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The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

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Boldly Believing

The increasing normalcy of mocking religions at Jackson-Reed

Many religions are centered around centuries of history, beliefs, and traditions that vary by family, culture, or ethnicity. For many, religion provides guidance, a sense of purpose, and a source of comfort. It’s a deeply personal and often profoundly meaningful aspect of many people’s lives. As Jackson-Reed is such a diverse community, respecting and tolerating a variety of religious beliefs is essential for our community to thrive. So, why is it that I still continue to both witness and experience the mocking of my faith on a daily basis?

I can’t claim to know what adversity every follower of a religion encounters, but I can empathize with the pain and frustration they might feel. Mocking religious beliefs is neither constructive nor empathetic. Though, JR students seem to get a free pass at ridiculing and offending one’s religious beliefs, and we’re expected to just laugh it off and accept such mockery. 

It wasn’t until I found myself having to defend my beliefs and openly share my experiences that I began to receive a bit more respect, and people were finally aware that maybe their insulting, belittling jokes shouldn’t be said. Mere acknowledgment of being a follower of my religion is not sufficient enough; it’s as though I need to provide extensive validation or else it’s an open shot for mockery.

I’ve encountered countless students at this school who are afraid to share their faith, even in the most “accepting” of environments because they fear judgment, discrimination, or being seen as weird or delusional. This reluctance to be open about one’s beliefs exposes the deep-seated biases and stereotypes that permeate our so-called “inclusive” society. This is becoming an environment where students are unable to freely and safely express themselves without fear. 

Take Christianity for example, a commonly mocked religion evidently shown in films, social media, talk shows, and in society. The surge in romanticizing religious symbols, such as the cross, as a mere fashion sense is becoming alarmingly normalized among many other forms of disrespect and mocking against religions. Whether it’s the result of ignorance, stereotypes, or cultural biases, the reality is that this is an act of discrimination, discrimination that is uncontrollably becoming prominent within our daily lives.

Each individual has a unique background, experiences, and interactions with different people. A religion cannot be held responsible for the acts of its adherents and shouldn’t be used as a justification to be ridiculed; it’s fundamentally unjust and fails to account for the inclusive approach that considers and respects all aspects of diversity that JR “tries” to uphold. 

Just as our school preaches the importance of not stereotyping or discrimination based on race, sexuality, background, or other characteristics of identity, it should not be so difficult to extend the same consideration to religion. To not be discriminated against, ridiculed, or mocked should not be something that no person should have the burden to plead for, and yet we are.

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About the Contributor
Lolera Tesema, Opinions Editor
When she’s not too busy being a master at finding people’s look-alike or sharing her opinion despite not being asked to, you can find Lolera critiquing study cafes more than she’s actually studying. On the rare occasion you can’t find Lolera dissecting a place’s aesthetics, you’ll catch her reorganizing her Notion and Pinterest boards for the 58th time while sipping the Pumpkin Spice Latte she successfully convinced the Starbucks worker to make ... despite it being 97 degrees in summer.
  • 2021-23: Junior Editor
  • 2023-24: Opinions Editor
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