WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
I wanted to post something about the Cartoon issue gripping or should I say dividing the current Philosophies of the world. (These Philosophies or religions may differ, but one thing they have in common is INTOLERANCE of one another.)
I am a true believer of laisser-faire or noninterference in the affairs of others, unless of course the "affairs of others" are harming those of us outside or, for that matter, inside their "affair circle".
In my opinion, the Evangelicals can lock their minds up with whatever they deem important enough to stop them from thinking and so can all the other dogmatic belief systems who wish to stroll outside a common sense realm.
But when they insist on pushing their beliefs (proselytizing) on others, in order to give their fictitious certainty a credibility, that to me, constitutes spreading something injurious throughout the kingdom of mortals and is quite appalling.
Hitler did it during his Nazi rein of terror, no laisser-faire in "The FatherLand" at that time... In fact the opposite was the rule during those dark days. If you did not, without any doubt, once-and-for-ever, embrace the Nazi Creed you were tortured and put to death as a subversive, saboteur or traitor or YIKES, an imbecile without value and too grotesque to draw breath. A sure-fire method of turning the masses into one big loaf of mush-bread.
I feel as though, all religions started out to be something worthy and good. Something we panic driven, too intelligent for our own good, mortals, needed in order to perpetuate our species.
Just imagine how frightening the world must have been some ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND years ago, (give or take a few thousand years...) at the time when we had evolved to the point of reason. There were violent storms, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, large and small predatory animals just to name a few threatening, catastrophic calamities that were part of this planet's composition. Any one of these events could have entirely eliminated our pathetic hairless bodies from ever going forth on the evolutionary path we were destined or "DNA'ed" to travel.
Religion helped people feel there was something higher than themselves to keep all the disastrous boogiemen away. But we mortals started to project our own perceptions into these omnipotent Gods and believed these rulers of the universe wanted something back from us, THE WEAK ONES, they were protecting and (forgive the pun) GOD FORBID, WE STARTED THE HUMAN SACRIFICE OF SMALL CHILDREN AND YOUNG WOMEN OR MEN... oh how we Earthlings can screw things up!
This belief in Gods of all sorts, Sun, Moon, Rain, Thunder, et al., probably helped us stay in groups, therefore making us feel stronger and more protective of our young. A necessary tool to help us in our evolutionary course. But with greed making up a large portion of our inborn pattern of behavior, we took religion and turned it from a protective instrument into a means of procuring wealth and power for those who could act like they were the chosen ones, most favored by a God. (much like George W. Bush, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and the like.)
That is why religion should not be allowed to take over one's thought processing and definitely one should not hand over his mind on a silver platter to anyone proclaiming THEY KNOW ALL THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT GOD AND LIFE BECAUSE GOD TOLD THEM SO... Anyone touting this should be seen as exactly what they are... A braggart, showoff, blowhard, boaster, peacock, swaggerer, windbag, braggadocio, and a gasbag!!! They know...NO MORE THEN ANY OF US about this mystery we call life and should be referred to as just another impostor, phony, charlatan, deceiver, dissembler, fake, fraud, humbug, pretender or quack.
But I've digressed, from what I wanted this post to be about and that is the unadulterated insanity provoked by the Cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in an all too unflattering light. This is a very choleric topic and has to be handled with kid gloves (for reasons I do not fully understand). If The Prophet Mohammed was alive today, he would be quite agonized by this display of rage and mayhem over some ink doodling on a paper. So would Jesus, so would Buddha, so would Confucius and Gandhi and Martin Luther King. All of history's wonderful altruistic homo Sapiens who once made a presence upon this wonderful Planet Earth and walked amongst the ignorants as a caring empathetic, deeply concerned Leader of his fellow human beings, trying to bring enlightenment their way. They would be quite perplexed by this mass outrage over satire. There are so many cruel and inhuman episodes perpetrated by humans on humans, why not pick one of the many thousands of injustices to, not only have a tantrum over but demand an end to it... like maybe GREED itself?
Perhaps, if we would all remember a simple little old time adage, one my Mother use to say when I would come home crying after being made fun of because of the way I looked or my clothing, or my words, or my appearance, or my family, or my house, or what I believed in, or what I didn't believe in, or my WHATEVER, by a cruel child or a "mob mentality" group of children or an unthinking adult. She would look down at me and say "STICKS AND STONES CAN HURT YOUR BONES BUT NAMES WILL NEVER HURT YOU." and then say, "Don't allow others to injure you with words, by reacting to them. Ignore those who try to make you feel bad with insults or name calling and they will get very bored because their purpose was to make you sad for whatever selfish reason they may have had. You'll be the winner if you do."
