This collection of topics, a brief view of life, could be used to teach an adolescent the basics about life.
An idol is something to be worshiped. Most religions have an image or description of their main god or gods that is accepted by the believers as a suitable representation for the supernatural entity. Those sharing these beliefs will not disrespect their idol.
The use of an idol leads to a split among the community between those that worship this idol (and the religion it represents) and those that do not. The religious leaders can take advantage of this split by claiming they know their god is the right god and those that do not follow this god are wrong and are a problem for this god's followers. Historically, religious leaders have been able to rally their believers to their cause and so that religious group will persecute and sometimes harm those that have different beliefs.
Non-religious images can also be treated like an idol such as the American flag or the American President.
Public demonstrations against various government policies, like a war against a foreign country, will sometimes include burning an American flag to show their contempt for such policies conducted in the name of the people that flag represents. The political leaders seeking an unwavering support for their wrong policies will attempt to portray these demonstrations attacking just an image as an attack against the country as if the idol is the same as the country. Stopping protests against the policies practiced in the name of the country are the goal and by invoking the idol it becomes a political image where any action against that idol is treated as a criminal act as if the idol itself must be worshipped. A speech (protected by the First Amendment) just using the flag as an image should not be a criminal act.
When Bush 43 invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, anti-war demonstrators (there were many!) were claimed to be criminals because they should not criticize the President when the country is at war. This political claim elevated the President to the level of an idol, as a figure to be worshipped. By splitting those in support of the president from those against those policies, political advantages can be gained by keeping the critics out of the political debates. This veneration of the Chief Executive has been called the Fuhrer principle. Anyone having such veneration and able to avoid any criticism could take the country into a disaster.
Idols become dangerous when the religious concept becomes attached to a political goal. 'God bless America' is a political slogan implying the Christian God approves of the actions taken by the political leaders in the name of the United States so any opponents to those policies are assumed to be enemies of this god as well. The name of a political military campaign having religious backing is a Crusade. The Crusades of about 1000 years ago were the invasion by Christian armies of the Moslem lands in the Middle East. The wars by Bush 41, Bush 43 and Obama were also invasions in the Middle East, with 'God bless America' frequently heard when political and religious leaders were talking of those wars and policies.
References: Fuhrer principle: here and here
created - December 2011
last change - 12/17/2011
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