Thursday, March 10, 2011

Let's get thumping...

I generally don’t get religious or quote the Bible. But whatever.

I may now live in Turkey, after having lived for long years in Japan and studied both Buddhism and Sufism and become somewhat California New Agey on the outside, but as a kid I was full on Southern Baptist Evangelical—casting out demons in church, going to revivals, preparing for the Rapture—the whole shebang—and I don’t look down on it now, it’s a legitimate side of the religious impulse. And so I am kind of a religious oreo cookie—with one side Eastern religious, one side skeptical of everything but all with warm gooey Pentecostal center left over from earlier years that you’re going to hit if you bite into me too far. So when people use the name ‘Jesus’ to attack others and then respond to people who call them on it as simply atheist liberals who don’t understand, I’ve got to open up my cookie and smear the white stuff in their faces.

On the Daily Show last night, there was a bit about the new committee set up by New York Senator Peter King to investigate US Muslims in connection with their failure to fight terrorism in the United States and the suppsed ‘growing radicalism’ of Muslims back home. In the lead up to the skit, it shows footage of people throwing metal crosses at Muslims in the street, of an old man praying in New York and being shouted down by people with flags shrieking ‘JESUS! JESUS! JESUS!’ And finally, there is a scene of women going to a shelter for abused wives and girlfriends. They pass huddled together under an overpass filled with demonstrators all bearing American flags and shrieking ‘Go Home Now! Go Home Now!’

The first thing I felt was a decent human fear for their safety. The second, and much more powerful feeling was shame. I teach Muslims in Turkey. Many of my best friends are Muslims. My future wife and her whole family are Muslims. And this is the kind of nasty, violent, fanatical behavior that represents my country and my culture and my people and their attitude toward Islam. God I hope that they are in the minority, but they represent whether they should or not, because they bore flags. They threw crosses. They used the symbols. And they were filmed. And not enough public people seem to speaking out.

They used crosses.

So here goes.

‘Blessed are the meek,’ He said. ‘For they shall inherit the earth.’ That is the most obvious line that comes to mind (and since everyone knows this line in the States—Christian or not, it should be kind of a foundation idea for Christian belief). ‘Meek’ means ‘humbly patient, submissive, kind’ according to Websters. The people in these videos are attacking the meek. Attacking a group of battered women? An old man alone on the street? And in the name of Christ! Christ who said ‘You have heard it said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill, and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgement: But I say to you that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement.’ That means that anger and hatred are sins in the family of murder. And He also said, ‘Ye have heard it said, Thou shalt love thy neighbors and hate thine enemy. But I say to you, love you enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which spite you that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good.’

As for the so-called Christians bellowing ‘Jesus’ at the man trying to pray, the real Jesus said ‘If you salute your brothers only, what do ye more than others? Do not even sinners do so?’ The Jesus you say you worship spoke most about love, compassion, mercy, and tolerance. He railed against the hypocrites who claimed to be religious men but tortured and tormented in the name of their faith and law—‘Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widow’s houses and for a show make long prayers, therefore ye shall receive greater damnation.’ You don’t worship the man who said all these things. You worship his enemy. You worship demons and sin and Satan and you carry the cross to do the Devil’s work which, in my mind, makes you beyond all hope.


Anonymous said...

You'd think I wouldn't be surprised by this by now. But my mouth fell open after watching this.

Scary... more so day after day.

Anonymous said...

Also, one of the reps (Ellison) had a very sad-to-see-but-important-to-watch speech in the hearings today. It's all over the news (at least on msnbc and CNN).