WORDS OR SATIRICAL CARTOONS CAN NEVER HURT YOU! I believe, that if the leaders of all the religions would simply suggest that to their followers there would be peace amongst us.
I wished it was that simple. It could be, if only all the people of the world could realize, they are all in the same boat, heading for the same unknown destination or shipwreck...
WHY...?, as Rodney King once said, "WHY CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?"
I wanted to post the right article to speak about this insanity and I found it in the most unlikely place. I happened to pick up a section from my local, mostly filled with unimportant trivia, newspaper and THERE IT WAS HITTING ME WITH BOTH FISTS... Please read the article below for a little bit of understanding about the world and its madness. thinkingblue
laissez faire also laisser faire n. 1. An economic doctrine that opposes governmental regulation of or interference in commerce beyond the minimum necessary for a free-enterprise system to operate according to its own economic laws. 2. Noninterference in the affairs of others. [French : laissez, second person pl. imperative of laisser, to let, allow + faire, to
dogmatic Characterized by an authoritative, arrogant assertion of unproved or unprovable principles.
sacrifice n. 1.a. The act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage, especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or a person.
Also visit THE FREEDOM FILES
Cartoons draw line between West, Islam
Opinion: The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.
It is hard to imagine that 12 editorial cartoons in a Danish newspaper could lead to worldwide rioting and death. What began as a test of the degree to which Muslim fundamentalism had imposed self-censorship on Danish newspapers has blown up into a full-scale confrontation between Western and Islamic values.
Too easily, some in the West are conceding that the principles that have upheld our civilization for more than 400 years are no longer worth defending against those who would stamp them out.
In September, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten commissioned cartoonists to produce satirical representations of the prophet Mohammed, on whose teachings Islam is based. The paper's editors were exploring whether fear of Muslim fundamentalism was watering down European traditions of free expression and free inquiry. Some of the drawings are simple caricatures, one shows Mohammed with a bomb wrapped in his turban.
The publication initially prompted small-scale protests by Danish Muslims. Protesters argue that any depiction of Mohammed amounts to blasphemy and is an unendurable insult to Islam. In fact, there is a long history in both Western and Islamic art of portrayals of the prophet.
The drawings have since set off a storm of rioting, destruction and death threats in the Muslim world that expanded recently when they were reproduced by other European and American publications as a statement of solidarity. The Danish and Norwegian embassies in Syria have been burned. Those nations' embassies in Tehran, Iran, have been fire-bombed. Protesters have attacked NATO peacekeepers in Afghanistan; at least four are dead. Marchers in London carried signs reading, "Butcher those who mock Islam." Death threats have been issued against Europeans in the Middle East.
In this showdown between the Enlightenment value of free expression and the religious dogmatism that currently dominates the Islamic world, one would think Western political leaders would know where to stand. Sadly, many do not.
Former President Bill Clinton and the Bush administration's State Department have condemned publication of the cartoons, as have some European leaders. Others have stood firm in defense of freedom. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said he cannot issue a government apology for the actions of an independent newspaper.
Western tradition upholds many freedoms. Among them are freedom of expression and freedom of religion. There is no guarantee of freedom from perceived offenses, as much as our politically correct culture would like to create one. Nor can there be. Guaranteeing freedom from offense would require undermining the freedom of thought and expression we hold dear. People of faith in the West endure offenses to their sensibilities every day. We see a crucifix in urine and a dung-smeared statue of Mary hailed as art. Movies, television and books insist that faith is an evil thing, its practitioners to be shunned.
Free societies welcome peaceful protest as an acceptable response to these slights. Boycotts and angry letters to newspapers are respectable reactions. Violence, destruction and death threats are not tolerated.
Muslims say they are offended by the Mohammed cartoons. They are outraged. Where is Muslim outrage at the atrocities committed in the name of their faith? We are assured moderate Muslims are horrified at the World Trade Center attacks, the Madrid train bombings, the London subway bombings, the French rioting, the murder of Russian schoolchildren. Surely these things do outrage moderate Muslims. But their voices are drowned out by those who sing their praises.
Whether we care to admit it, there is a conflict between our cultures. As with any conflict, there is a point beyond which no compromise can be made, no quarter given. Here, free societies must make their stand. We cannot allow our basic values of free inquiry, free expression and free thought to be trampled under the feet of a bomb-throwing mob insisting on one definition of faith, one law for all humanity.
To do so is to throw away willingly all that so many have fought and died to maintain.
The Cartoon Bomb [from the February 27, 2006 issue]
Over the past few weeks, Europe and the Muslim world have faced increasing protests, marked in parts of the Arab world by arson, death threats and the killing of demonstrators. The catalyst is not Americans torturing detainees in an Iraqi prison, or an Israeli assault on a Palestinian town, or Western threats against Iran over its nuclear program. It is a series of cartoons, including images of the Prophet Muhammad, published in a Danish newspaper. But it is no laughing matter.
