Showing posts with label Terror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Terror. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hate Crimes, Shootings, Guns, Domestic Terrorism, and the History of Ignorant Attacks on American Sikhs

The focus of this blog is most commonly the violence and hatred with which hypocritical religious individuals and institutions shower LGBT persons.  After last weekend's mass shooting at a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin, I am again made painfully aware of the violence and hatred that religious individuals and institutions are capable of hurling at those of other religions.  This shooting is another in an endless line of violence that results from the tragic combination of ignorance, hatred, religion, and weapons of mass destruction.  

Ignorance:  The Huffington Post article shares numerous quotes of those who perpetrated these crimes.  One murderer said: I'm a patriot and an American. I'm American. I'm a damn American," "I'm going to go out and shoot some towel-heads," "all Arabs should be shot," and his desire to "slit some Iranian throats."  There is a common pattern in the listed crimes: the Sikh victims were ignorantly assumed to be Muslims, specifically members of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda.  

Sikhs are not in any way Muslim, nor are they the members of al-Qaeda responsible for 9/11.  Neither are nearly 100% of the world's Muslims and/or Iranians.  Yet, innocent Americans of these backgrounds have now been the victims of eleven years of domestic terrorism perpetrated by self-proclaimed "real Americans."  Ignorance breeds hatred and violence.

Religion:  From what I've been able to research (I'm by no means an expert on Sikh beliefs.), the founders of the Sikh religion, the Sikh Gurus, did not believe in the exclusivity of their teachings or writings.  Contrast this with the founders of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Mormonism, who all believed that they had a divinely-inspired, exclusive claim to the one and ultimate truth.  In other words, our god is better than your god(s).  This is a recipe for violence in the name of one's supreme being.

Weapons of Mass Destruction:  Glock semiautomatic pistols and handguns have been usedin  the recent mass shootings in Oak Creek, Aurora, Tucson, and Blacksberg.  The high-capacity magazines that have been used with them have been created with one purpose only: shoot as many bullets in as few seconds as possible. The result is mass destruction, injury, death, and terror.

We live in a nation, where the right of a U.S. citizen to legally buy these weapons of mass destruction trumps the right of every other citizen to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  After last weekend's attack upon the Sikh gurdwara, we again see that the right to bear weapons of mass destruction also trumps the right to peacefully assemble and the right to worship or not worship as one sees fit.

We accept many limitations on our rights.  It's illegal to drive at unsafe speeds, because the result might be death.  It's illegal to smoke at many indoor establishments, because the result might be cases of lung cancer for those standing nearby.  It's illegal to self-prescribe medications, because one might do harm by means of an overdose or uninformed mixing of drugs.  It's illegal to drink and drive, because one might cause an accident killing others.  

If we accept these limits on our rights to perform these actions, because the result of these actions might be injury and death to others, why can we not accept limits upon the right of citizens to purchase and stockpile the semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines that have been the tools used to reap terror, destruction, hatred and death upon so many innocent Americans?

How many more times must the tragic confluence of ignorance, hatred, religion and weapons of mass destruction be allowed to occur before we legislate concrete, preventative measures to ensure the safety of all Americans? 

In the meanwhile, the ignorance of a few will continue to result in hate crimes perpetrated against the many.  

Here's what Lawrence O'Donnell had to say about the NRA after the tragedy in Aurora, CO:
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Correction to Yesterday's Post, Martin Luther King Jr. Quote Is Not Completely Accurate But Is Still as Scathing

     The quote attributed to Martin Luther King Jr. that I used in yesterday's post and that is being disseminated in the wake of Osama bin Laden's death is not completely accurate.  
     A Facebook user posted her own thoughts followed by King's quote.  Somewhere in the electronic game of "Telephone" that is social media, her original introductory sentence and the actual King quote were combined into a single quote.  Those little things called quotation marks make a huge difference.  (See Eats, Shoots & Leaves for more on the importance of proper punctuation.)

