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One more time the Religious Right put its mouth in gear before activating its brain: On the September 13 edition of the 700 Club, Reverends Falwell and Robertson reacted to the tragic events of September 11 with their normal prejudice. The following are emails and press releases commenting on those thoughtless remarks.
Several of the writers below reference the video file of the show at http://www.cbn.com. As of September 20, 2001, that video file is not available on the CBN website. However, Pat Robertson's statement is available on the site, as is Gerry Falwell's apology[Editor's Note: these links are unavailable as of 2/12/03.]
A particularly thought-provoking email is that of Afghani-American writer Tamin Ansary.
At the bottom of this page are links to the websites of some of the organizations referenced by Falwell and Robertson.
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001
From: "Robert E. Nordlander"
Subject: Pat Robertson: "This is God's power and he sent this thing to warn us...we needed a shock..."
Lynne Schultz sends the following via the National Atheist Ombuds network:
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW:
On Thursday's [13 Sep 2001] episode of the 700 Club (09/13/01), both Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell said that the terrorist attacks on the 11th happened because America lost God's protection. A video file of the show is available at http://www.cbn.com
Pat Robertson said we have sinned against God, that the Supreme Court has insulted God over and over, that we (America) have allowed rampant pornography and secularism, taken God out of the schools, taken away the Ten Commandments, legalized abortion. He said, "we have insulted God at the highest level of our government" and that "this happened because we lost God's protection and now we're vulnerable...". He admonished us to humble ourselves, pray and turn from "wicked ways", and that "we must come back to God as a people". He said, "if you're not right with God, get yourself right with God" and that "it happened because people are evil but it also happened because God lifted his protection of us...we must have a spiritual revival". He also blamed "sexual perversion", evil and the "pervading secularism" that is exported through the Internet and through our films.
He also talked with Jerry Falwell. Falwell said "the Lord has protected us the past 225 years...I fear that this is just the beginning...this could be minuscule if God continues to lift the curtain and allow our enemies in. He also said that "the ACLU's gotta take a lot of blame for this" for "throwing God out of the public square" and out of schools.
Then Falwell said, "the pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians...the ACLU, People For the American Way and all those that tried to secularize America -you helped that happen" to which Robertson replied, "I concur".
Robertson again: "this is God's power and he sent this thing to warn us...we needed a shock...I'm sorry that innocent people had to die but the best thing that could happen is for the nation to turn to God."
1) press release 2) request for coverage from the media 3) letters to the editor exposing Robertson and Falwell's comments, expressing our sadness over the attacks and condolences for the victims, and also denouncing their blaming of secularism or the secular community for this tragedy. If you have a press release or letter you'd like me to post on this list, please send it to email@example.com.
Lynne (aka Godlessheathen) EARTHWARD, Inc. (Earth's Atheist Resistance To Holy Wars And Religious Devastation) --> http://earthward.net
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001
From: "Robert E. Nordlander"
Subject: Reaction to Falwell & Robertson's Stupid Remarks Re WTC & Pentagon Tragedies
CSH Press Release For Immediate Release: September 14, 2001
Contact: Katherine Bourdonnay, Communications Director at 716-636-7571 ext 313
No Time for Hatred Cloaked in Religion
Amherst, NY -- "As if our country has not suffered enough at the hands of religious fanatics with the recent terrorist attacks, we are now treated to even more hatred cloaked in the mantle of religion, courtesy of Jerry Falwell," said Ed Buckner, Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism. Falwell said on a Broadcast of the 700 Club, "I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists, and the feminists and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative life style, the ACLU, the People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"
Despite a hasty and equally insulting apology, Falwell's first instincts underscore the vitriol that some faith based leaders are capable of, according to Buckner. "Comments like those of Jerry Falwell, concurred in by Pat Robertson, are profoundly un-American. At a time of horrendous national tragedy, we urge everyone, whether religious or not, to act and speak with restraint and respect for all our fellow citizens," said Buckner.