The crisis began simmering after the cartoons were published on September 30 by the right-wing daily Jyllands-Posten. Even leaving aside the Islamic stricture against visual representations of the Prophet, it is not surprising that the cartoons offended Denmark's Muslim minority--not to mention many Danes who respect their Muslim neighbors. In one cartoon Muhammad's turban is a bomb; in another a turbaned figure in heaven implores a group of suicide bombers to stop because "we ran out of virgins!" Muslim clerics in Copenhagen denounced the cartoons in their sermons, demonstrations were organized to demand an apology and ambassadors from Muslim countries requested meetings with officials. Denmark's prime minister defended the paper's right to publish the cartoons on free-speech grounds and refused to meet with Danish Muslims or Muslim ambassadors.
By late January Danish embassies throughout the Middle East were attracting angry crowds. In a show of solidarity with Jyllands-Posten, newspapers throughout Europe ran the cartoons, detonating even more furious reactions, from rioting and arson in Beirut and Kabul to an Iranian newspaper's Holocaust cartoon contest. What had begun as a local affair had developed into a seeming showdown between Europe (portrayed as either liberal and tolerant or anti-Muslim and neocolonialist) and Islam (portrayed as either victimized and proud or backward and repressive)--a cardboard "clash of civilizations" deeply gratifying to the right-wing Europeans and radical Islamists who had fanned the flames of Copenhagen.
It mattered little that the attacks were roundly condemned by moderate Muslims like scholar Tariq Ramadan, who, writing in the Guardian, deplored the recklessness of governments that seized upon the cartoons to "bolster their Islamic legitimacy in the eyes of the public," or that liberal European journalists like Neal Ascherson pilloried Jyllands-Posten for inflaming Muslim sensitivities. Thanks to an unholy convergence of actions by a right-wing newspaper and radical Muslims--helped along by a cynical prime minister and European newspapers that misleadingly treated the matter as simply a contest over free speech--the Danish cartoon scandal has exploded into an international crisis.
There is, to be sure, no moral equivalence between the attacks on Danish embassies and the publication (or republication) of a cartoon, however offensive. Cartoons specialize in overstatement, but while they may give--intend to give--offense, they cause no casualties. It is, moreover, contradictory to condemn anti-Muslim bigotry while publishing anti-Semitic calumnies like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (regularly featured in the Arabic media).
This magazine has historically been committed to freedom of speech, an essential principle that democratic societies have established over years of struggle, and we remain vigilant in its defense. Given attacks over the years from within our own constituency on cartoons by such esteemed Nation artists as Edward Sorel, David Levine and Robert Grossman, we at The Nation know as well as anyone their power to inflame emotions. Defending free speech means defending the rights of those with whom we disagree most profoundly, whether they are cartoonists who would have us believe that Muhammad is the forefather of today's suicide bombers, marchers who argue that "blasphemy" is not covered by freedom of speech or Holocaust revisionists on trial in Europe, where some speech is not protected.
The cartoon scandal is about much more than freedom of speech. At its heart the controversy is about power--the power of images; the power that divides Muslim and non-Muslim Europeans, the West and the Middle East; the power of radical Islamists to silence more moderate voices--and the responsibility that comes with power. In today's volatile political climate--charged by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, by Israel's construction of the "separation wall" in Palestine, by the controversy over the hijab and the revolt in the French banlieues, by the growth of anti-immigration politics and radical Islam in "liberal" Europe and by the velocity with which news and rumor travel on the Internet--the point is not Jyllands-Posten's right to publish but its editorial wisdom, its sense of civic responsibility.
But whether or not the publishing of the cartoons was a reckless provocation, and whether or not the violent response was manipulated by Islamists, we must come to terms with the conditions that created the tinderbox. Cartoons embody larger political and social issues. As
Gary Younge notes in this issue, discrimination against Muslims is an objective fact: Racially motivated crimes in Denmark have recently doubled. After the cartoon crisis has passed, that truth will remain.
US: Cartoons not the problem By The Copenhagen Post
The Right to Be Offended
In April 2003 Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons offering a lighthearted take on the resurrection of Christ to the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Zieler received an e-mail from the paper's Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, saying: "I don't think Jyllands-Posten's readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think they will provoke an outcry. Therefore I will not use them." Two years later the same paper published twelve cartoons of Muhammad, including one with him wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a burning fuse. Predictably enough, it created an outcry. How we got from there to talk of "the Muslim threat" to the immutable European traditions of secularism and freedom of speech, while Scandinavian embassies burn in the Arab world, is illuminating.