     The actual quote is from King's book Strength to Love, page 53.  It reads: 
     Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence.
     The Detroit Free Press reported that the first sentence — the part referencing “thousands” supposedly comes from Twitter user Jessica Dovey, who tweeted this morning at Jillette: “I am the original author of the ‘MLK’ quote. Somewhere my words got mixed with his.” Jillette then retweeted her tweet containing the admission.
     Even if the entire quote didn't come from King's lips, it doesn't devalue the meaning of what's being disseminated.  The unblemished King quote is stronger because it doesn't devalue the feelings of relief and redress belonging to those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. Also, the actual quote is  more universal and just as scathing of the condemnatory religious comments by Mike Huckabee, etc. and the actions of those who are boasting.

Monday, May 2, 2011

While America Rejoices in the Death of Osama bin Laden...

     "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."* 

--Martin Luther King, Jr.
*See Correction

     If only we as a nation could show that kind of intelligence and control.  Instead, the likes of preacher-turned-politician-turned-FOX-personality-turned-politician Mike Huckabee continue the jihad of hatred by welcoming Osama bin Laden to hell.  

     What happened to "love your enemies and pray for your persecutors"?  

     Along with usury, caring for the poor, protecting children, and reaching out to those on the margins, many Christians in the U.S.A. have forgotten their scriptures.  The hatred spewing forth across the nation under the guise of celebration will only breed more hatred for the truly ugly American.

     Am I relieved the world is free of one more religious fundamentalist determined to kill in the name of his god?  Yes.

     But will I rejoice and boast?  This atheist will not.

     Get some class, America.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Visual Aid: If Marriage Equality Becomes a Reality What Will Happen?

     Here's visual aid concerning all those nasty claims and myths from right wing Christians, Catholics and Mormons concerning same-sex couples' civil-marriage rights courtesy of Political Ironing at the PBH Network.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Taliban and the Tea Bagger, Part MMMDCCLXIII: Loving Christian Republicans Laugh at Town Hall Question, "Who Is Going to Shoot President Obama?"

     Here's a follow-up to yesterday's post.

     Salon reports:
     Here's the latest evidence that nothing has changed in post-Tucson America: A person at a Tuesday town hall with Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga. [Baptist], got up and asked, "Who is going to shoot President Obama?" 
     The exact wording of the question is not clear because, the Athens Banner-Herald reports, there was a lot of noise at the event. Perhaps more significant than the question was the response of the crowd and Broun, who is a member of the Tea Party Caucus and one of the most right-wing members of Congress. 
     The question prompted a "big laugh" from the crowd, in Oglethorpe County, Ga., according to the Banner-Herald. Broun, for his part, did not object to the question.  [Click here for the rest.]

     So much for any post-Tuscon civility.   On average, 34 Americans die from guns every day.  If you are looking for gun laws to change and a way to help bring down the statistics, check out Mayors Against Illegal Guns.  They are a bi-partisan coalition trying to do something about this gun-inflicted terror raging within our nation.

     As for the anti-union, anti-healthcare reform, anti-government GOP myth, how quickly they have forgotten their party's history.  Look at what a little bit of history reveals about Presidents Reagan, Eisenhower and Nixon (from the San Francisco Chronicle's article about the California Assembly recognizing President Reagan a few weeks ago):
     "Eisenhower supported unions, and Nixon advanced health care reform that was more ambitious than what President Clinton proposed and certainly more than what President Obama got," he said. "President Reagan was a member of a union. He was the first president to allow a black couple to spend an evening at the White House. And he even imposed taxes when he was the governor of California. He created the welfare program in California, and he did it not only as a Republican but as a patriot. It's important to recognize his contributions."
      The speeches prompted one Democratic staffer at the back of the chamber to quip, "Who's this left-wing nut job they're talking about?"
     The answer: someone they would threaten to shoot, were he president today.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Highlights" for Adults: the Tea Partier and the Taliban

     Here's a simple exercise reminiscent of the ones I completed in Highlights as a child, but this one is for adults.  What happens when a tea partier and a Taliban run into each other?