"I can't help wondering how the family and friends of David Charlebois, the gay co-pilot who lost his life on the American Airlines jet that crashed into the Pentagon, feel when they hear Falwell's hateful remarks," said D.J. Grothe, Field Director for the Council for Secular Humanism. "We are all grieving at this time. Some of us take comfort in the solace of their religious beliefs, but many others of us are able to express our compassion without recourse to religion. Everyone, religious or nonreligious should be respected at this time," added Grothe.
The Council for Secular Humanism, headquartered in Amherst, New York, has joined thousands of other organizations around the world in condemning the violent attack on innocent people and in expressing our heartfelt sympathy for the victims and their families. "Secular humanists, like everyone else in these difficult days, are concerned about the great pain so many of us are enduring and the future safety of us all. Those of us who devote our lives to reasoned dissent and questioning know that now is surely a time for restraint and mutual respect and support. There will be time soon enough for thoughtful disagreement and criticism," said Buckner.
The Council, founded by philosopher Paul Kurtz, represents nontheists who have adopted a positive moral philosophy and a strong interest in living the good life and helping to educate others. We work hard, we reflect carefully, and we are happily developing that good, moral life without religion. The Council for Secular Humanism publishes Free Inquiry magazine and supports many programs and educational efforts all over the world.
[Editor's Note: this link is unavailable as of 2/12/03]Click Here to review press coverage of Robertson and Falwell's comments by the Washington Blade
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS.
I AM MARIE ALENA CASTLE, PRES. OF ATHEIST ALLIANCE
An unimaginably heartbreaking event rivets the attention of the world. It is almost the only news story for days, destined to become the dominant news story for a very long time. The talk is all of retaliation. All analyses, all discussions center on what happened. Nowhere is there talk of why it happened beyond the superficial, although entirely accurate, assessments of the terrorists' evil fanaticism.
This is only the latest bloody stop on the long and bloody road our heedless ancestors blundered onto a couple of thousand years ago in the Middle East. A sect of nascent Christianity, eager to curry favor with the Roman political power structure, created a story about the crucifixion of their savior-god, Jesus, in which they took the blame off the Romans and put it on the Jews, The curse supposedly uttered by the Jews: "His blood be upon us and upon our children" (Matthew 27:25) justified two centuries of vicious Christian persecution of Jews as "Christ killers."
Then onto that bloody road came the Muslims, whose god was Allah and whose prophet was Mohammed and who invaded much of Europe along the Mediterranean and into Spain before being beaten back to the Middle East where they occupied the Holy Land.
Next came the Crusades, making several heinous stops on the road, with popes sending army after army (including one of young children) to rescue the Holy Land from the infidel Muslims, who fought back ferociously against the infidel Christians to an eventual 20th century détente. So we have the followers of Yahweh, Jesus, and Allah, all claiming the Holy Land as the place from which their gods sprang and from which they preached peace but incited to violence.
The centuries-long Christian hatred of Jews peaked in an extraordinarily brutal way with Hitler's "final solution." This horrible stop on the bloody road only created the conditions for the current bloodshed in the Middle East. The Jews' victimization enabled their Zionist movement to exert pressure successfully on Britain to create the state of Israel within Palestine (which Britain controlled) in 1948. As one would expect, the Palestinians resisted, and it has been one bloodbath after another on both sides ever since.
The Zionists claim Israel belongs to them because it is the Promised Land given to them by Yahweh. Secular Jews with little interest in Yahweh so distrust Christians after 2,000 years of persecution that they need to feel there is a place to run to, even if the need is unlikely. Christian fundamentalists support Israel because the Bible says Israel must exist at the time of the Second Coming. Palestinians are shunted into marginal living conditions because of Zionist expansion and Palestinian refusal to concede the land. The United States supports Israel with billions of
dollars a year and, in the interest of a steady supply of oil, tries to kill Saddam Hussein but succeeds only in killing thousands of innocent civilians, thus setting us up to be vilified as the "Great Satan" by the Islamic nations.
One could not ask for more fertile ground for the rise of zealots. We have spent 2,000 years creating victims. Victims take to whatever savior is at hand. They hear the cry, "Follow me! Our God is on our side! Kill the infidel!" and willingly kill and die for their cause, however fraudulent. There are no innocent leaders here. All understand what the Roman philosopher Seneca said: "Religion is what the common people see as true, the wise people see as false, and the rulers see as useful."
