Domestic violence is no respecter of person or religion. You see, when it comes to abuse, it happens every day in the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Catholic or Hindu home. It also occurs daily in the homes of agnostics and atheists. I suppose you could say domestic/intimate partner violence is an interfaith issue. So, what do we do with this quandary?
Would the Christian say it is a form of punishment for the Muslim, or vice versa? Has religion skewed such issues as this?
What do we do for those who have become completely alienated by organized religion, self-righteous individuals or judgmental dogma? Can we collaborate across the tables of denomination or religion and work together to help all victims in an interfaith manner? Can we sit together and learn what the needs and solutions are of victims of domestic/intimate partner violence or sexual assault, and then, in turn, take it back to our congregation, applying what we are taught to reach out and draw the hurting, broken, bruised and battered into our sanctuary? And remember, sanctuary is not just a building – it is also a place of peace and security.
Most of us have a religious practice of choice. Some have chosen not to worship God at all. Nothing should preclude us from being given the option to request prayer or spiritual support in such horrific times as being battered by a spouse or intimate partner, no matter our spiritual position or condition.
And what about same-sex couples? Yes, domestic violence takes place there, too.
This is not so much a post of what to do, but rather to raise the question – WHAT CAN BE DONE? Being judgmental, condemning, attempting to force our religious beliefs on another at a time when they are least likely to be able to hear and absorb what is being said is counter-productive.
So, how do we reach out with love and support to victims of domestic/intimate partner violence who are not of our faith – or do we even bother to try?
- Neil Schori: The Response of the Church to Domestic Violence (imaginepublicity.com)