Notes from a Trump Hater and That Includes Trump Supporters.

free-speech-churchillOnce upon a time I had more friends on Facebook.  I had both Democratic friends, Republican Friends and friends who cared not one whit about politics.  Many of all political persuasions were friends who simply wanted to ignore politics.  During the run-up to Trump’s election, I discussed, debated, argued, reasoned and fought with many friends who wanted to support Trump.  The results were not pretty.  Zero changed their minds.  I was angry and frustrated.

I unfriended many Republican friends.  Many unfriended me.  There seemed to be no middle ground.  It was like the Civil War.  You had to choose a side and the outcome was hatred and disdain for people I formerly called friends.  The loss of many former friends (Or were they simply just acquaintances?) has caused a great deal of soul searching on my part.  I realize that I am not alone in this.

I doubt if anyone wants to be labeled as narrow minded and unwilling to listen to the other side of things.  For years, I accepted Republican politics as a counterbalance to some of the extremism of the Democratic party, particularly when it came to social spending.

Of course, the same extravagant spending by the Republicans was always accepted by my Republican friends since it generally went to building a “strong” military.  A military that it was taken for granted would protect us from the evil doers out there that hate democracy.  It was a party that would create a huge monster that was a glutton for military spending and ever more wars to be fought in the name of democracy and free enterprise.

Dietrich

I believe that choosing sides is not just a matter of politics but a matter of integrity.  It is easier when someone is only a “friend”, but it becomes much more difficult when it is your mother, sister or brother.  I realize that many people think I speak out too much.  I am too opinioned.  I voice my ideas and ideology too much, etc., etc.

“We must take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” –  Elie Wiesel

Furthermore, there is a certain hypocrisy coming from those who condemn people like me.  It goes like this.

Republican Friend to Me: 

“Why do you have to revile, criticize and make such pejorative remarks about Trump?  About Republican politics etc.  Why do you have to have such a negative attitude?  Do you realize that I am a life long Republican and you ‘hurt’ my feelings?”

Republican Hidden Message: 

Keep your mouth shut and do not speak out.  However, it is okay for people in my party to be racists, bigots, xenophobes, greedy and against policies to help the poor and needy.  We are very polite about this, while you are very obnoxious and impolite.  Hatred is ok if it is polite.

Republican Friend to Me:

“I don’t see why you are so negative.  All you do is complain about the way things are in this country.”

Republican Hidden Message:

I don’t see any problems.  All I see are needs.  We need more prisons.  We need more police.  We need a stronger military.  We need more guns.  We need more walls.  We need more free enterprise.  We need less government.  We need less taxes.

Republican Friend to Me:

“Why can’t you be ‘for’ something rather than against everything.  No one likes anyone who is continually criticizing and complaining about things.”

Republican Hidden Message:

It is okay to screw people, to take things away from people, to make life harder for people, to create a bigger gap between the rich and the poor if you do it without “complaining.”

The way many people speak out against anyone who is willing to stand up for their beliefs reminds me of the song in the play 1776.  In the play, John Adams is continually haranguing his colleagues to get them to agree to rebel against the British.  His efforts are often met with disdain by his erstwhile colleagues.

ADAMS –  Vote yes!

CONGRESS – Oh, for God’s sake, John, sit down!

ADAMS – Good God! Consider yourself fortunate that you have John Adams to abuse, for no sane man would tolerate it!

CONGRESS – John, you’re a bore; we’ve heard this before, now for God’s sake, John, sit down!

ADAMS – I say vote yes!

political language

If one is polite about it and not too obnoxious, then racism, sexism and bigotry are tolerable.  Those who protest, those who march and those who speak up are labeled by our polite quiet society as trouble makers, hippies and know nothings.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  – Martin Luther King

There is a challenge implicit here in being a human.  It is a challenge I offer to all my “Friends” to speak out.  Do not ask why I insult and use derogatory remarks against racists and bigots.  We condone evil with our silence and inaction.   Ask why you are not speaking out against the racists and bigot groups that sow hate and discord in our nation.  When have you spoke out against the KKK?  When have you spoken out against the Neo-Nazi groups?  When have you spoken out against those so greedy that they begrudge a dime spent to help the poor and sick?  Do not come to me and tell me to be quiet and to tone down my rhetoric.

the free press

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Jesus had this to say about his beliefs:

“Then his mother and his brothers came but were unable to join him because of the crowd.  He was told, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they wish to see you.’ He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” — Luke 8:19-21.