Four months after the cartoons were published, Jyllands-Posten's editor apologized. In the intervening time Muslims engaged in mostly peaceful protests. Several Arab and Muslim nations withdrew their ambassadors from Denmark while demonstrators picketed embassies. According to Denmark's consul in Dubai, a boycott of Danish products in the Gulf would cost the country $27 million in sales.
All of this went largely unnoticed in the West, apart from critics who characterized the protests as evidence of a "clash of civilizations." In their attempt to limit free speech, went the argument, the demonstrators proved that Islam and Western democracy were incompatible.
Even on its own terms this logic is disingenuous. The right to offend must come with at least one consequent right and one subsequent responsibility. People must have the right to be offended, and those bold enough to knowingly cause offense should be bold enough to weather the consequences, so long as the aggrieved respond within the law. Muslims were in effect being vilified twice--once through the original cartoons and then again for having the gall to protest them. Such logic recalls the words of the late South African black nationalist Steve Biko: "Not only are whites kicking us; they are telling us how to react to being kicked."
Nonetheless, the "clash of civilizations" rhetoric framed the discussion for the almost inevitable violence to come. For as criticism mounted, other European newspapers decided to reprint the cartoons in solidarity with Jyllands-Posten. This was clearly inflammatory. Now the flames have reached all the way to the MiddleEast, where Danish and Norwegian embassies have been burned down. And the violence has been characterized as evidence that Muslims are plain uncivilized.
There seems to be almost universal agreement that these cartoons are offensive. There should also be universal agreement that the paper has a right to publish them without fear of violent reprisal. When it comes to freedom of speech, the liberal/left should not sacrifice its values one inch to those who seek censorship on religious grounds. But the right to freedom of speech equates to neither an obligation to offend nor a duty to be insensitive. If our commitment to free speech is important, our belief in antiracism should be no less so. Neither the cartoons nor the violence has emerged from a vacuum. They are steeped in and have contributed to an increasingly recriminatory atmosphere shaped by, among other things, war, intolerance and historic injustices. According to the Danish Institute for Human Rights, racially motivated crimes doubled in Denmark between 2004 and '05. These cartoons only served to compound Muslims' sense of alienation and vulnerability. The Jerusalem Post has now published the cartoons. Iranian newspaper Hamshari is calling for illustrators to ridicule the Holocaust. The race to the gutter is on.
The acts of violence, including death threats to Jyllands-Posten's editor, should be condemned. The fact remains, however, that the overwhelming swath of protests, particularly in Europe, where crass banners and suicide-bomber attire were the worst offenses, have so far been peaceful. But those who see this episode as freighted with weightier cultural meanings have another agenda. "This is a far bigger story than just the question of twelve cartoons in a small Danish newspaper," Flemming Rose, Jyllands-Posten's culture editor, told the New York Times. Too right, but it is not the story Rose thinks it is. Rose claims that "this is about the question of integration and how compatible is the religion of Islam with a modern secular society." In the mistaken belief that Europe is a monoethnic continent to which nonwhite people have just arrived, Rose is not alone in refracting every protest by a minority through a racial, ethnic or religious lens.
In so doing he displays his ignorance of both modern secular society and the role of all religions within it. Without anything as explicit as a First Amendment, Europe's freedom of speech laws are far more piecemeal than those of the United States. Many were adopted as a result of the Holocaust--the most potent reminder of just how fragile and recent this liberal secular tradition truly is in Europe. Last year the French daily Le Monde was found guilty of "racist defamation" against Israel and the Jewish people. Madonna's book Sex was only unbanned in Ireland in 2004. Even as this debate rages, David Irving sits in jail in Austria charged with Holocaust denial over a speech he made seventeen years ago, Islamist cleric Abu Hamza has been convicted in London for incitement to murder and racial hatred and Louis Farrakhan remains banned from Britain because his arrival "would not be conducive to the public good." Even here in America school boards routinely ban the works of authors like Alice Walker and J.K. Rowling. Such actions should be opposed; but no one claims Protestant, Catholic or Jewish values are incompatible with democracy.
Which brings us back to Zieler. We will never know what the response to his Christ cartoons would have been because they were never published. (The paper's announced plan to reprint some cartoons about Christ fails to mitigate its double standard.) That fact alone shows that the question has never been whether you draw a line under what is or isn't acceptable to publish, but where you draw it. There is nothing courageous about using your freedom of speech to ridicule the beliefs of one of the weakest sections of your society. But Rose and others like him clearly believe Muslims, by virtue of their religion, exist on the wrong side of the line. That exclusion finds its reflection in the Islamist rejection of all things Western. And so the secularists and antiracists in both the West and the Middle East find their space for maneuver limited, while dogma masquerades as principle, and Islamists and Islamophobes are confirmed in their own vile prejudices.
