Showing posts with label Islam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Islam. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why Is Pat Robertson Still on TV?

It's time for the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) to follow EWTN's lead and "fire" one of its long-standing television personalities, who has lost his grip on reality.

Pat Robertson once again shows that he has no compassion for women and non-Christians.  He also displays his lack of respect for the institution of marriage, by condoning domestic violence.  His words are reprehensible.

In the video below, a viewer asks Robinson for advice on dealing with his wife, who "has become a real problem" and has "no respect" for him "as the head of the house."  Robinson's response is for her to move to Saudi Arabia so he can beat his wife.

Here's the video:

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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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.

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:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Glenn Beck's Hateful Anti-Christ Theology, Bill O'Reilly's Tide Argument, FOX "News" or the Church of Rupert Murdoch?: a "Scientific" Explanation

     Here's Rachel Maddow's report on Glenn Beck's "reporting" about the connection between President Obama, the "antichrist," and the "end times."  Even ten years ago, this religious nonsense would have been laughed off as crazy by reputable news organizations, but now it's broadcast as "news."  If you don't think they're effective, you might be shocked to discover in the embedded report that 35% of the people polled in New Jersey--not Mississippi, Idaho, Arizona or Texas, but politically diverse New Jersey--think that Obama is either the "antichrist" or don't know whether or not he is.

     What Glenn Beck and FOX are doing is not reporting.  As I listened to him, I recognized his method; I learned to structure such a presentation in seminary, in my homiletics classes.  Beck  is preaching--admittedly poorly--the religious xenophobia of fundamentalist Christians.  FOX is not a news organization, but a church.  (Let's just hope Holy Father Rupert doesn't realize this and apply for religious tax exemption.)

     In other FOX "News"/Gospel preaching, Bill O'Reilly has been arguing for the existence of his god based on what he claims is humanity's inability to explain the rise and fall of the tides and the origin of the moon and the sun.  The Huffington Post reports:
     In a video for Premium Members of his website, Bill O'Reilly doubled down on his statement that the existence of the tides is definitive evidence that God exists.  
     The Fox News host took a lot of heat for claiming that science cannot explain why the tides occur in such a regular fashion when in fact the tides are the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth.
     O'Reilly remains unimpressed:
     'Okay, how did the moon get there? How'd the moon get there? Look, you pinheads who attacked me for this, you guys are just desperate. How'd the moon get there? How'd the sun get there? How'd it get there? Can you explain that to me? How come we have that and Mars doesn't have it? Venus doesn't have it. How come? Why not? How'd it get here?'
     In fact, prevailing scientific theory is that the moon formed as the result of a massive impact with Earth; Mars has two moons; etc, etc. 
     And those who continuously say, "See it's just a scientific 'theory'!" need to learn the actual scientific meaning of the term before projecting their colloquial usage.  A scientific theory is a proven scientific hypothesis.  (We should have learned this in middle school science class or even sooner.)

     There's a great explanation of this middle-school wisdom on Wilstar.com.  Here's a clip:
     A theory is what one or more hypotheses become once they have been verified and accepted to be true. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. Unfortunately, even some scientists often use the term "theory" in a more colloquial sense, when they really mean to say "hypothesis." That makes its true meaning in science even more confusing to the general public. In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole.
     Here's the equation of the day.  Don't worry, it's easier to comprehend than E = mc2.

     Scientific Ignorance + Religious Fundamentalism = FOX "News" Hypotheses about the Tides, the Moon, and President "antichrist" Obama

Friday, January 21, 2011

Russian Orthodox Archpriest Calls for National Dress Code

     When absurdity rules...

      A top official of the increasingly powerful Russian Orthodox Church has triggered a storm of outrage by calling for a "national dress code" that would force women to dress modestly in public and require businesses to throw out "indecently" clad customers.
     Women, said Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, can't be trusted to clothe themselves properly.
     "It is wrong to think that women should decide themselves what they can wear in public places or at work," he said Tuesday. "If a woman dresses like a prostitute, her colleagues must have the right to tell her that."
     "Moreover," Archpriest Chaplin added, "if a woman dresses and acts indecently, this is a direct route to unhappiness, one-night stands, brief marriages followed by rat-like divorces, ruined lives of children, and madness."
     One could substitute any number of things for "if a woman dresses and acts indecently" in that statement and it would make more sense from what we've seen repeated throughout history.  For example, try the sentence substituting "a political career" or "celibacy" or "a nasty goatee" or "religious power" or "Christianity."  The list could go on and on.