     Via BuzzFeed:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Egyptian Muslims Risk Lives to Protect Worshiping Coptic Christians

     On New Year’s Day, a devastating terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt killed 21 people and injured 79 others. Although the identity of the culprits was not known, it was assumed that they were Muslim extremists, intent on targeting those they saw as heretics. Religious tensions immediately rose in the country, and angry Copts stormed streets, battled with police, and even vandalized a nearby mosque. The riots and heightened tensions between the Muslim and Coptic communities was likely what the terrorists wanted — to divide the Egyptian community and create sectarian strife between different religious groups.
     Yet by Coptic Christmas Eve, which took place Thursday night in Egypt, things had changed completely. As Egyptian Copts attended mass at churches across the country, “thousands” of Muslims, including “the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak,” joined them, acting as “human shields” to protect from terrorist attacks by extremists. The Muslims organized under the slogan “We either live together, or we die together,” inspired by Mohamed El-Sawy, an Egyptian artist.
     Now, if only we could get American Christians to stop putting targets on their fellow Christians' heads...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Whoopie Goldberg & Joy Behar Walk Out on Bill O'Reilly's Anti-Muslim Rant; Elisabeth Hasselbeck Claims President Obama Forbade All Americans from Saying "Terrorist"

     Sparks flew on The View yesterday when Bill O'Reilly visited the show.  As he spoke out against the "Ground Zero mosque" and the religious freedom of Muslims to worship where they choose, he derided Joy Behar.  She and Whoopie walked out on him.  After Barbara Walters calmed things down and got O'Reilly to recant some of his extreme comments about Muslims, Elisabeth rang in with a doozy of lie: President Obama forbade the American public to speak the word "terrorist."  Seriously.

     Lawrence O'Donnell reports on the mess below:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saxby Chambliss' Staffer: "All (Gays) Must Die." More on McCain & Don't Ask Don't Tell

     On Tuesday, someone named "Jimmy" posted the comment "All must die" over on Joe.My.God.  Jimmy was referring to all gays.  

     "Jimmy" posted the comment using an email address that was traced back to Senator Saxby Chambliss' (Georgia) office.  Yesterday, Chambliss' office confirmed that the comment came from within.  "Jimmy" remains anonymous, but we now have in writing the bigotry and bullying employed by the virulently anti-gay Chambliss.

     Here's Keith Olbermann interviewing Dan Savage about the Chambliss' staffer's hate speech and Senator John McCain's post-Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell-repeal filibuster meltdown.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Pope Plot" Suspects Released Without Charges in United Kingdom

     It turns out that there wasn't a terror plot against Pope Ben in the United Kingdom after all.  

     Six men arrested by counter-terrorism police investigating a plot to attack the Pope have all been released without charge, Scotland Yard has confirmed. The men, all believed to be of North African origin, were arrested on Friday in London.
     A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Six men who were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000... were all released without charge late on Saturday night and early this morning."
     Police searched eight homes in north and east London and two business premises in central London, including a street cleaning depot as part of the investigation.  The Met said the searches of the premises had been completed and had not revealed any weapons or suspicious materials.
 Image via Sky News

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There Already Was a Mosque at Ground Zero: Before 9/11

     In all the hatred and wrath being spewed about the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" an incredible fact has been omitted: there was already a mosque at Ground Zero.  Before 9/11.  On the 17th floor of the south tower.  It was destroyed.  Some of its Muslim faithful were killed.