Criticism of Denmark over the Mohammed cartoons is unfair, says a senior US diplomat. Cartoons or no cartoons, they are no longer the problem, the US assistant secretary of state for European affairs, Daniel Fried stated Tuesday during a brief visit to Copenhagen.
'Jyllands-Posten has apologized and therefore the case is closed. The cartoons are no longer the real problem,' Fried said at a press conference at the American Embassy in Copenhagen.Fried visited Copenhagen in order to show American support for Denmark. He met with representatives from the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office as part of a trip that will also take him to Brussels and Berlin, where he will urge multi-level, political support for Denmark. Fried admitted that the cartoons were insulting but underscored several times that Denmark did not deserve the treatment that it had received. He recognized that demonstrations were a legitimate form of protest. Violence, however, could not be accepted under any circumstance. Free and democratic societies, Fried said, are better equipped to handle different values such as tolerance, freedom, and respect for religion. 'This position is not shared by everyone. For example, it is not shared by Iran and Syria,' Fried said.
A FEW EXAMPLES OF CARTOON SARCASM
( Ironic, bitter humor) ABOUT RELIGION click on pictures for more...
And the most insulting Religious cartoon of all...
Confessions of Crimes Against the State
Published on Monday, February 13, 2006 by CommonDreams.org
by John Dear
With the Bush Administration’s admission of widespread surveillance upon ordinary Americans in pursuit of empire, I thought I would save them the trouble of further harassing me and confess my crimes.
I am, after all, an ex-con. I’ve have been arrested scores of times, imprisoned in jails across the country, even had a national guard unit march upon my house and church--all because of my public stand against the state’s wars and nuclear weapons. I’m sure I’m on somebody’s list.
Forty years ago, the great Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote “A Signed Confession of Crimes Against the State,” where he made the shocking announcement that he had been sitting in the woods, enjoying the sunshine and listening to a mockingbird. He confessed that he was useless as far as the state was concerned. “I am shattered by the realization that I have never attributed the sunshine to its true cause, namely the state,” Merton wrote. “Clearly I am not worthy to exist another minute.” Alas, my crimes are equally deviant.
First of all, yes, I live in the desert, off the grid, far from the mainstream culture, and like Merton, that makes me useless, unsuccessful, unAmerican, an unproductive cog in the all-American wheel. Worse, I live not far from Los Alamos, where the state builds its nuclear bombs, spending billions for global destruction while poisoning the land and the population. Yes, I confess it, I hope and pray that this work, which I name as demonic, will end immediately.
Yes, I admit, last August, for the sixtieth anniversary of Hiroshima, I joined hundreds of friends, and put on sackcloth and ashes, like the people of Nineveh long ago, to repent of the sin--the crime!--of war and nuclear weapons.
Yes, it’s true, I sometimes wander the desert like John the Baptist denouncing the crimes of the state, and call for its leaders to fall from their thrones as Jesus’ mother Mary did famously in the Magnifcat. Yes, I confess, too, that I have been telling audiences around the world about my criminal hope for the disarmament of Los Alamos, and for that matter, Livermore Labs, the SAC Base, the Trident Sub bases, the Oak Ridge Labs, and all other imperial installations of nuclear genocide.
Yes, the state should know I have not been rehabilitated. I’m proud of hammering on an F15 nuclear-capable fighter bomber in 1993 in Goldsboro, North Carolina to fulfill the prophet Isaiah’s commandment to “beat swords into plowshares.” We upheld international law, the Nuremberg Principles, and God’s law of nonviolence. I believe that anyone involved with the production, maintenance and use of nuclear weapons is engaged in criminal behavior.
Worse, I confess that I have traveled into enemy territory. I admit I have not killed my enemies; I have not hated my enemies; I do not wish my enemies were dead, like most patriotic Americans do, as the state orders. I not only like them, I love them, as Jesus commanded, and I have met tens of thousands of them over the years--in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti, Palestine, India, the Philippines, yes, even in Iraq. Tomorrow, I am doing it again. I go to Colombia to befriend the people targeted by U.S. military and economic domination. I know I shouldn’t, but I am called by a Higher Power to love them. I just can't help myself. I'm so sorry.
