My own personal stance against religious hypocrisy - both my own, and any others who seek to hurt people in the name of God.

Friday, April 17, 2009

We're Not Getting Better at All, Are We

There is an ugly tendency for people of faith and/or religion to view the misfortune of others as God's judgment upon them. This was done when Jesus walked the earth. This was his response.

Luke (chapter thirteen)

[1] There were some present at that very time who told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

[2] And he answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered thus?

[3] I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

[4] Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem?

[5] I tell you, No; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

[6] And he told them this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.

[7] And he said to the vinedresser, 'Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?'

[8] And he answered him, 'Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure.

[9] And if it bears fruit next year, well adn good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"

We love to tell ourselves that "others" are offending God and that God is happy with us. Not likely at all.

Luke (chapter eighteen)

[9] He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others:

[10] "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

[11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

[12] I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.'

[13] But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'

[14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Last evening, on the news, I learned about a new atrocity being committed against women. This time in Afghanistan. The new regime, put in place by the Bush Administration, has just signed into law an edict which basically makes women sex slaves of their husbands. They can't even leave the house without permission. And they say they are treating their women better because now their women don't have to worry about money. I'm not sure I follow the logic. Afghanistan women are in the streets protesting - risking their very lives in the doing.

I do not know what to do to help those women, except to say to the world that it's happening.

In times of great fear and change there are always those who will seek to put under foot others, who threaten to displace them as supreme. It happens in this country. That is why our country, while more free than most, has never been free for everyone. If it hasn't been women being subjugated, it has been Native Americans, African Americans, Irish Americans, Italian Americans, German Americans, Japanese Americans, Gay and Lesbian Americans, Bisexual and Transgender Americans, Old Americans, Poor Americans. There are others, and if I skipped a group you happen to belong to, I apologize.

I think the fear of losing power must only be superceded by the fear of losing life.

Also on the news was the evidence that America tortured prisoners during the Bush Administration. They claimed it wasn't torture. Then let them be subjected to the treatment. That's what I say. I think they would change their minds quite quickly.

We have a lot to answer for, we who think we're better than others. We don't steal corn, and so we claim ourselves honest, despite the fact we steal wheat. We are no better than the Taliban. We just use different methods. We don't torture and murder people in the streets. We do in the privacy of prisons and internment camps. We don't make laws prohibiting women from enjoying equal rights with men. We just ignore those laws which say we must give them equality. We don't say out loud that women should be sex slaves of men. Yet look at our advertising, movies, and television shows. Not everything we're accused of is a lie or misunderstanding. Some things they got very right.

We have to be on guard in the west. We have to defend the rights of those who are different from us. For if we don't, and they lose their rights, we're next in line. Don't you understand? We hang together or we hang separately. (Forget who said that, but it's as true today as ever.)

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