drinking water like crazy, however... we are not to do any of that. No one has eaten no one has done anything. I'm nic fitting and everything. Over the fact that I have to respect this guy's religion when he wouldn't even stop eating around a catholic who was fasting.
I'm cool with the fact that you want to starve and dehydrate yourself. I'm not cool with the fact that I have to follow your beliefs because I am told to. It's like your religion (peaceful yet not my cup of tea.) is being forced upon me.
That's what I'm trying to say.