Thursday, July 05, 2007

It's just you & me against the world, baby!

Hiya sportsfans. Tonight I am offering my belated contribution to the July 4th edition of the 'Blog against Theocracy' blogswarm. I figured I'd go with 'religion and war' as my theme for the evening. You know: lighten things up a little.

Tonight's post follows a kind of Point/Counterpoint format, whereby I alternately quote the reasonable and ...erm...extreme or fundamentalist perspective on matters of religion and war.

We begin with former war correspondent Chris Hedges and his recounting of the Balkan wars and proceed from there...
What happened in the former Yugoslavia, and what happens in all fratricides, is what Freud calls the "narcissism of minor difference," where you seize on absurd differences -- you know, dialectic differences. And, of course, religion becomes the way by which you differentiate yourself from the other, and you suddenly say, "Serbs, or Muslims -- these are not characteristics that they have; these are vices and we can never deal with these vices until we purge them from our society." They don't commit crimes; they have things inherently built into their character. I mean, it's very much like anti-Semitism. And the only way to get rid of it is to eradicate it, because to be a Jew, to be a Serb, to be a Muslim is to have these qualities that destroy our civilization, and we must, therefore, destroy them.

Once you get into that situation, which the worst kind of [situation that] religion can back up, then you move very swiftly from the language of violence, the language of dehumanization of the other, toward the actual destruction of the other. We turn them into an object linguistically, and then we turn them into an object quite literally -- a corpse.
Fundamentalism lends itself completely to war, because it has a dichotomy between "us" and "them." There is a notion that the only way to salvation is through whatever religion we happen to be, and in the fervor of that kind of fundamentalism, we refuse to acknowledge that salvation is possible through any other route. In a time of national distress, people always look for those who promise what appear to be black-and-white answers, or clear-cut solutions to the confusion around them.
--Chris Hedges, author, Harvard Divinity School Alum, and Fmr. war correspondent (speaking to PBS Religion & Ethics Jan 31, 2003)
And see what happens is, with social conservatives or especially evangelicals, they look in—look at the world with biblical absolutes, you know, right and wrong. And Giuliani does that. I mean, he is very much a black and white type of guy. Evangelicals, for the most part, like that, and I think that plays well on the stump.
--David Brody, correspondent for The Christian Broadcasting Network (speaking to Tim Russert, Meet The Press, NBC, July 1, 2007)
Judaism has always had within it two competing strands, one that affirmed the possibility of healing the world and transcending its violence and cruelty, the other that saw "the Other" (be that the original inhabitants of the land, who were to be subject to genocidal extermination, or later Greeks, Romans, Christians, or now Arab) as inherently evil, beyond redemption, and hence deserving of cruelty and violence.
--Rabbi Michael Lerner, "A Jewish Renewal Understanding of the State of Israel," Tikkun Magazine
Speaking to Israel Radio, [Israeli Min. Strategic Threats Avigdor Lieberman] said he believes the Palestinians are not interested in setting up their own state, but rather in destroying Israel. He said Israel must abandon past interim peace deals, known as the Oslo accords, and the road map.
"They ... have to disappear, to go to paradise, all of them, and there can't be any compromise," [...] "There is no point in new peace initiatives, and those who initiate them are irresponsible and unwise,"

According to Lieberman, the Palestinians do not truly desire a country, but instead "work in the service of international Jihad," and called for Israel to target the upper echelons of Hamas.

"There is no point in striking refugee camps and Palestinians who have nothing to lose," Lieberman said. "Instead, we should strike the entire Hamas leadership roaming free in Gaza."
he said., "Lieberman: Israel must retake control of Gaza-Egypt border," Nov. 18, 2006
IMAM ZAID SHAKIR: I hope you air this segment. I condemn all of the lunatics that are killing innocent people, be they in pizza houses in Tel Aviv, be they innocent Muslims, Christians or others being slaughtered senselessly in Iraq as strongly as I condemn people getting in the planes flying halfway around the world to bomb innocent people into oblivion for no crime that those people have committed. I condemn all of it.
BILL MOYERS: Everything you say suggests that you do not feel your faith is incompatible with American democracy.
IMAM ZAID SHAKIR: I wouldn't be here.
IMAM ZAID SHAKIR: Well if I felt that my faith, and I'm a Muslim-- a practicing Muslim, is incompatible, with American democracy, why would I stay here? Because, essentially, I'd be saying, "I can not practice my faith here." That's not the question. That's not the case.
--Imam Zaid Shakir, speaking to Bill Moyers, June 22, 2007
In a televised debate on CNN, Falwell said President Bush should "blow them (the terrorists) all away in the name of the Lord."
Falwell's comment came on "CNN Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer" in a debate with Baptist minister Jesse Jackson, who called the Iraq war "a misadventure" that isolated the United States politically and cost the country lives, money and "our character."

Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchnurg, Va., responded: "I'd rather be killing them over there than fighting them over here, Jesse. And I think you would. ..."

"Let's stop the killing and choose peace," Jackson responded. "Let's choose negotiation over confrontation."

"Well, I'm for that too," Falwell added. "But you've got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops. And I'm for the president to chase them all over the world. If it takes 10 years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord."
--"Call to kill terrorists 'in the name of the Lord' sparks outcry," The Baptist Standard, May 11, 2004

Ok, I think we've seen just about enough. Enough to know that we don't want this kind of life for ourselves: not for Canada. That said, if you think we don't have any Falwells or Liebermans or Giulianis here, then go back and read Marci McDonald's chilling piece in last fall's Walrus magazine. It's enough to put you off your tea.

And yet this stuff is still very much on the D.L. here, in the Great White North. It has to be kept under wraps, lest it scare the ever-lovin' crap out of us. There was a time when this was still true in the great ol' U.S.of A., but no longer. Remember David Brody, from earlier in this post? Well, I left a little something out. It was kind of important, so I would feel badly if I kept it from y'all:
MS. WOODRUFF [Judy Woodruff, PBS Newshour]: I come back to Giuliani, Tim, and, and, and yes, he’s doing well in the national polls. Yes, he’s got the endorsement of Pat Robertson, and he answered your interview, David [Brody], the way he did. But when, when people as prominent as Richard Land, the head of the—one of the, one of the parts of the Southern Baptist Convention, you have Reverend Dobson, James Dobson, saying they wouldn’t support Rudy Giuliani under any circumstances, it makes you wonder where he’s going to be when...

MR. BRODY [David Brody, Christian Broadcasting Network]: Well...

MS. WOODRUFF: get into these Republican contests.

MR. RUSSERT [Tim Russert, Meet the Press]: And yet Pat Robertson embraced him.

MR. BRODY: Well, and what, what you have here, exactly, is the conservative grassroots—there’s an underlying layer here and you have conservative grassroots activists who are ready to take him down. And they want to take him down. And then you translate that into some prominent national evangelical leaders, who will go unnamed at this point, but eventually will come out against Giuliani, mobilize the forces, and then we’ll have to see how he stands up to that.
Yes, that's right: they're mobilizing their forces. The troops are amassing. You'd better get busy, Gen. Rudy, 'cause there's a long road ahead.

Shall we take your God or mine?

{Unofficial animated video for Depeche Mode's "John the Revelator;" contributed to YouTube by "ViolatoroftheRegime"}


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7/16/2007 11:36 AM  

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