     Given the vitriolic opposition now to the proposal to build a Muslim community center two blocks from ground zero, one might say something else has been destroyed: the realization that Muslim people and the Muslim religion were part of the life of the World Trade Center.
     Opponents of the Park51 project say the presence of a Muslim center dishonors the victims of the Islamic extremists who flew two jets into the towers. Yet not only were Muslims peacefully worshiping in the twin towers long before the attacks, but even after the 1993 bombing of one tower by a Muslim radical, Ramzi Yousef, their religious observance generated no opposition
     “We weren’t aliens,” Mr. Abdus-Salaam, 60, said in a telephone interview from Florida, where he moved in retirement. “We had a foothold there. You’d walk into the elevator in the morning and say, ‘Salaam aleikum,’ to one construction worker and five more guys in suits would answer, ‘Aleikum salaam.’ ”
     “It is a shame, shame, shame,” Mr. Mamdouh, 49, said of the Parc51 dispute. “Sometimes I wake up and think, this is not what I came to America for. I came here to build this country together. People are using this issue for their own agenda. It’s designed to keep the hate going.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Tragical" Terry Jones, the Military's Condemnation of his Plan, & the GOP's Silence

     Here's an update on the "tragical" plan of fundamentalist Christian crazy Terry Jones to burn Qurans on 9/11. These embedded reports include the military's response condemning Jones' proposed disrespectful act, which will be used as fodder against US troops in Afghanistan. The reports also show how the leadership in the Republican party has not yet condemned Jones' plan.

     Here's Howard Dean's response on why the Republicans aren't backing General Patraeus' condemnation of Jones' planned Quran burning.  Dean also calls on George W. Bush to speak out, as he did when he was president, and remind the right wing that American Muslim soldiers are dying for fundamentalist Christians' civil rights.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pastor Terry Jones Plans to Burn the Quran; More Fundamentalist Christian Crazies Come out to Play & Inspire Violence

     The racist and Christian supremacist views of those on the far right that have fueled birthers' claims that President Obama is a secret Muslim and been the basis of the recent protests of the proposed Islamic Center in southern Manhattan have escalated to a new level, putting military personal and U.S. citizens' safety at risk.

     In Gainesville, Fla., a pastor's plan to hold a public burning of Qurans to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has already set off angry protests from Afghanistan to Indonesia and elicited a formal response from the U.S. Embassy condemning the plan. Now, the book burning has another high-profile foe: Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of American forces fighting in that country.
     "It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort," Petraeus told The Wall Street Journal. "It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."
     Terry Jones, the pastor at Dove World Outreach Center, told MSNBC's Chris Matthews that his church has declared Sept. 11 as "International Burn a Quran Day," and added that he hoped the burning of the Muslim religion's holy text "will be as it is intended, as a warning."
     The Quran, according to Jones, is "evil" because it espouses something other than the Christian biblical truth and incites radical, violent behavior among Muslims.  "It's hard for people to believe, but we actually feel this is a message that we have been called to bring forth," he said last week. "And because of that, we do not feel like we can back down."
     This intolerant and hateful Christian, who dresses himself up as "reverend," will have blood on his hands: every soldier and innocent person killed or injured in response to his Quran burning.

     Crazy people, like Jones, give our nation a bad name, just as crazy Muslim fundamentalists like Bin Laden give Islam a bad name.  Mainstream Christians and Muslims must stand up to these crazies and discredit them, before they bring about the apocalypse they so desire.

     Jones' plan is already inspiring violence in Afghanistan.  He's also been condemned by the U.S. government and military. reports:
     Hundreds of Afghans shouted anti-American slogans and called for President Obama’s death at a rally yesterday to denounce an American church’s plans to burn the Islamic holy book to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
     The crowd in Kabul, numbering as many as 500, chanted “long live Islam’’ and “death to America.’’  The protesters listened to fiery speeches from members of Parliament, provincial council deputies, and Islamic clerics, who criticized the United States and demanded the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.
     “We know this is not just the decision of a church. It is the decision of the president and the entire United States,’’ said Abdul Shakoor, 18, a high school student who said he joined the protest in Kabul after hearing about the Koran burning.
     The US Embassy in Kabul issued a statement condemning Dove World Outreach Center’s plans, saying Washington was “deeply concerned about deliberate attempts to offend members of religious or ethnic groups.’’
     Today, General David Petraeus, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, warned that the church’s threat could endanger US troops in the country and Americans worldwide. Images of the burning of the holy book “would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence,’’ Petraeus wrote in an e-mail.
     Press Secretary of the Pentagon, Geoff Morrell's response to Jones' plan:

     Jones' response to the U.S. military's condemnation of the Quran burning.

