I was most impressed with the president's June 4th address at Cairo University in Egypt wherein he, I absolutely feel, assuaged the fears of many Muslims who question the intentions of the United States. And after eight years of Dubya, why shouldn't they have questions?
Obama spoke eloquently about the true message of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, viz. peace, benevolence and brotherhood. This has caused quite a pother amidst the right-wing punditocracy as you can well imagine, especially El Gordo. Good. How dare 44 mollify those crazy Islamo-whatevers! Poor guy, ol' Rusty, he's running out of insane ripostes other than the patented "I hope he fails." I'll bet he wanted to grab a fistful of Oxy when he heard a U. S. President whose name is Barack Hussein Obama provide as a valedcitory "As-Salāmu `Aleykum." But enough about Mr. Arbuckle.
President Obama highlights an absolute truth: there are many folks who use religion as bases for hate and violence. Religion, indeed, can be misunderstood and taken the wrong way . . . or the right way. In some cases, religious dogma absolutely directs and mandates carnage and violence. Some religious types, embarrassed over the fact that indeed violence is encouraged and countenanced, try a quick song-and-dance to the tune of "it's taken out of context" or "you can't just read a specific directive." Why, I ask? Who is anyone to expurgate or bowdlerize the word of God? If God didn't mean it, why did he say or inspire it? God doesn't make mistakes, does she.
This past week some folks were trying to suggest that Bill O'Reilly and his band of nutso right-wingers were responsible for inspiring the murder of abortion practitioner Dr. George Tiller. That suggestion is almost as insane as the murder of Tiller itself. The world is awash in nutty suggestions that can't be taken seriously. Ozzy Osbourne's "Suicide Solution" allegedly inspired a batso kid in 1984 to off himself. "Romeo and Juliet," I'm sure, has also given wayward teens suicidal ideations. Nothing and no one, neither the Bible nor O'Reilly, can be held responsible for death, murder and carnage.
But whle we're on the subject of religion, have you read some of the Bible's pronouncements? I mean, if you want to read some absolute beauts, look no further.
Gloria Steinem, button it!
"But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." 1 Timothy 2:12
"And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." Leviticus 20:16
Move over, Dr. Spock.
"If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them . . . Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city . . . And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard . . . And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die" Deuteronomy 21:18-21
And, I have no idea what this urolagnic reference directs.
"[H]ath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you." 2 Kings 18:27
The coprophagic simper.
"Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it." Malachi 2:3
I'd throw in a few Qur'an beauts, but I've never read word one of it, nor have I touched the Talmud. The Bible is my reference point, and after having read quite a lot of it, I can certainly see how someone might get confused.
If you're inquisitive and love a good laugh, I recommend the Landover Baptist Church. Biblical quotes are a source of hilarity for me. And why not, the Bible is awash in contradictions. While we're at it, Kenneth C. Davis's "Don't Know Much About the Bible" is a must-reread reference for the biblically irreverent.
Lest you misunderstand my amusement, I laugh not at the concept and notion of religion or the Bible per se. I laugh at how anything is susceptible to misinterpretation and how the overzealous and easily-swayed can take a reference from anything or anyone and have it inspire the most dreadful of behaviors.
So, there you have it. No wonder folks have cockeyed views of religion and the big dude in the sky. If you took literally what the Bible or any religious book said, as some folks have, it's no wonder the world is a nuts as it is. I'm not being blasphemous. Hardly. There are many who've practiced the good message of their faith and have spread beneficence and benevolence. And then there are the other folks who, well, didn't really get it in the first place.
President Obama spoke for the first time as POTUS to the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. As stated, what an improvement in perception this oration must have caused compared to eight years of Jethro Bodine and Mr. Potter. But if the truth be told, I would have preferred this.
My friends, the world is awash with insane rhetoric, a rhetoric that is spewed and conjured by half-baked holy men referencing centuries-old texts that were written during times of incalculable nescience. Texts that speak of fantastic and hallucinatory images of magical beings who fly about the heavens ready to strike us dead should our fealty ever be questioned for a moment. These half-cocked holy folks, taking literally insane prescriptions of faith and obeisance, come in all flavors: no religion is without them. And then there are the secular nut-jobs whose knowledge and imagination are de minimis at best. And while it's hard to figure out who's right and wrong, remember this very simple rule: If anyone or any text suggests that you should take the life of innocents, don't.