Sunday, November 09, 2008


Looking out through a new pair of glasses

Years ago, a famous member of Alcoholics Anonymous, Chuck C., wrote a book titled "A New Pair of Glasses." It was about seeing the world from a sober viewpoint; a new way of looking at reality. I presume it's still in print (AA has never been known to rush into anything nor to let go of very's kind of a contradiction). Rumor has it that ol' Chuck helped a lot of people get sober. A sidebar is that his son, whom we'll call Richard C., a semi-famous TV actor, happens to be gay. Chuck didn't like gay people (what he apparently really liked was groping younger women). But, as fortune would have it, many gay men flocked to Chuck C. hoping for his help in getting sober. Chuck's gone on to the great Twelve-Step Meeting in The Sky, so none of us know how he resolved his conflicts about sobriety and homosexuals...

The point of this is that since the election, a lot of people have begun looking around the country through a metaphorical new pair of glasses. Obama has won, and things look brighter than they have since the election of Jack Kennedy. It's about time, yes.

However, stupidity continues. Right: the conservatives believe Islam to be a religion of war and hate. Presumably, right-wingers believe the opposite about Christianity. Their brand of Christianity, anyhow. The truth is that any organized religion claiming a direct line to god believes other sects/belief systems/cults are crazed and wrong.

MATTI FRIEDMAN | November 9, 2008 12:06 PM EST | AP

JERUSALEM — Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity's holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus' tomb.

The clash between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks broke out in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

The brawling began during a procession of Armenian clergymen commemorating the 4th-century discovery of the cross believed to have been used to crucify Jesus.

The Greeks objected to the march without one of their monks present, fearing that otherwise, the procession would subvert their own claim to the Edicule _ the ancient structure built on what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus _ and give the Armenians a claim to the site.

The Armenians refused, and when they tried to march the Greek Orthodox monks blocked their way, sparking the brawl.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were forced to intervene after fighting was reported. They arrested two monks, one from each side, he said.

A bearded Armenian monk in a red-and-pink robe and a black-clad Greek Orthodox monk with a bloody gash on his forehead were both taken away in handcuffs after scuffling with dozens of riot police.

Six Christian sects divide control of the ancient church. They regularly fight over turf and influence, and Israeli police are occasionally forced to intervene.
Story continues below

"We were keeping resistance so that the procession could not pass through ... and establish a right that they don't have," said a young Greek Orthodox monk with a cut next to his left eye.

The monk, who gave his name as Serafim, said he sustained the wound when an Armenian punched him from behind and broke his glasses.

Father Pakrat of the Armenian Patriarchate said the Greek demand was "against the status quo arrangement and against the internal arrangement of the Holy Sepulcher." He said the Greeks attacked first.

Archbishop Aristarchos, the chief secretary of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate, denied his monks initiated the violence.

After the brawl, the church was crowded with Israeli riot police holding assault rifles, standing beside Golgotha, where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, and the long smooth stone marking the place where tradition holds his body was laid out.

The feud is only one of a bewildering array of rivalries among churchmen in the Holy Sepulcher.

The Israeli government has long wanted to build a fire exit in the church, which regularly fills with thousands of pilgrims and has only one main door, but the sects cannot agree where the exit will be built.

A ladder placed on a ledge over the entrance sometime in the 19th century has remained there ever since because of a dispute over who has the authority to take it down.

More recently, a spat between Ethiopian and Coptic Christians is delaying badly needed renovations to a rooftop monastery that engineers say could collapse.

Islam? A religion of war and hate? Those silly righties. I mean, where the heck do they come up with this stuff???

Cindy Wockner and Gareth Trickey |
Herald Sun | November 11, 2008

EXECUTED Bali bomber Imam Samudra has urged from the grave that his Muslim brothers should educate their children and grandchildren to become terrorists and killers of "kaffirs" (non-Muslims).

The chilling words are from the last will of Samudra, released in his home village in West Java where he was buried in a furious frenzy at the weekend.

Lacking any remorse or guilt, Samudra urged his fellow Muslims to fill their lives with the murder of non-believers, saying the title of terrorist was holier than that of Ulama or Muslim scholar.

He says: "For you who have committed yourself to fight against kaffir dogs, remember the war is not over."

He calls on others to fill their lives with murder of non-Muslims.

"Isn't it Allah who has ordered us to kill them all, just like they have killed us and our family? Have a desire to become the slaughterer of kaffir people. Educate your children and grandchildren to become terrorists and slaughterers of all Kaffir people."
More so than christianity? I mean, we have had god on our side through the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Conquest, the wars against Indians, Mexicans, Spaniards, Filipinos, and so on and so forth ad nauseam. Hell, christianity is one of the bloodiest, most mean-spirited and self-righteous religions there is.

Read some history and then come back and we can discuss this.
More so than christianity? I mean, we have had god on our side through the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Conquest, the wars against Indians, Mexicans, Spaniards, Filipinos, and so on and so forth ad nauseam. Hell, christianity is one of the bloodiest, most mean-spirited and self-righteous religions there is.

Read some history and then come back and we can discuss this.
I guess I'm not catching the drift of your moral equivalency here. Because Christianity has had it's share of blood on it's hands over the past millenia, that means that Islam ISN'T a religion of violence and war?
I'm not here to 'go to bat' for Christianity. I'm not part of any religious organization. But I do take notice when someone wants me dead in the here and now. Now, go read the Quaran and the Hadith and come back when we can discuss this....
Muslims consider Jews and Christians to be "People of the Book," that is the same book is at the base of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Even during the Muslim occupation of Spain, the three religions co-existed, as they've done in the Middle East since Islam started. During the Crusades things got bloody, but it was the christians who really got into the idea of offing "non-believers," and from the hatred I've seen floating around Amerika, it seems like that blood-lust is still part of our euro-christian character.
You are correct in your assertion that the Quaran refers to Christians and Jews as 'People of the Book'. The implication being that Allah is the same god as Yahweh, and handed down the scripture of all three religions. However, this does not imply any sense of brotherhood with those people. For example:

Quaran 3:71 O people of the Book, why do you mix the false with the true, and hide the truth knowingly?

