Monday, July 18, 2005

Shouldn't Christians Ever Have To Answer for Anything?

I hear this all the time on NPR, even on Ed Gordon's wonderful News and Notes: The idea that Muslim communities have some 'splainin to do every time one of "their members" bombs something.

When Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City building, there was no racial profiling of white guys nor was there any call on white people to explain themselves and say "He's just a 'bad white.'" It was taken for granted that Tim could be an individual just like the rest of us.

But when it's another community, Muslims have to explain what "they're" doing. No, "they" aren't doing anything: some people who loosely identify themselves similarly in religious and ethnic terms are doing things. Individuals just like anyone else.

Given the support among fundamentalist rightist conservatives for bombing innocent people abroad and prosecuting terror upon them, why isn't any Christian forced to stand up and say "Most of us are peace-loving people?"


Blogger Sarah said...

The idea that "Muslim" isn't synonymous with "terrorist" is a place to start, I would imagine. How sad a day is this? Really.

I can't believe we have come to this level of culturally reinforced prejudice. It's disgusting.

4:12 PM  
Blogger A Human Bean said...

All people who commit horrible acts should be help accountable. Let not forget the Timothy McVeigh was not a Christian and he never claimed to be one.

10:21 AM  
Blogger derailuer said...

CHRISTIANS PEACE LOVEING> hahahahhahaha thats funny. heres what one of our founding fathers said about CHRISTIANITY

Thomas Jefferson: "I have examined all the known superstitions of the
word, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity
one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and
mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the
introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and
imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half
the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and
error all over the earth."
-- Six Historic Americans by John E. Remsburg, letter to William Short

Jefferson again: "Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system
that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were
perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and
importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of
(Jefferson is now my hero!)

More Jefferson: "The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus
into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial
constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to
themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.

Jefferson's word for the Bible? "Dunghill."

John Adams: "Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds,
Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of other trumpery
that we find religion encumbered with in these days?"

Also Adams: "The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient
cover for absurdity." Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11
states: "The Government of the United States is not in any sense
founded on the Christian religion
Here's Thomas Paine: "I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by
attaching His name to that book (the Bible)." "Among the most
detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than
Moses. Here is an order, attributed to 'God' to butcher the boys, to
massacre the mothers and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not
dare so dishonor my Creator's name by (attaching) it to this filthy
book (the Bible)." "It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the
moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible." "Accustom a
people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins...and you
will have sins in abundance." And; "The Christian church has set up a
religion of pomp and revenue in pretended imitation of a person (Jesus)
who lived a life of poverty."

Finally let's hear from James Madison: "What influence in fact have
Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many
instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In
no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of
the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found
in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to
secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy." Madison
objected to state-supported chaplains in Congress and to the exemption
of churches from taxation. He wrote: "Religion and government will both
exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

These founding fathers were a reflection of the American population.
Having escaped from the state-established religions of Europe, only 7%
of the people in the 13 colonies belonged to a church when the
Declaration of Independence was signed.

Among those who confuse Christianity with the founding of America, the
rise of conservative Baptists is one of the more interesting
developments. The Baptists believed God's authority came from the
people, not the priesthood, and they had been persecuted for this
belief. It was they -- the Baptists -- who were instrumental in
securing the separation of church and state. They knew you can not have
a "one-way wall" that lets religion into government but that does not
let it out. They knew no religion is capable of handling political
power without becoming corrupted by it. And, perhaps, they knew it was
Christ himself who first proposed the separation of church and state:
"Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto the Lord that which
is the Lord's."

In the last five years the Baptists have been taken over by a
fundamentalist faction that insists authority comes from the Bible and
that the individual must accept the interpretation of the Bible from a
higher authority. These usurpers of the Baptist faith are those who
insist they should meddle in the affairs of the government and it is for
they who insist the government should meddle in the beliefs of

The price of Liberty is constant vigilance, folks. Religious
fundamentalism and zealous patriotism have always been the forces which
require the greatest attention.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

"All people who commit horrible acts should be help accountable. Let not forget the Timothy McVeigh was not a Christian and he never claimed to be one. "

Agreed. My point was that there is a lot of white and/or male and/or Christian and/or American violence and terror that members of those groups, so ill-defined, have to answer for. Being a member of the dominant class has its privileges.


Most ordinary people of all ilks are. Most people, I think, don't have the brutality nor the inclination to fight for no reason.

I am somewhat more optimistic about Christianity than the Founders, though I accept their factual premises.

Don't forget Ben Franklin, our favorite deist who said that he didn't believe Jesus was divine but accepted other people's belief as acceptable because it made his teachings better heard.

Thanks for the quotes. I myself am more concerned about the underlying dynamic that helps breed these maniacs in the modern era: the capitalist-state system that will soon spell irreversible doom.

I always respected Anabaptists who thought that no child should be baptized until they were old enough to rationally decide for themselves.

The "Give unto Caesar's" comment is somewhat like a koan (another reason I think Jesus was Buddhist.) What isn't God's?

1:44 PM  

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