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Letter: Don’t blame religion for individual choices

Don’t blame religion for individual choices

There is an irony to the phrase “words matter,” as used by the author of the June 24 Another Voice. There is no consensus blaming an “illiberal society;” these generalizations are just as unfair as those espoused by Americans who blame religion for individual choices. Despite Dylann Roof’s intention to start a race war, his proud display of the Confederate flag and his membership in a Christian church, he is spoken of as a “lone wolf” or “mentally disturbed.” Meanwhile, Omar Mateen’s deeds are looked at by some as the actions of someone involved with ISIS and he is described as a “terrorist.” Why the double standard?

The answer to both of these young mens’ troubles may lie in a combination of several factors, which led them to lash out at society. There was no ISIS when this boy was tearing up elementary schools with his spoiled, entitled behavior, and that problem is seen in all ethnicities and economic classes: it’s called bad parenting.

Mateen’s poor social skills, anger over a police training program and his adoption of his father’s hatred of homosexuals produced a time bomb, just as other factors created killers like Roof.

Let’s not rush to bury ourselves in our bunkers or to declare war on a single religion, but to reflect on raising our children to be respectful and tolerant, even if that doesn’t include acceptance. Let’s be more mindful of how we throw words around, describing humans as “invasive species.” That mindset, and the permission from authorities, is all that stops us from committing the same “incomprehensible evils” that the author fears. Words do matter.

Carmen Bartolotta

Buffalo