There are Palestinians celebrating September 11 and the deaths of thousands of innocent people. There are Americans joyfully anticipating the U.S. bombing and killing thousands of innocent Islamic people. All, Palestinians and Americans, are otherwise good, decent people. But as physicist and Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg said, "With or without religion, you will have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things, but for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." After 2,000 years on this bloody road, let's get off and take the road of reason.
Contact: Tony Hileman, Executive Director
American Humanist Association
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Washington - September 14, 2001) Civilized people everywhere are stunned by the recent acts of terrorism in our nation. The unprecedented loss of life is simply too much for our staggered imagination to absorb. It is a tragedy we are not yet ready to face, yet confront it we must if our nation's compassionate perspective is not to be overwhelmed by irrational vengeance. In the emotional atmosphere of retaliation, we need a response born of reason.
Tony Hileman, executive director of the American Humanist Association (AHA) reacts to the recent tragedy: "Freedom itself has come under attack and our collective anger is understandable and justified. But reason, not anger, must be our guide and we must take care not to tear down the components of freedom in our effort to secure it. Our civil liberties and rights, and our open society, must not be compromised in the defense of freedom. Governments and guns alone cannot maintain freedom. Nor can the tactics of terrorists destroy it. Only we, the citizens of the world, can choose to do either.
"The truest defense of a civilized society is a compassionate culture that respects the worth and dignity of each person while taking into consideration the needs of all. The reasoned principles of consideration and compromise are anathema to those of absolutist views, yet we must coexist harmoniously with those unlike ourselves if we are to preserve hope for a better world.
"Rev. Jerry Falwell's recent statement on the 700 Club that secular groups share the blame for this tragedy by evoking 'God's anger against America' is precisely the kind of closed-minded finger pointing that we must turn away from. "Rather than righteous blame, let us address cultural and economic causes as well as effects. Rather than revenge, let us set our efforts toward bridging ideological differences. Rather than being dragged down to the level of others, let us rise to the height of our own ideals."
Edd Doerr, president of the AHA, says that Falwell went too far in saying to all "who have tried to secularize America--I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'" In stating that God allowed us to be given what we deserve, Falwell comes dangerously close to declaring the terrorists to be agents of God. Doerr goes on to say, "I am confident that the people of our county will recognize this demagoguery for what it is and that Americans of all persuasions will unite to address this attack on freedom and humanity."
By Gerry Dantone
While the country was still reeling from shock and sadness over the attack on American freedom, there were those who agreed with the suspected perpetrators that those very freedoms we cherish so dearly were the deserved cause of the attacks and permitted by a God who would not protect us on account of those freedoms. It is incredible that this response needed to be written when the nation's focus should be on the victims and their families, but, unfortunately, it is necessary.
Saying that these remarks may not be popular in the US, a prominent fundamentalist religious leader, on Thursday, said the following:
The US has "insulted God at the highest level of (the US) government, and stuck its finger in your eye" and that "this (the terrorist attacks) happened because we lost God's protection and now we're vulnerable." The US has allowed "rampant pornography and secularism and legalized abortion" he continued. The US must now pray and turn from its "wicked ways," and that the US "must come back to God as a people." He added, "It happened because people are evil and God lifted his protection of (the US)" and that this has happened because the US has "sinned against God." This fundamentalist also blamed "sexual perversion, evil" and the "pervasive secularism and the occult, etc.," that is "exported to the world through the Internet and through (US) films." The US has "sown the wind and is reaping the whirlwind."
Another prominent fundamentalist leader claimed, "This could be minuscule if God continues to lift the curtain" and blamed the lack of "God in the public square" for the US trouble. He added, "The pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians … and all those that tried to secularize America - you helped this happen." The other fundamentalist leader agreed saying, "I totally concur."
Finally in summary, he said "This is God's power and he sent this thing to warn us…(the US) needed a shock…".