Maybe, Jesus was trying to tell us that right actions and right thoughts are more important than relationships.

Time for Questions:

Who would be the man/woman with enough courage to give up a friend who was a racist, sexist or bigot?

Life is just beginning.

  1. “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.”
  2. “Every human must decide whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
  3. “If a person has not discovered something that they will die for, they are not fit to live.”
  4. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  5. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
  6. “The ultimate measure of a human is not where he/she stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he/she stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
  7. “An individual has not started living until they can rise above the narrow confines of his/her individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
  8. “Anyone who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as those who help to perpetrate it. Those who accept evil without protesting against it is are really cooperating with it.”
  9. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Above quotes are all from the speeches or writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

Thinking about Immigration, Part 3: Living in the Path of Illegal Immigration.

Six months of the year I am what they call a “Snow Bird.”   Karen prefers us to be called “Winter Residents.”   We live in Arizona City.   It is south of I-8 and just west of I-10.  It has been a major corridor for coyotes, drug runners and illegal or undocumented immigrants. There is hardly a week that goes by that we do not have coffee shop stories of found pot bales, abandoned vehicles, spotters hiding in caves and illegal’s coming to homes asking for water or food.  These stories are supplemented by our almost daily observations of border patrol vehicle searches and regular high speed police runs. One of our visitors commented that she had never seen so many police vehicles in her whole life as in our area.

Caution Ilegal immigrantsLast fall, one elderly resident who lived out in the desert was found murdered in her home. Nothing was missing but no suspects have been found. There are many folks in my area who will not venture out in the desert without being armed and there are many areas where you are warned to stay clear of.  I routinely jog in the Casa Grande Mountains and while relatively safe, there have been drug busts and roundups of drugs and illegal immigrants within the past few months.  A short time ago, I found a rifle with a telescopic sight and a sawed off butt behind a cactus.  I turned it into the police station where they were not too concerned about it. To date, my biggest danger while jogging has been a cactus that is known as a “jumping Cholla.” These things seem to magically find a way to get attached to you and their barbs are quite painful.  I have had at least six attacks by them during the past few months.

GatedThe picture I am trying to paint for you, coupled with the fact of the ongoing drug war in Mexico, which is only about 120 miles from our front door (47,000 deaths and counting), is designed to give you some idea of the context in which many Arizonians find themselves.  Gated communities, suspicion of neighbors, fear of criminal break-ins and an overall worry about the poor economy, housing foreclosures, and jobs (Arizona has led the nation in many of these problems) gives rise to a citizenry which is far from tolerant of anyone coming over illegally into this country. There is a great deal of fear in the nation as a whole ever since 9/11 and nowhere I think is it more evident than in Arizona.  Fear and tolerance do not go hand in hand.  However as Ben Franklin noted “Those who would give up their freedom for safety will soon find they have neither.” It is difficult to counsel this advice though when neighborhoods cannot be made safe and people are afraid that they will become victims.  So what does this have to do with stopping illegal immigration?  Let me turn the clock back to help answer this question.

Migrant farm workersIn 1963, I was sent to an Air Force station located in Osceola, Wisconsin.  Coming from the East coast, I could not have told you where Wisconsin was if my life depended upon it.  Furthermore, to be dropped into the middle of “Dairy Farm USA” was a major culture shock.  Nevertheless, I adapted by marrying a woman from Thorp, Wisconsin and having my daughter Christina born in Osceola.  Life was good for me in the service but money was short.  I found local employment doing migrant farm work and obtaining a part-time job (to supplement my military income) at a local nursery called Abrahamsons.  It was at this place, that I had my first meetings with Mexican farm workers.  Each season, Abrahamsons’s would bring in workers from Mexico to work at the nursery. The work involved digging, balling, burlapping, loading and then digging to replant trees for wealthy buyers in Edina and the Twin Cities.  It was hard work.

Chart-farmWe dug trees and loaded them from 6 AM to often after 9 PM at night.  I was paid one dollar per hour.  I do not know what my Mexican counterparts were paid because they could not speak English.  I could not speak Spanish and my bosses warned me to never discuss salary with the other workers. Thus, I spent my days working in the fields, sharing food but no conversation with the other workers.  Believe me when I say there were few local non-Hispanic people applying for these jobs.  I have since been to other areas of the USA including Mackinac Michigan and Door County Wisconsin, where they rely on immigrant workers to provide services to locals and tourists. To say that illegal or legal immigrant workers are taking jobs and bread from the mouths of Americans is a shallow and false bit of rhetoric.  I have heard it said that if these undesirable jobs were not taken by immigrants then the wages would go up and USA workers would then apply for them.  This bit of fantasy ignores two possibilities: 1. The work could go overseas to even lower wage workers or 2,  The Law of Substitution says that other higher value added services could replace services that become too costly.  In any event, I have yet to see the “older” immigrants from America who are now second generation citizens clamoring for these hard dirty and low paying jobs.