Montana Tea Party President Fired for Violent, Homophobic Web Post about Matthew Shepherd's Murder

     Surprising news out of Montana this morning concerning the violently homophobic comment concerning Matthew Shepherd's death made by the Big Sky Tea Party Association's president.

     The Great Falls Tribune reports:
     The Big Sky Tea Party Association removed its president, Tim Ravndal, after inflammatory comments from his Facebook page surfaced in national blogs and local media. In a press release, Board Chair Jim Walker of the Tea Party group based out of Helena, called Ravndal's comments "unacceptable," and said that the group learned about them Saturday, when an article about the comments was published in the Tribune... The association's board of directors met the day after the article was published and voted to remove Ravndal from the group's leadership and from its general membership. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Montana Tea Party President Jokes about Matthew Shepherd's Murder, Inspires Terror

     Those in the Tea Party and on the Right generally fight hate crimes legislation.  Despite their efforts, Congress passed the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  President Obama signed it into law in October.   

     Because he was black, James Byrd, Jr. was tied to truck by white supremacists and dragged until his arm and head were ripped off.    Because he was gay, Matthew Shepherd was pistol-whipped, tortured, and then hung upon a rural Wyoming fence (Where did his murders get the idea to hang him on something?) where he remained for eighteen hours.  He was discovered in a coma and died days later.  

     Here is the disgusting face of the hatred that is pumping through the heart of the nearly monochromatic Christian Tea Party:

     Tim Ravndal, the President of Montana's Big Sky Tea Party Association, expressed his views that marriage should be between a man and a woman in a Facebook posting. The post was in response to an ACLU lawsuit in Montana brought by seven gay couples who want to get married.
     Then Ravndal expressed support for a commenter who (in apparent reference to the Matthew Shepard murder) said, "I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions."
     Answered Ravndal: "Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?" 
     This may be their free speech, but to every LGBT person in the nation, these threatening words are not free speech, they are terrorist acts.  

     Ravndal and others in the Tea Party make these statements, not because they can, but because they want to remind those of us who are gay, transgender, black, Muslim, or immigrant, that historically, they have power on their side.  They are the masters and we their bitches.  They would hang us, if not on their walls, then on their rural fence posts.  They would drag us from vehicles.

     This is the hateful face of the Tea Party's "real America."
Image from Towleroad

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sam Harris Calls on Muslim Moderates to Speak Out against Atrocities Committed by Fundamentalists

     Here's a different perspective from what I've heard concerning the so-called "Ground Zero mosque."

     Author and Washington Post columnist Sam Harris (The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation) agrees in his essay, "Silence is Not Moderation," that the "controversy" over the Islamic center in southern Manhattan is a false one.  The building project is legal and should remain legal.  

     However, after affirming that point, Harris calls upon Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, religious leader behind the building project, and other moderate Muslim leaders to LOUDLY confront the violent and terrorist sects of Islam rather than remaining quiet.