     "Archpriest Chaplin's comments sound absurd," says Irina Shcherbakova, head of youth programs for Memorial, Russia's largest human rights organization. "Instead of dealing with real social issues – such as the rise of ethnic hatred – and teaching tolerance, they busy themselves with this nonsense. Most women will ignore this but, especially since Islamic religious authorities are in support, it does threaten a serious attack on women's rights."
     Chaplin's remarks have not generated the groundswell of public fury that would erupt in a Western country, but that doesn't mean it's likely to gain much public traction either, says Masha Lipman, editor of the Moscow Carnegie Center's Pro et Contra journal.
     "The average Russian woman will just shrug this off and regard it as having nothing to do with her life," she says. "In post-Soviet times the church has enjoyed much more success at winning concessions from the state than it has in winning souls.... Polls show that the majority of Russians respect the church as a traditional institution but not as a moral authority over their lives."
     Though Russians have for centuries been told what to do and how to behave by clerical and state authorities, Ms. Lipman argues that those days are past.
     "One big difference between today's Russia and the USSR is that, though the state is politically authoritarian, it no longer attempts to interfere in peoples' private lives," and it's not likely to empower the church to do so either, she says.
     If only the United States, the greatest nation on earth, where all are supposedly created equal, could practice such separation of church and state. 

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 16, 2010

Republican Carl Paladino Is Not "Intimidatable" & Is Anti-Religious Freedom, Anti-Gay, and Anti-Women's Rights

     Republican gubernatorial nominee for New York, Carl Paladino, won Tuesday's nomination in a landslide.  He's running on the promise that  he will seize the land on which Parc51 (Islamic center two blocks away from Ground Zero) is to open.  It also sounds like he's also setting up an eminent domain argument that could lead to the closure of the two mosques that already exist within blocks of Ground Zero or any other place of worship that he deems unfit.  So much for religious liberty and freedom of worship.
Image via Towleroad
     He is against equal civil marriage rights for same sex couples.  When asked about these rights, he responded, "No."

     He is against women's reproductive rights and believes that women who are raped, even in cases of incest, should be forced to have their perpetrators' babies.

     This is the Republican Party of 2010.  These radical Christian extremists are no longer teabaggers or Tea Party candidates.  These extremists, who thrive on hatred and fear, have won a huge number of Republican nominations for office across the nation.

     The language being used this election season is chilling.  Paladino promises to "take out a culture, to bring that culture down once and for all" and then equates people who have different political beliefs as him as "demons."  This sounds like an inquisition or a lead into some sort of cultural cleansing.

     Here's the larger "take out a culture" quote from Paladino on CNN:
     We put out a clear definitive message of who we are and what we intend to do...I'm going to Albany to take out a government, to take out a culture, to bring that culture down once and for all, and to restore a government of right size, to tend to the issues and desires of the tax payers, who pay for that government. (Mumbles)  In doing that, I've illustrated, I believe in intestinal fortitude to take on the demons.  I'm not afraid.  I'm not intimidatable [sic].  I'm certainly not politically correct.
     He's also at variance with the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence, for he doesn't believe that all people are created equal and deserve equal protection under the law.  Nor does he believe in religious liberty and the separation of church and state.  If he wins, New York is in for a very dark four years.

     Here's the entire CNN clip.


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.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Terrorist Terry Jones' Qu'ran Burning Is Off, Westboro Baptist's Is On, No Wait, Jones' Might Be On Again


     Yesterday, the Telegraph reported:
     The US pastor who planned an ''International Burn-a-Koran Day'' on September 11 has called off the protest after his plans were widely condemned. President Barack Obama , Tony Blair and William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, was among those who condemned Pastor Terry Jones, who leads a tiny Florida church, describing his plan as ''selfish and provocative in the extreme''.
     Hooray for the triumph of reason and civility!  But wait...

     Shortly thereafter, The Gainesville Sun reported:
     Westboro Baptist Church, the small Topeka, Kan., church that pickets funerals of American soldiers to spread its message that God is punishing the country for being tolerant of homosexuals, has vowed to hold a Quran burning if Gainesville's Dove World Outreach Center calls its off.
     "WBC burned the Koran once – and if you sissy brats of Doomed america bully Terry Jones and the Dove World Outreach Center until they change their plans to burn that blasphemous tripe called the Koran, then WBC will burn it (again), to clearly show you some things," the church announced in a news release this week.
     But wait!  The most recent news out of Florida is that Jones' burning might be back on.  Because--get this--good Christian Terry Jones is now claiming that Imam Musri lied to him in the meeting yesterday.  That's original: white Christian male claims that brown non-Christian is a liar.

     Here the report from CMN:
     Imam Muhammad Musri says that Jones told him the event would be canceled because it poses a threat to US Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Jones said he canceled the event because Musri [who has no jurisdiction over the mosque] had agreed to move the mosque. Jones and Musri are scheduled to meet, but the heated arguments between the two men may continue.  Based on “lies” Jones believed were told to him by the Imam, he said that his group is forced to “rethink” their cancellation of the Qu’ran burning. Instead, the event is only “suspended.”
     This situation is insane.

     That the freedom of worship in the United States and the safety of Americans and Afghans are being held hostage by a fundamentalist Christian's bigoted plan to burn the Qu'ran is repulsive.

     Terry Jones' actions and words are putting the lives of people at risk for the sake of his bigotry.  He's inciting riots and violence in the Muslim world.  He's inviting violence against U.S. troops, citizens, and allies.  Jones' personal holy war on Islam, includes theocracies as well as terrorist groups that may or may not have access to weapons of mass destruction that could be used against innocent people by Jones' fundamentalist Muslim counterparts.  But that's Jones' "right"?

