Once upon a time, when I was very young, my parents forced me to go to a Sunday school for religious indoctrination. (They meant well I'm sure.) I was deeply rebellious and learned nothing. Imagine then my surprise at the end of the year's prize-giving ceremony when my name was called out and I was given a prize. Suitably stunned, I went up to the stage and was given my prize. It was a handsome edition of the Bible. I opened it up -- hoping to discover what a young budding agnostic like me had done to deserve such an honor -- and found the following inscription:
To Martin Neil Lewis. For Reading.
No one ever read Hebrew aloud worse than me. There had to be some mistake...
It was only a few years later -- as my grasp of irony grew -- that I comprehended what the school teachers had meant.
It was not an award for reading aloud that I had DONE that year.
The book was given to me literally "for reading". For the PURPOSE of my reading it.
That I read it and found the parables manipulative, the actions of the character known as "God" petty, spiteful and vengeful -- and the book contained some of the most misanthropic, misogynistic, hateful attitudes and platitudes imaginable -- is neither here nor there for the purpose of this short essay.
I think it may offer us an insight into the reason that Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
To inspire him to follow his better angels.
And reject the seductive siren voices leading him down the pathway taken by so many of his predecessors -- including George W. Bush (with Iraq), George H. W. Bush (with Iraq 1.0 and Panama), Ronald Reagan (with Grenada and Nicaragua), Richard Nixon (with Vietnam, Cambodia and Chile), Lyndon Johnson (with Vietnam). To mention just a few U.S. presidents and their worthless wars, bloody coups and military meddlings.
So I am happy that Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize.
I hope he makes better use of his prize than I did with my prize.
If so -- it will have been 24 "carrot" gold..