National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Karen Armstrong

In wake of Ferguson, a bid to make St. Louis a more 'compassionate' city

Some might argue that if there is one thing this city could use more of right now, it's compassion.

Even before civil unrest surfaced in the region after Officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, local leaders were trying to find a way to cultivate more of it. But how exactly? And how would we know when we had enough?

Unlike other commodities, compassion is difficult to quantify.

Religion is often a presence in violence, but it's not the cause

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We hear it everywhere today, implicitly or explicitly: Religion is inherently violent, and it causes wars. It is religion (in this case, Islam) that is leading the Islamic State militant group to champion and use violence -- even promote beheadings -- to achieve its ends. When we hear news about the Middle East, it is largely the story of sectarian struggles between Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims, or Israeli Jews vs. Palestinian Muslims, or a story about Christians being persecuted. Religion comes across as the culprit.

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