I'm interested in the the intersections of culture and religion, since they both affect each other in so many ways. I wonder if there can be a singular "true" religion, since so many religions are a reflection of a specific society. Of course, religious freedom is my own cultural reponse - although I've begun to think that religious freedom even in America is a misnomer.
Extremism in any form bothers me; the thinking that no one can be allowed to practice a religion based on governmental policy, or that medical care should be withheld because of a dominant religion, strikes me as the anthithesis of religious practice.
These deep not-so-late-night thoughts brought to you by an article I read earlier tonight about Catholicism in China, which, like all other religous practices, are forbidden.
"The pope might be a ranking minister, but according to the [Chinese Communist] party's thinking, President Hu Jinto is Catholicism's supreme leader, at least in China.
Parishioners and clergy must struggle to balance faith with the often intrusive dictates of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Associaton, the omnipotent govertment body that oversees religious life for China's 12 million Catholics, more than half of whom are thought to attend underground churches.
The drama between the [Catholic] church and China intensified on Saturday, when the Rev. Thaddeus Ma Daqin, the newly installed auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, stunned his congregation by announcing his resignation from the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. The announcement, captured on video and posted on foreign and Chinese Web sites, was met with sustained applause from the congregation. Father Ma, who did not lead Mass on Sunday as scheduled, has not been heard from since."