Yes, I confess it: I’m also against the death penalty, not only because it’s unjust and racist, but immoral, cruel, inhuman. I not only want a moratorium, I want it outlawed. I hope that every electric chair will soon be dismantled and we will stop injecting people with lethal poisons--as if killing people who kill people is the way to show that killing people is wrong. I am also against the state’s preferential option for the rich, for corporations and billionaires. I want free healthcare for everyone, massive new funding for schools and teachers, food and clothing and decent jobs and affordable housing for everyone, and a clean, healthy environment for all. All of this is possible if we disarm, but you can’t have a culture of justice and peace and a culture of injustice and war at the same time. It’s one or the other. My criminal mind thinks that all the money spent on war and weapons and killing should be spent instead on human needs.
Yes, I confess it: I am against the U.S. war on Iraq, and always have been. The state has lied and continues to lie. It couldn't care less about anyone anywhere; about democracy at home or abroad; about rebuilding Fallujah or New Orleans; about disarmament in Iraq or New Mexico. It wants control over the world’s oil, especially in the Middle East, for economic hegemony, and it will gain that control at any cost, including the death of tens of thousands of beautiful children. I don’t care how patriotic or unpatriotic it sounds: I do not support the killing of children, even if every other God-fearing American insists we be number one, even with the “collateral damage” of the dead bodies of children. To my way of thinking, the death of one child is a crime and must be avoided at all costs, including the loss of oil. I know this goes against U.S foreign policy, but this is the bottom line.
Now we get to the worst crime of all, my criminal vision. I confess it: I envision a world where the United States is not killing anyone, threatening anyone, or preparing to destroy the planet. I want to live in a world without war, poverty and nuclear weapons. Yes, I know, such a world means the demise of the state. No more empire, no more Pentagon, no more nuclear weapons, no more unlimited money for Exxon and Cheney’s friends, no more military bases around the world, no more torture, no more F15s and F16s, no more Trident subs, no more bombs and guns and bullets. Yes, in my vision, the Vice President will no longer be able to shoot his friends.
In my criminal vision, everyone will become nonviolent. We will be a nation of Martin Luther Kings, Coretta Scott Kings, Dorothy Days and Thomas Mertons. We will love everyone, welcome everyone, care for everyone, and serve everyone, even spend our resources to eliminate hunger, end disease, and promote peace with justice around the entire planet. Yes, I admire those unAmerican, unpatriotic abolitionists who worked for the end of slavery. I consider myself a new abolitionist, working for the end of war, poverty and nuclear weapons.
(I even think that every minister, preacher, priest, bishop, and cardinal who supports war and preaches heretical sermons like “God Is Pro-War,” should just quietly resign, join a Trappist monastery or move to the desert, and dwell in the peace of God for the rest of their lives to relearn the holy wisdom of Gospel nonviolence.)
So there you have it. I confess it. I will live in peace with everyone. I refuse to be part of your global violence. I will remain a person of nonviolence for the rest of my life.
According to you, the state, that is the greatest crime of all. I will not go along with the state’s intent to kill anyone, even if I’m one of the few people left in the country who refuse to kill. The state can lock me up, bug me, wiretap me, harass me, follow me, arrest me, and jail me, as you have done many times before. The state can even kill me, as it killed Martin Luther King, Jr. I will not give in to its violence, support its wars or weapons, pay taxes for its killing sprees, pledge allegiance to its imperialism, listen to its media sycophants, wave its idolatrous flag or sit quietly while it massacres my beloved sisters and brothers around the world.
I will stand with the global human family. I insist we are all equal, all children of the God of peace, all deserving of a life of peace. I pledge allegiance to God’s reign of perfect peace, nonviolent love and equal justice for everyone, including the children of Iraq.
Alas, poor state, your days are numbered. You better confess it, shut down your surveillance program and get on with the work of disarmament. A new day of peace is coming.
John Dear is a Jesuit priest, peace activist, and the author/editor of 20 books on peace and nonviolence, including most recently “The Questions of Jesus” and “Living Peace,” both published by Doubleday. and “You Will Be My Witnesses” (available next month from Orbis Books). He lives in New Mexico. For further information, see:
This following article is a good one... Learn how the greedy amongst us, are using Christianity to line their pockets... (Note) The GI Joe Jesus is not part of Karen H. Cobb's wonderful article... I found it on the Internet and added it for effect... thinkingblue
America's Moral Decline and the Rise of False Christianity
by Karen Horst Cobb
“This is the year God wants to make you a millionaire.” The visiting evangelist stomped back and forth on the stage of the rented school building. His “hallelujahs” and “praise God” crescendos were followed by jumping up and down. Sweat ran down his face as he proclaimed that the church members would not need to be afraid if the economy collapses and their neighbors houses are foreclosed upon because they are blessed and will have all of their needs met. The service ended with the explanation that the first step to becoming a millionaire is to pledge $200 of “seed faith money” to the church .