bracero statesSo year after year, from the middle 40’s to the late 60’s, immigrants came over from Mexico and South America on a seasonal basis.  Each year millions of these Bracero program workers would come and work in the USA.  Most would go back home after the work was over.  Some would apply for citizenship and stay in the US. The Bracero program favored Hispanic workers (there did not seem to be many Canadians or Europeans looking for farm work) and it seemed to create a rather orderly and neat influx and outflow of labor seasonally needed by US employers.  Then the program was changed.  Barred from working seasonally and denied access to work permits, many Mexicans and other Latinos took the easy road.

Illegal yes, enforced no.

US-Mexico_border_fenceThat is until 9/11, when all hell broke loose.  Never in the past 100 years had USA citizens felt as vulnerable as after 9/11.  Fearing for an influx of terrorists and watching unparalleled amounts of drugs crossing the border, we reacted to our fears by passing the Patriot Act, by beefing up Homeland Security, by building Border Walls, by making it a felony to repeatedly try to cross our borders, by greatly expanding the Border Patrol and by building large detention centers in the Southwest.  My county Pinal is often referred to as “Penal County” and has numerous detention centers to house drug runners and detainees awaiting deportation. The number of anti-immigration bills started to proliferate state by state as the Federal government seemed impotent to deal with the crisis.  Citizens armed themselves and formed watchdog groups to police our borders with Mexico.  No one really seemed worried about those Canadians.  I suppose ever since prohibition was rescinded, the Canadians have stopped smuggling whiskey across the border and are less of a threat to the US.

prohibitionSo let’s ask a simple question here?  Why do all of these illegals come to the USA? The answer is easy. Two reasons: Jobs and drugs.  I wonder if the solution to the problem seems as evident to you as it does to me.  First, legalize drugs.  Let the government tax them and let anyone sell them just like cigarettes, coffee and alcohol are sold. We have spent billions on a fruitless drug war and we have accomplished nothing.  Furthermore, in light of all the drugs that Americans take, it is a hypocritical war to begin with. It is a war waged by idiots and morons who keep our prisons, courtrooms, and lawyers sucking our taxes and wages for no apparent gain. It is perhaps the most ludicrous endeavor that has ever been created.  It makes Alice in Wonderland look like a reality show.  We have become so blinded by the anti-drug rhetoric that we no longer have the ability to see reality. What did we learn from Prohibition?  “THOSE WHO FORGET THE PAST ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT!” Banning alcohol did not stop the use of liquor nor did it curtail organized crime.  On the contrary, it gave organized crime the income and mandate to expand its power and territory and become even more powerful and dangerous. The same is true for the South American drugs, primarily pot and coke that we are trying to banish. The drug cartels have become so rich and powerful, they are immune to any efforts to abolish them.

bracero-program-poster-series_NTOkThe second reason illegals come over is to find work and to have a better standard of living.  To help others accomplish this, we need to create a new policy for temporary and migratory workers that represents the nature of work needed by immigrants and by employers in the USA. This policy needs to be fair and equitable but also realistic. The relationship we have with Mexico cannot be dictated by the relationships we have with Canada, Europe or any other countries. We need an equitable policy, but there is a difference between equity and equality.  A fair and just policy must create a win-win both for our nation and for the immigrants we give visas or sanctuary to.  There cannot be one size fits all for this policy.  Part of this policy must be humanitarian.  It is in our constitution and in our national charter to help others escape from tyranny, poverty and other calamities.  Part of our immigration policy must also be self-serving.  We need to help our country become stronger and to better meet the needs of competing in a global economy.  Realistically, we may have a cost attached to immigration.

Despite many arguments on the negative and positive costs of immigration, the best evidence to support a more liberal immigration policy is to look at our success as a nation over the last 250 years.  Can anyone doubt that it was immigration that built and fueled the development of this great nation?  We may need to balance short-term costs with long-term gains in a realistic immigration policy but a good policy needs to be slanted towards tolerance for immigration and not intolerance.

