Saturday, August 15, 2009

Missouri Conflict

Ran across a few old news items that reminded me of church history:

26 Sept 2008: Socio-Economic-Religious Background to Conflict

12 April 2009: "Dignity", Refugees, Problematic Peace Committees

These are more or less current events in rural Orissa, one of India's less developed and modernized areas. I'm reminded of several of the social and economic factors that may have informed the Missouri conflict. The way Laxmananda Saraswati's assassination was immediately blamed on Christians reminds me of how the 1842 assassination attempt on Boggs was immediately blamed on Mormons.

I'm not saying the two conflicts are the same, of course, but maybe looking at one now can help us think about what things might have been like then.

How resonant are Orissa conflicts with Mormon/Missourian ones in the 1830s?


  1. I think another important question regarding these two distinctive, yet related, conflicts is "How can what we learned from then help ease the persecution our fellow Christians are experiencing now?"

    I wish I had an answer.

  2. I think majorities pretty consistently try to oppress minorities. Religious organization often gives oppressed minority groups the faith and courage (to the majority it's probably more like audacity) to try to change their status, often more aggressively than the majority is prepared for. Conflict ensues.

    It gets particularly ugly when there's a marked religious difference between the minority and majority. Makes me kind of wonder how the civil rights movement would have played out had the US majority not been Christian. Would the reaction against the movement have been far more bitter and intense? Would members of the movement have turned radical far more quickly out of religious disrespect for the majority?

    Maybe we fear members of other faiths out of a sense that we never really know what they're thinking. And the aggressive exploit that sense of otherness to suggest that we do know what others are thinking, and it's not good. Most Catholics secretly want the pope to rule the world. Jews think mostly about money and have no sense of mercy. Muslims have hatred inside of them instead of blood. Mormons are a creepy, borg-like corporate cult with beliefs so weird you will never, ever understand what they value.

    How do you get a community that feels threatened to back away from suspicions in a time of crisis? I think that's the answer we're looking for, but I don't know if humanity has one yet.



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