Just prior to the introduction of the evangelist the young single minister with spiky hair introduced the beginning of fellowship “life groups," explaining that the “free market” will decide which ones succeed. Recently, Ted Taggard of mega church New Life Fellowship in Colorado Springs explained that Spirituality is a “commodity “ to be bought and sold. The writings of Milton Friedman are recommended for all new converts. This young minister must also be a free market convert . His small group is a satellite of World Harvest Church. The sermon themes of the mega churches are all very similar and reflect the cause of America‘s moral decline. Christianity is getting a makeover using the classic trappings of Money, domination and military aggression.
It looks like the 50 million dollar Bible theme park which was to be built in Israel by evangelicals will not happen now that Pat Robertson insulted Arial Sharon. Imagine a 50 million dollar Bible theme park protected by nuclear weapons in the holy land and off limits to Arabs. The harvest of the mega church is ready; welcome the gleaners, the seed faith money has matured.
According to a 2003 article in Forbes Magazine big churches are big business. Researchers found that in 2003 there were 740 mega churches each averaging 6,876 participants. The average net income of each was $4.8 million at the time of the study. The Forbes article states, “[the] entrepreneurial approach has contributed to the explosive growth of mega churches“.
Is it the entrepreneurial spirit or the Holy Spirit which is enticing the converts to this new religion? Some used to say that the love of money is the root of all evil and the rich man (like the camel) will forever be outside the kingdom. I guess that is just “too first century” for the modern believer. The millennium church makeover is all about Christian capitalism, he who the free market has set free shall be free indeed! Remember, this is the year God wants me to be a millionaire.
Some might think that putting your last hundred bucks in the offering satchel as “seed faith money” is a lot like gambling or buying a lottery ticket. Perhaps James Dobson and Ralph Reed can explain that to the Indians (and the rest of us.) A Washington Post article explains that Ralph Reed (former head of the Christian coalition) “received $4 million to whip up public sentiment against expansion of gambling in Louisiana and Texas." He did this by mobilizing evangelicals to take a stand against the immorality of gambling.
The buildings and technologies of the mega-fellowships are edifices to capitalism, free market economics, and the entrepreneurial spirit. The lexicon is slightly different but the concepts are exactly the same as those of CEO motivational speakers or a slick late night infomercial promoting real estate schemes. You can do it! You can win! You can be a success! You are smart! There are no limits to what you can achieve. Just send me some money and get started today. A quick internet search reveals sources concerning the personal life styles of the pastors of many of these churches. Their seed faith has been harvested into private jets, extravagant cars, multimillion dollar homes and much, much more. The storehouses are overflowing and with this wealth comes power.
Like Ted Haggard’s New Life Fellowship in Colorado Springs, World Harvest Church is a very politically active mega church. Rod Parsley is the pastor , “co-laborer“, as he puts it. He is also founder and president of the politically active “Center for Moral Clarity." In a few weeks he is scheduled to speak on the topic “the War on Christians and the Values Voter in 2006” at the Vision America Conference Other speakers scheduled for the event are Alan Keyes, Senator Sam Brownbeck, John Cornyn, Gary Bauer, Phyllis Schlafley, Janet Parshall, Rick Scarbrough, and Tom Delay. (yes that’s right - the multiply-indicted Tom Delay.)
I have not listened to Pastor Parsley’s CD set “Injustice in American Courts” nor have I purchased the shiny “King Arthur style sword” for $41.10 to display in my home. I have not considered taking courses at World Harvest Bible College where I can learn to "shape the culture” nor have I spent the thousands necessary to learn how to “walk in Dominion power to advance the kingdom of God through the earth” [italics added] In his Ohio Community, religious leaders exposed the use of Pastor Parsley’s religious tax-free status to support Gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell. Yes, the same Ken Blackwell who was the co-chair of the committee to re-elect Bush/Cheney in 2004 while at the same time responsible for overseeing Ohio’s election which ended up with many irregularities.
Parsley and Blackwell launched a voter registration campaign but only to register Republican voters. Money leads to power and power leads to war.
It seems today there is a need for a tougher, meaner Jesus, a government issue Jesus (GI-Joe) who comes complete with state of the art Kevlar tunic, two edged sword, and secret code book (the book of Revelation). Evangelical Christians are organizing and conspiring to manipulate governments to use weapons if necessary to kill some of God’s children so that prime real estate goes to people whom they believe God likes best.
This immoral clarity was reported recently in the Jerusalem Post. Rev John Hagee is the organizer and leader of the Armageddon war cry and has now created the powerful political lobby, Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Christians untied for Israel (CUFI) includes Jerry Falwell, Benny Hinn, Jack Hayford, George Morrison, Rod Parsley and Steven Strang and many other media evangelicals. According to Hagee, “ The goal is to be strategically placed to successfully lobby Washington on behalf of Israel… Every state in the Union, every congressional district will be accounted for.”