I have one final idea. Let’s take the development of an immigration policy away from the politicians and appoint a group of immigration experts from a wide range of viewpoints. Take twelve experts on this subject and put them in a room together.  Give them four weeks to hammer out a new immigration policy. When they are satisfied that such a policy is realistic and equitable, let them distribute this policy to the newspapers and Internet websites for a review by American citizens.  After four weeks of review, let there be a national referendum on the policy.  A plurality of sixty percent should be needed to pass. If sixty percent cannot be reached, the policy will be returned to the experts for further changes and amendments. Once a plurality of American voters has accepted this policy, it would be sent to the Senate and House for review and to become law.  Woe to them if they could not finalize this policy.

Time for Questions:

There are many things you can find wrong with my suggestions. I can hear all the reasons why these ideas would not work. The question I have for you is this: “Can you find any better ideas.” The definition of craziness is to keep doing the same thing and expect different results.  Maybe it is time we tried some new ideas; as Einstein said: “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” We need to discard our prejudices and biases and see things in a new light. What do you think needs to be done?  When was the last time you wrote your representative to express your ideas?  When was the last time you went to a party caucus or actively worked to help elect a representative?  What could you do to help create a new and fair immigration policy for this country?

Life is just beginning.

“The interaction of disparate cultures, the vehemence of the ideals that led the immigrants here, the opportunity offered by a new life, all gave America a flavor and a character that make it as unmistakable and as remarkable to people today as it was to Alexis de Tocqueville in the early part of the nineteenth century.”  ― John F. KennedyA Nation of Immigrants

Who the Hell is Haroon Moghul?

Haroon MoghulNow I am going to confess that I do not know Mr. Moghul.  I have never talked to Mr. Moghul.  I have never emailed Mr. Moghul.  I have never even seen Mr. Moghul until this morning when I found some comments he made on line about the shooting last week in Texas at the cartoon contest for caricatures of Muhammed.   Here are the comments that Mr. Moghul made:

I am Muslim, and after attacks like these, folks always ask, “Do you condemn terrorism?” Or they throw up their hands and say, “Where are the Muslims!” Well, to be blunt: Not at the event. In fact, every major mosque in the Garland, Texas, area not only shrugged off the anti-Islam event happening in their backyard, but also declined to exercise their equal right to peacefully protest it. It appears from early reports that the suspects were not currently involved with a mosque. This is because American Muslims — our mosques and our leadership — reject radicalism out of hand. — (Don’t be fooled by Pamela Geller By Haroon Moghul)

pamelagellerPamela Geller as you may or may not know is the radical anti-Islamist from the East Coast who sponsored the “Free Speech” shindig in Texas.  What could be more American than a free speech contest?  Who could be more American than someone wanting to uphold our First Amendment rights?  Where else in the world would you find a contest proving to the world that Americans are willing to denigrate the beliefs of a large religious following except in Texas?   And I am not talking about the beliefs of Baptists either.

Of course the followers of Ms. Geller immediately launched a reply to Mr. Moghul some of which is as follows:

The clearest indication that Haroon Moghul is a jihad terror-enabling charlatan is the fact that after jihadis attempt to commit mass murder at a free speech event, he doesn’t write a piece defending free speech and explaining why Muslims must accept it, or a piece condemning the Islamic jihadis and explaining why Islam’s death penalty for blasphemy must not be carried out in the modern age, or a piece calling for reform of the teachings and doctrines that Islamic jihadis use to justify violence and supremacism. ­­–  (Don’t be fooled by Haroon Moghul by Robert Spencer)

ExtremistsWho do I believe? Whose logic do I choose: The Jihadist Moghul or the Pro-American anti-Islamist Pam Geller?  This is a tough choice.  My background does not help.  I grew up as a Roman Catholic in an Italian neighborhood in New York.   Jews were evil because they killed Christ.  Protestants were misguided because they rejected the Pope and the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Muslims were bad because they killed a lot of Christians during the Holy Wars and because they thought Muhammed was a better prophet then Jesus.  Hindus were weird because they had too many gods and Buddhists did not believe in God so they could not even be counted as a real religion.  I grew up with a father who was a WW II decorated combat veteran and who hated communists.  The French were not much better than communists to my dad since De Gaulle kicked us out of France shortly after the war was over.  Thus, my religious world was divided into good and bad.  Good= Roman Catholic.  Bad= All other religions or quasi-religions including kooky sects with make believe TV ministers.

