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                I cannot believe I am about to write this.

                That’s bullshit, I can believe it.

                Yeah… yeah I can definitely believe it.  What I cannot believe is, again, what I have just read that is going around as an email meme. 

                There is a 44 cent stamp coming out, via the United States Postal Service commemorating the Muslim holidays of Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.  Now, before I go any further, I am going to explain just what the hell these holidays mean.

                First off is Eid Al-Adha.  It translates to “Festival of Sacrifice”, and commemorates the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham in westernized lingo) to sacrifice his son at God’s command, but is instead allowed to sacrifice a ram, having already showed his devotion.  It is considered a great celebration lasting three or four days amongst Muslims.  Traditionally, a domestic animal such as a sheep or goat was sacrificed, and divided into thirds.  One third would be eaten by the family, one third would be given to relatives, friends or neighbors, and the final third would be given to the poor. 

                Next is Eid Al-Fitr.  It roughly translates to “Festival of Breaking the Fast”.  It comes at the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, during which devout Muslims give up all excess and anything ill-natured in an effort to come closer to God.  It is very similar to the Christian holiday of Lent.  The idea of Eid Al-Fitr is to deny oneself indulgences, in an effort to purify oneself.  In a practical, psychological viewpoint, even disregarding religion, it is the denial of what one wants, in an effort to prove its value.  Even more so, when religion is involved, it becomes an exercise of proving to oneself and one’s deity that you have the wherewithal and willpower to transcend your earthly weaknesses.

                Have we all got that?  I’ll take a moment, let it sink it… let you re-read it.

                Got it now?  Good.

                I received an email about this stamp coming into existence.  About how we, as good Americans, should boycott this stamp because of the actions of extremists.  Specifically, extremists that the popular media has painted to be “Good, God-fearing Muslims”.  Now while I understand that, in this great and beautiful nation of ours, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and the right to express it, I too have that right.  And I am about to express it.

                ARE YOU GODDAMN KIDDING ME?!

                This to me is one of the single most racist, bigoted, ill-informed, hare-brained, exclusionist and derogatory things I have seen in a hell of a long time. It inspired in me such a fire that I have to do this.  What the hell are people thinking?  I mean it!  UNDERSTAND SOMETHING: WE WERE NEVER FOUNDED AS A CHRISTIAN NATION!  It is a modern conceit that the God referred to in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution is the Christian God.  I say that, and feel the bile rise in my throat, because it is the same damn God for Judaism, Christianity and the Muslim religion.  You heard me say it, and guess what?  The leaders of those religions will tell you I am right.

                We were not founded as a Christian nation.  We were founded for purely political reasons, and one of the things they insured was the freedom of all men to worship as they saw fit, and later it was added that no one was to be discriminated against because of their religious persuasion.

                I want to put some emphasis on that.  NO ONE WAS TO BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE OF THEIR RELIGIOUS PERSUASION.  And what the flying hell does this do, this email message? DISCRIMINATE!  If you want to start talking about records for religious violence, by all means let’s do so.

                I am going to start with the Christians.  Two words for you, buckos: The Crusades.  Four completely unnecessary, violent, bloody, consuming wars that were perpetrated under the pretense of religion.  What we did was plunder, rape, destroy, consume, persecute and, in general, act like a bunch of frat boys on spring break.  We did things to the Holy Land that would take CENTURIES to undo.  Let’s get that right, historically, we took the fight to them first.  Am I saying the attacks should have happened?  Hell no.  Am I saying they were justified?  Hell no.  Am I saying we did it first?  Yes I am.

                The Jewish people.  I have a good number of friends that are Jewish, so let me say right now, this is not my dissertation on any shortcomings you may have.  God knows, there is great beauty to your religion.  But let us not forget instances like the Six Day War, the massacre at Jenin, and a long and tawdry violent history with Palestine.  There has been a lot of blood spilled, and let us not forget that the Israelis devised one of the most devastating martial arts for their forces, called Krav Maga.  Am I saying that the Jewish people are vicious, warlike animals?  Nope.  Am I saying that they have no right to Jerusalem?  Nope.  Am I saying that they have perpetuated the cycle of violence?  Yes, I am.

                What I am getting at here is that not one of us is innocent.  All of our hands, as religious groups, are bloody.  Even as a nation, we have perpetrated acts of horrendous violence inside the borders of our nation, to our own citizens, ourselves.  The Native Americans… The violent attacks of the Civil Rights Era… The camps of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor… The persecution of Muslim citizens within our borders…

                THOSE WITHOUT SIN MAY CAST THE FIRST STONE!  THAT IS FROM YOUR OWN HOLY BOOK!

                I am getting more and more disgusted, and I have come to realize why it is America is seen as a great nation full of ignorant assholes, acting like children with the freedoms they have.  It is grotesque how we have become intolerant.  And by this, I mean our intolerance of all things that do not fit in the modern concept of McMonoculture we seem to be forcing down the throats of everyone on this planet.  We are so engrossed with our own hubris that we refuse to see we are losing the spirit of our nation, in favor of the words that make up our country. 

                So I am going to say this right now: Don’t send me emails like this anymore.  Please.  I am willing to bet my blood pressure spiked a good 30 points just by reading it.  And given my family history with cardiac issues, spiking like that may just push me into a cardiac infarction.  More to the point, it disgusts me.  I said it: it disgusts me.  It takes the wind out of my sails, and leaves me in such a state of distaste, that I actually get a feeling of physical discomfort.  This comes right before my mind and heart blossoms into a raging bonfire of rage and indignation.

                How dare you call yourself a patriot of this nation, when you so willingly disregard the basic tenets of our country?  How dare you consider yourself a good Christian, when you do not turn the other cheek, as Jesus told us to?  How dare you consider yourself a good American, when you say that we cannot celebrate our glorious differences that make us strong as a nation?  How dare you?

                If this offends you… maybe you ought to ask yourself why.  Maybe you ought to take a good long look at yourself, inside and out, and find out why it is you feel such indignation against a class of people, blaming a religious nation for the actions of a few.  And maybe, just maybe, you ought to take a good long look at what you are doing, and how, not only is it as deplorable as the actions of those terrorists who did indeed kill innocents, but is also such a racist view that you run the risk of becoming as bad as the extremists you claim to hate.

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3 Comments

  1. Right on. The people who don’t see the parallel–blame everyone in a culture because of the actions of a few–must not stop to think that by that logic they themselves should be blamed for the actions of a few terrible Christians.

    It’s not true for Christians, and it’s not true for Muslims.

    Mostly though, it’s that the loudest minority have been allowed to represent everyone. Thank you for bucking the trend.

  2. It is likely that when the founding fathers wrote religious diversity into the mix, they meant CHRISTIAN religious diversity. At that time, religious pluralism wasn’t a concept even recognized much less followed. It was assumed that one religion was dominant and the others were simply wrong. It can be tempting to forget that cultural, religious, and political pluralism are relatively recent developments and played little or no part in the considerations of earlier thought.

    That said…

    You are correct that the REASON for putting protections for religious practice into the Constitution was political. The founders were worried about a ‘state’ version of Christianity being used to crush different sects, a true weapon in a series of colonies of different protestant faiths. Whatever the case, there was never an intent to make government Christian, and any external group trying to do so NOW defeats the spirit, if not the original intent and purpose, of that document.

  3. +5


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