NPR’s social science feature on today’s Morning Edition discussed research showing that people who practice a ritual, even newly learned, seemingly meaningless ritual, show more trust for people who perform the same ritual and less trust for people who don’t practice the ritual.
I guess that explains this childish post from Aberdeen’s local xenophobe club:
Mocking individuals engaged in public prayer—yes, how neighborly.
Funny: I don’t mock the Hutterites for wearing clothes and speaking a language that clearly mark their religiously driven separation from mainstream culture. I don’t immediately mistrust people whom I hear inserting “under God” into their Pledges of Allegiance. I’m suspicious of the theology of pro running backs who incorporate kneels and gestures toward the sky in their endzone celebrations, simply because I doubt any worship-worthy deity would invest heavily in who scores more points in a professional entertainment event. But I don’t marginalize pro running backs, under-Godders, and Hutterites for worshipping differently from my traditions.
Social science may identify a tendency to feel uncomfortable with people who behave differently from one’s own customary practices. But such a tendency does not justify posting photos making fun of others’ rituals to sow and reinforce distrust and hatred.