ExtremistsSo now we are in this “War on Terror” started by the evil Jihadists.  A war that Europe and America had no responsibility for since all we wanted from the Arabs=Jihadists=Bad, was their oil and a place to send the Jews after the war so that we could expunge our guilt from having let so many of them die in Hitler’s ovens.  Ironic that so much of the Right Wing in America which proclaims to be against Islam also loves the Nazi swastika and anything connected with Heir Adolph.  This is a conundrum.  Nevertheless, I fear the Arabs, or Jihadists putting a bomb on the next plane I take or worse attacking my village in Frederic Wisconsin.  Despite the prevalence of 2nd Amendment rights people up here we might not have adequate munitions to ward off a full scale Islamist attack.  And besides that, we have enough laws already without my having to learn Sharia law.

Thus, I found myself wondering how great the possibility of another 911 was.  How much did I have to fortify my home?  How many rifles, pistols and RPG’s did I need to protect my turf from the evil Arabs?   There were other voices telling me that my fears were misguided.  Indeed, some were saying that I had more to worry about from the Pamela Gellers of the world than from the Ayatollahs.   The Southern Poverty Law center in their recent report on terrorism and hate groups cited the following study in their report in which they seconded the conclusion:

A survey last year of state and local law enforcement officers listed sovereign citizen terrorists, ahead of foreign Islamists, and domestic militia groups as the top domestic terror threat.  The survey was part of a study produced by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. [CNN, 2/20/15]

Freedom of speechAs you know, a study of history is often the best way to understand the current problems we face. As the great philosopher Santayana said “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”  I therefore decided to undertake some historical research into the present animosity that we seem to have toward Arabs and Muslims in this country.  I wanted to see if Mr. Moghul was right or if Ms. Geller was right.  Is it simply a matter of “Free Speech” which those evil Arabs do not understand or is there a larger issue at play here.

Islamist ExtremistsOn the matter of “Free Speech”, it has been noted by some that all speech is not really free.  Some examples of proscribed free speech would include the classic “yelling fire in a crowded theater” but also such examples as burning a cross in your Black neighbor’s yard, telling your attractive co-worker how nice her boobs were, calling 911 on a joke or telling the Judge to go “F” herself.  Nevertheless, it is remarkable that Pam Geller has the guts to stick it to those evil Arabs by ridiculing their holy patriarch.  Somewhat ironic, since the religious right has never been a big supporter of free speech particularly when it comes to anti-war protests or criticizing Christianity.

“Usually, defending free speech rights is much more of a lonely task. For instance, the day before the Paris murders, I wrote an article about multiple cases where Muslims are being prosecuted and even imprisoned by western governments for their online political speech – assaults that have provoked relatively little protest, including from those free speech champions who have been so vocal this week.” —  In Solidarity with a Free Press: More Blasphemous Cartoons, by Glenn Greenwald

Fear-Ignorance1A source of my information was a book by Edward W. Said published in 1981 titled “Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World.”  This book was published nineteen years before 911 and eight years before the first Gulf war.  At this point in American history, most of us did not even know any evil Arabs and there was no War on Terror since it would be 8 years or so before the War on Godless Communists would end with the fall of the Berlin Wall.  We had plenty of other evil people to deal with and did not have to have any evil Arabs.  Most of us had never even had any falafel, hummus or baklava.

So I presumed that what Mr. Said said about the evil Arabs in 1981 might be a somewhat unbiased and as yet uncontaminated view of how Americans viewed Arabs way back over thirty years ago.  Here is what Mr. Said had to say about America’s view of Arabs in 1981:

The modern Western media, says Said, does not want people to know that in Islam both men and women are equal; that Islam is tough on crime and the causes of crime; that Islam is a religion of knowledge par excellence; that Islam is a religion of strong ethical principles and a firm moral code; that socially Islam stands for equality and brotherhood; that politically Islam stands for unity and humane governance; that economically Islam stands for justice and fairness; and that Islam is at once a profoundly spiritual and a very practical religion. Said claims in his book that untruth and falsehood about Islam and the Muslim world are consistently propagated in the media, in the name of objectivity, liberalism, freedom, democracy and progress.This summary is from Wikipedia.

I was startled and amazed by his conclusions.  The evil Arab portrayed in the press in 1981 is the same Evil Arab=Muslim=Jihadist portrayed in the American press today.  Fox News (Sic) commentator Lt. Col Ralph Peter has made the following comments about Islam:

“We do not have an Islamophobia problem in the United States; we have an Islamophilia problem – which places Islam above all criticism. And until we hold Islam to the same standards as every other religion, ethically and behaviorally, terrorism wins.”