     Here's what Harris proposes
     The true scandal here is that Muslim moderates have been so abysmally lacking in candor about the nature of their faith and so slow to disavow its genuine (and growing) pathologies--leading perfectly sane and tolerant people to worry whether Muslim moderation even exists.
     Despite his past equivocations on this issue, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf could dispel these fears in a single paragraph:
     "Like all decent people, I am horrified by much that goes on in the name of 'Islam,' and I consider it a duty of all moderate Muslims to recognize that many of the doctrines espoused in the Qur'an and hadith present some unique liabilities at this moment in history. Our traditional ideas about martyrdom, jihad, blasphemy, apostasy, and the status of women must be abandoned, as they are proving disastrous in the 21st century. Many of Islam's critics have fully justified concerns about the state of discourse in parts of the Muslim world--where it is a tissue of conspiracy theories, genocidal ravings regarding the Jews, and the most abject, triumphalist fantasies about conquering the world for the glory of Allah. While the scriptures of Judaism and Christianity also contain terrible passages, it has been many centuries since they truly informed the mainstream faith. Hence, we do not tend to see vast numbers of Jews and Christians calling for the murder of apostates today. This is not true of Islam, and there is simply no honest way of denying this shocking disparity. We are members of a faith community that appears more concerned about harmless cartoons than about the daily atrocities committed in its name--and no one suffers from this stupidity and barbarism more than our fellow Muslims. Islam must grow up. And Muslim moderates like ourselves must be the first to defend the rights of novelists, cartoonists, and public intellectuals to criticize all religious faiths, including our own."
     These are the sorts of sentiments that should be the litmus test for Muslim moderation. Find an imam who will speak this way, and gather followers who think this way, and I'll volunteer to cut the ribbon on his mosque in lower Manhattan.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Priest-Terrorist's Bombing in Northern Ireland Covered up by Catholic Church

     While American Christians are busy calling Muslims terrorists, a police report in Northern Ireland shows that a Catholic priest was not only a murderous terrorist, but was also allowed to escape thanks to deal struck between Holy Hypocritical Mother Church and the British government.  

     How's that for respecting the "sanctity of life"?

     The British government and the Roman Catholic church colluded to cover up the suspected involvement of a priest in a 1972 bombing that killed nine people and injured 30, a new report said Tuesday.
     The Northern Ireland police ombudsman's report determined that Father James Chesney was the prime suspect in the blast in the village of Claudy, just outside of Londonderry and that the police chose not to pursue him. The Irish Republican Army has been blamed for the attack.
     ''A senior (police) officer sought the government's assistance in December 1972, through their engagement with senior figures of the Catholic Church, to 'render harmless a dangerous priest,' '' the report said.
     Despite the suspicions of authorities, the church and U.K. officials struck a deal that allowed Chesney to move to a parish in Ireland where British prosecutors lacked the jurisdiction to investigate him. Police approached the leaders apparently because of fears that arresting a cleric would inflame a tense situation...  
     The deal was struck following a meeting between Cardinal William Conway, the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland at the time, and Britain's representative in Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw, documents cited by the report said.
     Of course, the current Cardinal Sean Brady of Ireland claims that the Catholic church had nothing to do with the cover-up of Father Chesney's murderous terror attack, just like Brady had nothing to do with the cover-up of the countless child rapes perpetrated by clergy.

The lives taken by Father Chesney's terrorist attack.

Man of Color Threatened by Anti-Muslim Ground Zero Protesters

     Here's an example of the "American values" espoused by Christians on the far right, who are protesting the proposed building of an Islamic center a few blocks away from Ground Zero.  These values include intolerance, suspicion, threats of violence, racism, and hatred.  "Praise the lord and pass the ammunition," indeed.

     A man walks through the crowd at the Ground Zero protest and is mistaken as a Muslim. The crowd turns on him and confronts him. The man in the blue hard hat calls him a coward and tries to fight him. The tall man who I think was one of the organizers tried to get between the two men. Later I caught up with the man who's name is Kenny. He is a Union carpenter who works at Ground Zero. We discussed what a scary moment that was for him. I told him that I hoped it did not ruin his day.
     The video is embedded below (also here).  After Kenny is nearly beaten up and is escorted away, the video catches numerous racist comments by folks in the crowd.  How does it honor those lost in 9/11 to espouse the zenophobic, hateful, and racist views of those that executed the attack?  