All of the above statements could have come from an explicit supporter of Islamic radical terrorist Osama bin Laden, but of course they did not. They are the words uttered by Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell on the Thursday 9/13/01 edition of the 700 Club. Yes, even though the most probable and suspected perpetrators also believe in the above "crimes" of the US, the actual culprits according to Robertson and Falwell are those whose values are the opposite of theirs and bin Laden's! This attempted scapegoating of secularists is not unlike the Nazi scapegoating of Jews in Nazi Germany. Tim LaHaye's recent book, "Mind Siege," is perhaps the fundamentalist version of "Mein Kampf."
Besides being unsupported by a shred of any evidence, the remarks and attitudes of US Christian fundamentalist leaders are divisive and unethical. It is time that the media takes Robertson, Falwell and other fundamentalists to task: Religious Fundamentalism is the most likely cause of the deaths of 5000 innocent persons this week in the US, and of untold human misery across this planet. Absolute certainty that one possesses the Word of God is an absolute power that corrupts absolutely. It is time to tell it like it is.
(A video file of the show was available at www.cbn.com, though it may not be available for long.)
From: Gerry Dantone Editor,
LISH INQUIRER PO Box 119 Greenlawn, NY 11740
Phone 516 742 4614 FAX 516 742 4618
KC Star only accepts letters 150 words or less, so I'm cutting the last paragraph for the particular newspaper before sending it. If anyone else needs a very short letter and has trouble writing one, feel free to use mine. If you leave the last paragraph in tact it is 257 words:
On The 700 Club, two days after the terrible attack, Jerry Falwell said, "the pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians...the ACLU, People For the American Way and all those that tried to secularize America -you helped that happen" to which host Pat Robertson replied, "I totally concur".
Robertson later said, "this is God's power and he sent this thing to warn us...we needed a shock...I'm sorry that innocent people had to die but the best thing that could happen is for the nation to turn to God."
It's a punch in the gut to any victims of this tragedy, or their loved ones, who do not subscribe to The 700 Club's agenda. Atheist and Humanist groups have publicly expressed condolences to the victims and their families, while Robertson and Falwell are pouring salt in the wounds of non-Christians and liberal Christians who have suffered physical injuries and/or the loss of their loved one(s).
The irony is that the attacks were likely to have been motivated by a fundamentalist, theocratic version of Islam, not secularism. The attackers, if they are Bin Laden's group, also oppose pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays and lesbians, and the freedoms that organizations such as the ACLU and PFAW work to protect. Both theocratic Islam and theocratic Christianity, which is the Christianity Robertson and Falwell advocate, seek to destroy the heretics using violent means if necessary (remember when Robertson said UFO enthusiasts should be stoned to death?) and both oppose the kind of religious freedom that we need to retain our unity as a nation.
Above forwarded by Lynne (aka Godlessheathen) EARTHWARD, Inc. (Earth's Atheist Resistance To Holy Wars And Religious Devastation) --> http://earthward.net
The following was sent to me by my friend Tamim Ansary. Tamim is an Afghani-American writer. He is also one of the most brilliant people I know in this life. When he writes, I read. When he talks, I listen. Here is his take on Afghanistan and the whole mess we are in.
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2001 8:58 PM
Subject: Fw: Islaam vs the West
Dear Gary and whoever else is on this email thread:
I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on San Francisco's KGO Talk Radio, conceded today that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."
And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived in the United States for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.
But the Taliban and bin Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan"think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats' nest of international thugs holed up in their country.
Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan --a country with no economy, no food..
There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and healthcare? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans; they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban -- by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.
So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that, folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
And guess what: That's bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the West. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the West wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose; that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong -- in the end the West would win, whatever that would mean -- but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours.
Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?
Sept. 14, 2001
September 15, 2001
This week Jerry Falwell said that God allowed the attacks on our nation because we've become an evil nation, that feminists, lesbians, the ACLU and People United for the American Way were demonstrations of the evil permeating our country.
Another Christian sent an email saying that our own evil did us in. Here is my reply.