Salon Magazine commenting recently about the role of Fox News in promoting Anti-Arab sentiment in America had this to say about the treatment of Arabs and Islam:

“The Islamophobia industry also goes to great lengths to sell its message to the public. The difference, though, is that in many cases the very networks that spread their product are themselves participants in the ruse to whip up public fear of Muslims. This is not a relationship of buyer and seller, where various characters that peddle panic purchase slots on major television networks to plug their merchandise. Rather, it is a relationship of mutual benefit, where ideologies and political proclivities converge to advance the same agenda.

Fox News, the American television station that brands itself as “fair and balanced,” is the epitome of this relationship.  It has been, for the better part of the last decade, at the heart of the public scare-mongering about Islam, and has become the home for a slew of right-wing activists who regularly inhabit its airwaves to distort the truth to push stereotypes about Muslims.” —  www.salon.com  

The comment in Salon was made in 2012 nearly thirty years after Said noted that there was a major effort in the US News to distort the teaching and canons of Islam.  Of course there will be those who note the following:

  • Islamic beheadings
  • Stoning of women guilty of adultery
  • Islamic persecutions of Christians in Arab countries
  • Islamic persecutions of Jews and other minorities

When these problems and atrocities are faithfully reported and repeated ad nausea in the news, it has the effect of distorting and even hiding the threats from other terrorists particularly Right-Wing and religious fanatics.  We see or hear of one Muslim related terror attack such as the Charlie Hebdo killings and we hear of news related items to this event for over two weeks.  In the meantime, other atrocities not related to Islam go unreported and virtually ignored.  Nevertheless,

A Homeland Security report produced in coordination with the FBI in 2014 counts 24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks across the U.S. since 2010.  The government says these are extremists who believe that they can ignore laws and that their individual rights are under attack in routine daily instances such as a traffic stop or being required to obey a court order. DHS Intelligence Report

So let us return to the Patriot or Evil Jihadist (depending on your perspective) Mr. Moghul.  Here was a man who would apparently agree with Mr. Said.  Muslims are not evil people nor are all Muslims good people.  That’s right.  There are “Bad” Muslims. There are also many evil Christians but no one disparages all Christianity even though few people seem to actually practice the teachings of Jesus Christ.

goingtohellIn my home town, the religious right has managed to put up a billboard with the Ten Commandments on it.  I fail to see how this billboard promotes Christianity.  Christ gave us the Eight Beatitudes not the Ten Commandments.  The Ten Commandments are Old Testament.  The Eight Beatitudes are Christian through and through. I have asked many people why they did not put the Beatitudes up and why they put the Ten Commandments up.  I had much rather see Christians follow the Eight Beatitudes today and say they are for Compassion and Love.  Instead, I see too many so-called Christians who are for Hate and Intolerance.  Where did Jesus ever call for Hate or Intolerance?

“At the exhibition ‘Caricatura VI – The Comic Art – analog, digital, international’ in Kassel in Germany, a cartoon created by cartoonist Mario Lars has been removed after protests that it hurt people’s religious feelings.  The drawing depicts Jesus suffering on the cross and a speech bubble, which apparently contains words from God, who says: “Ey… you… I fucked your mother.” The caricature was displayed not only in the exhibition itself, but was also reproduced on a large advertising poster outside the building of Caricatura Gallery.  Barbara Heinrich, the city dean of the Evangelical Church in Kassel, said the caricature crossed a line of what is acceptable.” — Arts Freedom, August 29, 2012.

extremism-cartoonjpg-ff44d0d8e227b4c0I may not like your religion.  I may not like your Gods or your prophets.  But as long as your religion respects the rights of others, I will respect your religion.   I do not see the vast majority of Muslims as a threat to my way of life.  I see Muslim extremists as dangerous and misguided but I view them the same as I view Christian extremists.  Both categories include narrow minded zealots who pose a threat to other people because of their failure to deal with adversity through kindness and love.

Thus, I say that those who profess to be Christians and follow the word of Jesus have no precedent to denigrate, humiliate or ridicule the teachings of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or any other religion that they do not agree with.  Jesus would not have ridiculed or persecuted anyone.  Can you imagine Jesus holding a contest to see who could create the best caricature of a prophet named Muhammed?

Time for Questions:

Are you a Christian?  Do you understand and support the rights of other religions to practice their faiths?  Do you stand up to bullies and zealots who would ridicule and malign other religions?   What will it take for America to become a country that truly is a melting pot and tolerates racial and religious diversity?

Life is just beginning.

“Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.”  ― Voltaire

“Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged”  ― Rumi

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