     Mainstream Christian leaders are supposedly in favor of religious freedom and tolerance.  They supposedly support the building of the mosque.  Why aren't they flooding the news media with condemnations of the Tea Party's racism and hatred?  Have they lost their prophetic balls?  
     He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord [sic] require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God [sic]?  --Micah 6:8
     Thus says the Lord [sic] of hosts: Render true judgment, and show kindness and compassion toward each other. Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the alien or the poor; do not plot evil against one another in your hearts. But they refused to listen; they stubbornly turned their backs and stopped their ears so as not to hear. And they made their hearts diamondhard so as not to hear the teaching and the message that the Lord [sic] of hosts had sent by his spirit through the former prophets. --Zechariah 7:9-12
Here is video evidence of "diamondhard" hearts. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ground Zero, Mosques, Christian Americans, the Pakistani Floods, and the Good Samaritan

     I've had it with all the so-called debate about the "Ground Zero mosque."  A small group of radical right-wing Christian Americans, who enjoy religious liberty thanks to the First Amendment, have usurped the national political debate by calling for restrictions of Muslims' religious liberty and freedom to gather and worship.  These truly un-American and McCarthy-like calls for the end of religious liberty in the "Land of the Free" are an affront to human dignity and compassion.

Image via Atlas Shrugs
     In the Christian scriptures, Jesus of Nazareth repeatedly breaks from the social and religious norms of his time in order to reach out to those on the margins (lepers, prostitutes, divorced women, adulterers, children, the ill, criminals) and to those of others faiths (Samaritans, gentiles, Romans), persons considered taboo by the Jewish religious authority of his time.  

    Christians love the parables attributed to Jesus, especially  "The Good Samaritan," which in it's time was shocking for its Jewish listeners.  In response to the question, "Who is my neighbor?"  Jesus instructs his disciples to imagine an evil Samaritan doing good to help an injured Jew after two other pious Jews have passed by leaving the injured party for dead.  This was the "surprise" twist in the parable that shocked Jesus' original Jewish listeners, who segregated themselves from anyone different and would have left an injured Samaritan for dead.  Even their religious enemies were their neighbors.
     Currently in Pakistan,  20 million human beings are in danger of dying following devastating floods. More floods are predicted.  These people happen to be Muslims living in a country where the small radical religious minority that masterminded 9/11 is possibly hiding, a religious minority that does not represent the views of the Muslim majority, but has violently bludgeoned the powerless and poverty-stricken population of Pakistan for decades.  

     Instead of helping the 20 million that have been passed by on the side of the road, we Americans have allowed the hang-ups of a tiny militant right-wing Christian minority to dominate the nation's attention, focusing it upon on the building of a mosque by Muslims, who had nothing to do with the execution of the 9/11 attacks.  Instead, the American majority is caught up in a "debate" about the validity of the First Amendment.  Those calling for the end to the building of a mosque in Manhattan and/or even the halt to the building of all mosques in the United States are committing the same crimes as their nemeses in Al-Qaeda, who restrict the religious praxis of those living under the noses of their guns.

     What a shocking twist of events it would be if the American Christian majority let go of their fear of the "evil other," the modern day Samaritan, and instead focused its dialog and resources on reaching out to the millions of Pakistanis who were robbed of their infrastructure, security and health first by Al-Qaeda, then by American invasion, and now by catastrophic flooding.

     Who are American Christians?  Are they the priest and the Levite, who were more concerned with protecting their nation's religious purity and passed by the half-dead man on the side of the road, or are they going to be the good Samaritan?

     This atheist heretic ex-Catholic-priest calls on you, the Christian majority, who have control of our nation and its wealth, to follow the example of your Jesus' good Samaritan, to "go and do likewise."  End the cycle of hatred before it's too late.

     Here is the response of an American citizen, Rudi Odeh-Ramadan, who was a 9/11 responder and happens to be Muslim.

Here is Keith Olbermann's special comment on the "Ground Zero mosque."

What we Americans are ignoring.