"This attack did not happen because the United States is an evil country. This attack happened because some mentally ill people got access to a lot of money and garnered a lot of power and set out to do massive harm. If that makes us evil, then Jeffrey Dauber and Timothy McVeigh made us evil. But their crimes do not mean that we are all evil and these terrorists' crimes do not mean that we are all evil. This evil is not our own.
"The USA is a country that honors diverse opinions, religions and political leanings. It is a country where women are respected and treated like the intelligent, worthy human beings they are. It is a country that overwhelmingly understands that biological differences are not moral failures; We have rights whether we are black or gay or disabled. This is a country where we are free to voice our opposition to the powers-that-be, where we will not be imprisoned or killed for disagreeing with the government or the state religion. It is a country with the wisdom to see that mandated religion is the cause of much of the world's conflict, so it constitutionally protects religious expression and affiliation and restricts the right of the government to form a state religion.
"Our country's Constitution protects your rights as well as those of the Muslim down my street and the Jew next door. If that is evil, count me in.
"This country has problems, to be sure. Show me one that doesn't. But we are a massive and powerful entity that has demonstrated kindness to others again and again by forgiving foreign debts of third world countries that are hard pressed to feed their people, rushing in to assist after natural disasters, lending a hand in unjust wars. Indeed, sometimes we've found out that our kindness was misplaced. If you are busy doing things, you're going to make mistakes. But a bigger mistake would be to do nothing.
"We fight among ourselves, but that's because we care so much. And it's also because we know we are safe to express our opinions in this USA of ours. We have the right to disagree. Many countries don't offer that luxury.
"Too many Christians are saying that God is allowing this to happen to us because we are an evil nation. I suggest they look a little closer at the good old USA. I can point out a list of problems in our country, yes indeed. But my list would differ from yours. What you consider worthy I might oppose. But the opposite is true as well. And that's our greatest gift. I can make a mighty fine list of the things that are right with America, too.
"I don't believe in a mean-spirited, spiteful God. If God allowed this unbelievable horror in order to teach us a lesson, a lot of people should do a lot of soul searching about who they are worshipping. That kind of God has nothing to do with love. And I'll have nothing to do with him."
Kellie Sisson Snider
Date: Sun, 16 Sep 2001
From: "Robert E. Nordlander"
Subject: Bin Laden, Falwell & Robertson are ALTE KAMERADEN!
From: Peter Lesperance
I don't care if you are in a synagogue, a mosque, or a church; never trust a man that can only understand the world when it is packaged to him with the complexity of a comic book.
Osama bin Laden's personal aide said that bin Laden has described the devastation in the United States as ``a punishment from Allah,''. Television evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two of the most prominent voices of the religious right, said liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for Tuesday's terrorist attacks because their actions have turned God's anger against America.
"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and he feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, "'You helped this happen.' "
In capitalism, the ability to produce product is always being stifled by the limitations of consumption. In organized religion, the ability to control is always related to how many people they can thoroughly impose the "fear of God". In Capitalism, limited consumption gives the mass media their critical importance. Using the same tactics as the mass media, fears are given to you through the indoctrination of religious mythology and dogma. In Capitalism, the objective is to fuse commodity consumption with self worth, as is the goal of sin in religion.
Consequently, the self-image and ego come under siege. In capitalism, the self feels devalued if it cannot secure status-producing product, and in the religious, the self feels devalued if it cannot earn the love of GOD acquired only through the self-actualization of moral perfection.
Let's get this straight once and for all. These are not men of God. They are fear pimps.
Religious fundamentalist can only survive through the creation of and cultivation of Fear. They can use their religion to justify nearly ever-human crime that has ever been committed as long as the means justified their ends. Their God, according to both Osama bin Laden as well as Falwell and Robertson murdered some 6,000 + people on Tuesday. If you ask bin Laden, one of many reasons we are hated by Allah is because, we educated our women. If you ask Falwell's fat ass its because ACLU won't let him blur the separation between church and state so we can live under the Christian equivalent of the Taliban. Organized religions neurotic pedagogy of loving what you fear is simply asinine. That is how they expect to manage your obedience. This is my problem with religious fundamentalism. They impose the fear of God in you like that is a good thing. The problem I have with them is that they deal in the creation and cultivation of fear as well as in offering solutions to those fears. They sell you the cure to their own custom-made diseases.