Reportedly, this lobbying group represents 30 million evangelical Christians. As we know, congress alone has the power to declare war. Will it be Christians who pressure elected officials into war? Will it be people who declare themselves to be Christ-like, who use his name to sound the collective war cry which unleashes the deadliest weapons on earth? George W. Bush said recently that “all options are on the table” when it comes to Iran.
The Evangelical Christian right is working to insure a manmade apocalypse develops in the Middle east. This powerful political faction runs parallel to the economic foreign policies of the slightly more secular neo-conservative “republican” party which has visions of empire and military rule as outlined in the Project for a New American Century's "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century" [pdf format]. It was written a year before 9/11, and, prophetically, the plan to put bases throughout the Middle East is right on schedule. John Hagee’s latest book is Jerusalem Countdown which can be viewed on his website. Evidently, it presents Iran as a horrible nuclear threat to Israel and the United States. Just for a quick check with reality here is the score on nuclear weapons: Iran-0, Israel-200, US-10,600 (as of 2002). Please explain to me who are these "people of faith” and what do they put their faith in? Experts agree that Iran is at the very least ten years away from obtaining even one nuclear warhead.Ten years is a lot of time to wage peace.
Theocratic capitalism appeals to human lust for money, power, and military rule. Conversely, simplicity, service, and humility belong to the divine. Confusing fables are taught to itching ears. (Timothy 4:3 paraphrased). The first century followers of Christ did not entertain the entrepreneurial spirit, market competition and accumulation of wealth or organized to lobby Caesar.
For some, generosity is a strategy to gain wealth to purchase political power. Christ-like generosity however results from empathic compassion and a longing for the welfare of others. This is the core of moral clarity and makes it impossible for true believers to horde wealth. The rich man and the camel are both unable to kneel low enough to pass through the eye of the needle. (Matthew 19:24).
In the upside down kingdom Jesus taught that the poor are rich, the weak are strong, and the servant is the master. It is a change of heart rather than a change of legislation and circumstances. The new Jerusalem is a community governed by the golden rule, not ancient real estate governed by religious politicians. A person living in love does not need PowerPoint seminars, CD boxed millennium sets, ornamental swords, or novels written in code. It’s all summed up in a sentence and a sacrifice- Love the lord and love your neighbor.
Warriors lust for more powerful weapons. If the Christians Untied for Israel are successful in lobbying Washington on behalf of Israel they will insure that more living souls will be destroyed. God is not an angry real estate broker who uses extortion and violence to get his way. He does not think of suffering and dying children as “collateral damage”. The charred bodies in Fallujia incinerated by white phosphorus were living souls. Deformed babies fused together or born without limbs because of the use of depleted uranium weapons is beyond depravity. It is estimated that 150,000 living souls have been extinguished directly or indirectly as a result of the war in Iraq. Many of these are women and children. Beautiful news models and impressive military strategists describe “magnificent” weapons and manipulate us into pride and patriotism brought to us by companies with military contracts. With deadened empathy we watched the “shock and awe” as whole families explode before our eyes. What families values support this behavior? The American dilemma remains unspoken. If I become aware, how can I remain comfortable and keep shopping?
The lust for money, dominance, and military power is at the core of America‘s moral decline. It is imperative that church leaders and laity boldly proclaim that violence, torture, hostage taking, conquests of land and resources are actions Christians can never condone. Killing for Christ is an abomination leaving us with blood-stained hands and darkness in our hearts! Every church must be a peace or it will become a state church and then it will be… no church at all.
[Note from the author:] Some might read this article with a spirit of anger and hatred toward those mentioned. If so please re-read it in a spirit of extreme sorrow, compassion and utter despair for the loss of the Gospel of love. You may direct comments to me at
Karen Horst Cobb wrote No Longer a Christian and No Longer a Christian - Part II published by CommonDreams.org in the fall of 2004. She is a mother and a grandmother, and with God’s grace, tries to follow the example of Christ as she speaks Christ’s message to the world that there is no Government Issue Jesus (GI-Joe Jesus.)
QUOTATION OF THE DAY Adlai E. Stevenson:
What do I believe? As an American I believe in generosity, in liberty, in the rights of man. These are social and political faiths that are part of me, as they are, I suppose, part of all of us. Such beliefs are easy to express. But part of me too is my relation to all life, my religion. And this is not so easy to talk about. Religious experience is highly intimate and, for me, ready words are not at hand. speech, Libertyville, Illinois, May 21, 1954
Warning very Graphic REAL PICTURES OF WAR
CAROLYNCONNETION - I've got a mind and I'm going to use it!