Quaran 5:51 O believers, do not hold Jews and Christians as your allies. They are allies of one another; and anyone who makes them his friends is surely one of them; and God does not guide the unjust.

To your second point, one must remember that the Crusades were launched in response to the Islamic people conquering large parts of the (Christian) Byzantine Empire. And they were certainly not doing so by going door to door with pamphlets. Both sides got plenty dirty with the killings, and things escalated as they went along.
Was the Byzantine Empire some sort of voluntary co-op? Like the Roman Empire? Refresh my mind. Hell, the euro-christians waged war on the Byzantines, too.

I'm a documented Protestant; what did the 16th and 17th century Catholics do to people like me? For that matter what did Martin Luther suggest doing to Jews? What did all the Christian countries do to Jews? What did they do to American Indians?

Quit pretending Islam is a major threat to world peace. Like I said, read your history.
You keep bringing up the crimes of Christianity ca. 900-1600 AD. These are issues that you'll have to resolve for yourself. And while I agree that these crimes were very real, they just do not affect me much today. I just don't leave the house thinking 'Damn, I sure hope the Vatican doesn't nuke anybody' or 'Gee, I sure hope some fanatic Christian doesn't saw my head off with a knife while his friends film the deed.' If these things were a real concern to me, I'd be on-board with declaring Christianity a threat to world peace as well.

You keep telling me to read my history as if this will suddenly turn my world-view upside down. Rest assured that I've read plenty of history. And while I can't really help you with your thousand-year-old grievances about Christianity, perhaps you should start reading some news to get a look at the current state of Islam.

Failing that, try reading some of the history you keep suggesting. Start with how Mohammed founded Islam in the first place. Gee, that sure involved a lot of blood. Continue with the slaughter which ensued after his death. And on, and on, and on...
The constant seems to be that each religion thinks that god speaks only to itself and not to any others. That's where Bob Dylan got the "with god on our side," reference. We got god on our side, therefore god isn't on their side. What if god isn't on anyone's side? What if god isn't?

Part of war-making is to denounce the other side as out to get us. You know, like Bush did with Iraq, Georgia with Russia, Germany with France. Since we have god on our side, ipso facto those guys are godless murderous assholes out for blood. We're not, of course. God's on our side...

Stop listening to your preachers.
My preachers? You must not have read the part where I already told you that I'm not involved with any religious organization.

However, not being involved with a religion does not mean being ignorant of them. My opinion of Islam was formed by research, history, and current events. I encourage you to try that rather than the standard approach of 'Oh yeah??? Well xxxxx are even WORSE than they are!!!!' where xxxxx can be Christians, Jews, Hindus, whites, Americans, Republicans, or any other group you have a grudge with. - The Christian Science Monitor Online
from the September 19, 2001 edition -
Europe cringes at Bush 'crusade' against terrorists
By Peter Ford | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
PARIS - As Europeans wait to see how the United States is planning to retaliate for last week's attacks on Washington and New York, there is growing anxiety here about the tone of American war rhetoric.

President Bush's reference to a "crusade" against terrorism, which passed almost unnoticed by Americans, rang alarm bells in Europe. It raised fears that the terrorist attacks could spark a 'clash of civilizations' between Christians and Muslims, sowing fresh winds of hatred and mistrust.

"We have to avoid a clash of civilizations at all costs," French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine said on Sunday. "One has to avoid falling into this huge trap, this monstrous trap" which he said had been "conceived by the instigators of the assault."

On Sunday, Bush warned Americans that "this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take awhile." He and other US officials have said that renegade Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden is the most likely suspect in the attacks.

His use of the word "crusade," said Soheib Bensheikh, Grand Mufti of the mosque in Marseille, France, "was most unfortunate", "It recalled the barbarous and unjust military operations against the Muslim world," by Christian knights, who launched repeated attempts to capture Jerusalem over the course of several hundred years.

Bush sought to calm American Muslims' fears of a backlash against them on Monday by appearing at an Islamic center in Washington. There he assured Americans that "the face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about."

But his earlier comments, declaring a war between good and evil, shocked Europeans. "If this 'war' takes a form that affronts moderate Arab opinion, if it has the air of a clash of civilizations, there is a strong risk that it will contribute to Osama bin Laden's goal: a conflict between the Arab-Muslim world and the West," warned the Paris daily Le Monde on Tuesday in an editorial.

"Bush is walking a fine line," suggested Dominique Moisi, a political analyst with the French Institute for International Relations, the country's top foreign policy think tank. "The same black and white language he uses to rally Americans behind him is just the sort of language that risks splitting the international coalition he is trying to build.

"This confusion between politics and religion...risks encouraging a clash of civilizations in a religious sense, which is very dangerous," he added.

While almost every world leader agrees with Washington that the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center were evil, not all of those leaders - especially in the Middle East - identify the United States with good.
It is their support for Washington's war that could be undermined by the sort of language on the president's lips, warns Hussein Amin, a former Egyptian ambassador who now lectures on international affairs. "The whole tone is that of one civilization against another," he finds. "It is a superior way of speaking and I fear the consequences - the world being divided into two between those who think themselves superior" and the rest.

'Nuff said.
Ohhh! So your whole point had been that our president is an idiot! Well that makes things a lot simpler. I AGREE!!!
Well, that—and you're paranoid. But, hey, even paranoids have people out to get them....
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?