     It sounds like terrorism to me.  

     One side uses commercial airliners.  The other side uses the media.  Both inspire terror.

     Dog bless America.
Postscript:
Here's a video report on the morning news cycle (It wouldn't embed).     
Jones can't even pronounce the title, imam, correctly.

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.  Boston.com 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.

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.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kentucky Muslims Don't Know How to Park: the Logic of Mayfield

     Islamophobia is sweeping our free nation.  Loving Christian Americans are lining up to take away Muslim American's right to freely worship.

     In Mayfield, Kentucky, home an emergency zoning meeting was called to revoke the permit that a group of Muslims had to start a mosque.  Check out the logic of the resident leading the charge against the local mosque:
     Yes, everyone in Mayfield knows that Baptists know how to park, whereas Muslims don't give a damn about parking laws.

     This is the so-called "real America" at work.  Praise Buddah!
Graphic via City-Data.com

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

U.S. Soldiers Punished for Not Attending Christian Rock Concert

     How's this for separation of church and state?  The Associated Press reports:
     The Army said Friday it was investigating a claim that dozens of soldiers who refused to attend a Christian band's concert at a Virginia military base were banished to their barracks and told to clean them up.
     Fort Eustis spokesman Rick Haverinen told The Associated Press he couldn't comment on the specifics of the investigation. At the Pentagon, Army spokesman Col. Thomas Collins said the military shouldn't impose religious views on soldiers.  "If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy," Collins said.
     Pvt. Anthony Smith said he and other soldiers felt pressured to attend the May concert while stationed at the Newport News base, home of the Army's Transportation Corps.  "My whole issue was I don't need to be preached at," Smith said in a phone interview from Phoenix, where he is stationed with the National Guard. "That's not what I signed up for."
     Smith, 21, was stationed in Virginia for nearly seven months for helicopter electrician training when the Christian rock group BarlowGirl played as part of the "Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts."
     Smith said a staff sergeant told 200 men in their barracks they could either attend or remain in their barracks. Eighty to 100 decided not to attend, he said.  "Instead of being released to our personal time, we were locked down," Smith said. "It seemed very much like a punishment."
Photo via SayNow BLOG 
     According to BarlowGirl's website:
     BarlowGirl has always represented an interesting dichotomy; tender-hearted, beautiful young women who aren’t afraid to take an aggressive, almost warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel and serving God. That fiery obedience reverberates throughout their latest release, Love & War.  “There’s just an urgency to this album,” says Alyssa Barlow. “We’ve always wanted to raise the banner and to really let people know who God is, what He’s doing and how He’s moving.
     In spite of their "warrior-like stance when it comes to spreading the gospel," BarlowGirl disagreed with the army commander's freedom of religion violation.  Here's the holy hair band's response, as reported by Truth-Out:
     Barlow Girl band member Lauren Barlow said if she and the other members of the group knew soldiers were being forced to attend the concert and were then punished for refusing to attend "we would have said something."
     "That's horrible," Barlow tweeted in response to the revelations first published Thursday by MRFF's head researcher, Chris Rodda. "We never knew that. We thought they had a choice. If we would have known we would have said something."
     A number of the soldiers, who refused to follow orders and attend the Christian rock concert, were Muslims.  There is no word on whether they were required to attend a protest at the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" with their militant Christian superiors the next day.

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.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New York Post Claims Obama Blessed Ground Zero Mosque

     The New York Post has a big fat religious lie printed in its headlines this morning: "Obama Blesses Ground Zero Mosque," "Allah Right by Me," and "Obama Gives Blessing to Ground Zero Mosque."
Image from Joe.My.God

     This is a lie.  President Obama did not bless a mosque.  He's neither a priest, rabbi, nor an imam.  He merely put the "controversy" over the building of a mosque in lower Manhattan into its historical, legal, and actual context, challenging the hateful stereotypes that all Muslims are terrorists and want to destroy America.  

     What about the right-wing Christians that want to impinge upon the religious liberties of others?  Are they not destroying the "American" and "family" values on which our nation was founded, a nation where each individual has the inalienable right to practice the religion of her/his choice or none at all?

     Here are some excerpts from President Obama's remarks concerning the building of a mosque near ground zero. No where in the full text, which ironically you can read in the New York Post (linked here), does President Obama "bless" the lower Manhattan mosque.
     Our founders understood that the best way to honor the place of faith in the lives of our people was to protect their freedom to practice religion. In the Virginia Act of Establishing Religion Freedom, Thomas Jefferson wrote that “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.” The First Amendment of our Constitution established the freedom of religion as the law of the land. And that right has been upheld ever since.
     Indeed, over the course of our history, religion has flourished within our borders precisely because Americans have had the right to worship as they choose — including the right to believe in no religion at all.
     As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the founders must endure.
     Our capacity to show not merely tolerance, but respect towards those who are different from us — and that way of life, that quintessentially American creed, stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us on that September morning, and who continue to plot against us today.

     (Now if President Obama would only see the plank in his own eye, as he continues to impose his version of Christian belief upon the rights of LGBT Americans.)