This is the God of the fundamentalist; a God that doesn't follow within perceptible bounds of logic; nor does it seem to be bound by even its own laws but just some tyrant that displays its violence somewhat arbitrarily towards its far lesser subjects essentially demanding we
love him out of fear of our own lives.
Essentially this God makes no sense and they know it. His God's actions appear to be at times arbitrary, contradictory and often down right unjust. This not even Osama bin Laden will deny. He will just dismiss these charges as on our inability to "comprehend the infinite." Pretty convenient huh?
To the religious fundamentalist God's purpose is to provide man with the validity he needs to justify his actions towards others. This God is simply a tool man uses, to obtain political power through which God gives legitimacy for whatever they hoped to impose of their victims.
Falwell and Osama bin Laden know that they are in the business of holding off inevitable disillusionment, because they preach that one can avoid a life void of suffering if the laws of God are followed correctly. They know that this is an impossibility. Shit happens. They know this and you know this. So when tragedy does fall they quickly blame you for it.
And so what we get are fundamentalists saying that God is punishing us for not being like them.
I always thought not being like them was a good thing. So far they haven't proved me wrong.
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001
From: "Robert E. Nordlander"
Subject: A Female Journalistic Jackal Posing as a "Great and Profound Thinker"
"This is no time to be precious about locating the exact individuals directly involved in this particular terrorist attack.... We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."
--Syndicated columnist Ann Coulter (New York Daily News, 9/12/01)
September 18, 2001
I am leading my church's annual women's retreat this year. In August, Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church's women's group lost its reservations with Lake Sharon Christian Retreat Center in Corinth, Texas, because the Lake Sharon board decided to stop renting to Unitarians. We had a contract and paid a deposit. The center returned the deposit and broke the contract six months after it was signed.
During our search for a new location, we came across Camp Copass, in Denton, Texas. The young woman who answered the phone asked, "Are you Unitarians?" I said that we were. She said, "You have to talk to someone else." A man came on the line and told me, "We used to rent to you people, but we don't any more. It's nothing personal; It's just a matter of beliefs."
Initially I was shocked. That gave way to hurt and anger. What could be more personal? I said, "This certainly isn't very Christ-like. I'm disappointed and saddened that you've decided to discriminate in this way." He had no reply.
Today we're hearing of many, many hate crimes and other acts of hatred against Muslims and others who look like they are from the Middle East. Our women's group's experience of discrimination was painful, but nothing like what they are experiencing. Yet it gave me just a little taste of what it is like to be judged unfairly, to have bigotry pointed at me.
I'm a white, upper-middle class woman. Until the Boy Scouts informed UU churches that our boys can no longer earn religion badges because they disagree with our theology- specifically, that they disapprove of our accepting attitudes toward homosexuals and atheists- I had never personally experienced discrimination. I had only tried to imagine what it must be like.
Now I've had a tiny taste of that bitterness. And it doesn't come close to what our neighbors are experiencing. Muslim women are afraid to drive their cars because they have been harassed- their head coverings announce their faith to the world. College students are asking for leaves of absence because of the mistreatment they are receiving on U.S. college campuses. Sikh men have been intensively questioned by the FBI because they wear turbans and may have lived near or worked in the same company with someone connected to the attack.
I know the FBI is facing a challenge the likes of which I will never fully understand, and I support them doing what they have to do. But that doesn't change the fact that many US citizens are now suspects in a crime they had nothing to do with.
It's up to us to reach out to each other. It's up to me to find a way to forgive those who have discriminated against me, even when they still cannot accept me as I am. And it's essential that we support our neighbors, hold their hands during this time when they may be considered suspect through no fault of their own. We must stand up for them when we see discrimination on a local level. If it's scary for us, try to imagine what it is like for them.
That is something each of us can do for the war effort. Send a letter. Make a call. Look into each other's eyes as we shake hands. Speak up when someone is unjustly treated. Start where you are. Start today.
Kellie Sisson Snider
[Some of these organizations were referenced by Jerry Falwell]