There are many candidates for the office of most persecuted. At various points in history, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, Evangelicals all were the victims of religious persecution. Generally, at the hands of another Religious sect.
But there is one universally persecuted class of living beings that have been consistently, unremittingly, and extensively put upon by all religions.
Just the very mention of the word makes many people’s skin (no pun intended) crawl.
The sight of even the most harmless snake can send adults and children alike into panicked flight or overwhelming, and entirely out-of-proportion, response.
Generally always to the detriment of the snake.
For some reason yet undiscovered mythical evil intent and purpose has been attributed to the snake.
Snakes have come to represent the essence of evil temptation.
Eve was coerced by the snake into eating of the Tree of Knowledge (I never understood why the Apple hasn’t retained the same evil connotation).
Interestingly enough, Eve’s prior contact with the snake must have been at worst, benign, or we can only assume she would have either run to Adam, screaming, or taken a stick and beaten the snake to death. Why trust advice from a snake?
But the point being that there is no rest from Religious persecution for the snake. Unless the snake happens to come upon snake neutral Buddhists (who hopefully adhere to their tenants of the sanctity of all life).
Throughout history snakes have always generated fear, hatred, loathing, and in some cases, pretty good recipes.
So while persecution solely on the basis of any religious doctrine is abhorrent (we don’t kill children for believing in Santa Claus for which equally compelling evidence of actual existence as any God or Gods can be found), snakes deserve an apology from all.
It seems random chance in the snake being chosen as the instrument of evil has doomed this amazing species to eternal damnation.
Think about it, snakes have been characterized as evil, vicious, and slimy. But environmentally speaking, they occupy an important and beneficial niche in the world.
Chipmunks, on the other hand, are destructive, prolific, and a nuisance. Everyone thinks they are cute. You know the reason why?
If Disney had chosen to make snakes lovable and cute, instead of Chip and Dale, we’d all love them and no religion in the world would dare demean a Disney Character. Well, probably the Westboro Baptist lunatics but that is a whole different matter.
So to all the snakes out there, we owe you an apology.