The recent TEA Party kerfluffle here in Helena has underscored just how much of the message that we should have learned from 9/11 seems to have been missed by some. An essay in the Onion way back then was a thought-provoking reminder of the basic “love thy neighbor” message of most religions. Re-reading it today, one paragraph particularly struck me (but I have to quote more to give you the flavor and context):
GOD ANGRILY CLARIFIES ‘DON’T KILL’ RULE
Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other Monday. “Look, I don’t know, maybe I haven’t made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again,” said the Lord, His divine face betraying visible emotion during a press conference near the site of the fallen Twin Towers. “Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don’t. And to be honest, I’m really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand…I tried to put it in the simplest possible terms for you people, so you’d get it straight, because I thought it was pretty important,” said God, called Yahweh and Allah respectively in the Judaic and Muslim traditions. “I guess I figured I’d left no real room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get?
…Worse yet, many of the worst violators claim that their actions are justified by passages in the Bible, Torah, and Qur’an. “To be honest, there’s some contradictory stuff in there, okay?” God said. “So I can see how it could be pretty misleading. I admit it—My bad. I did My best to inspire them, but a lot of imperfect human agents have misinterpreted My message over the millennia. Frankly, much of the material that got in there is dogmatic, doctrinal bullshit. I turn My head for a second and, suddenly, all this stuff about homosexuality gets into Leviticus, and everybody thinks it’s God’s will to kill gays. It absolutely drives Me up the wall.” …Growing increasingly wrathful, God continued: “Can’t you people see? What are you, morons? There are a ton of different religious traditions out there, and different cultures worship Me in different ways. But the basic message is always the same: Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Shintoism… every religious belief system under the sun, they all say you’re supposed to love your neighbors, folks! It’s not that hard a concept to grasp.”
“Why would you think I’d want anything else? Humans don’t need religion or God as an excuse to kill each other—you’ve been doing that without any help from Me since you were freaking apes!” God said. “The whole point of believing in God is to have a higher standard of behavior. How obvious can you get?”
So how does this tie into the TEA Party controversy? It comes down to people trying to justify un-Godly behavior in the name of lofty principles.
I tend to be a smart aleck and admit I have a quirky sense of humor, so I don’t tend to get offended too often when somebody is being verbally clever and witty even if the message is a little inappropriate – but when I read about the FB exchanges (the actual FB link has been taken down, so this is the best I can link to now) between Tim Ravndal, Kristi Allen-Gailushas, and some of their friends I was more than offended, I was disgusted. Not surprised, mind you – but offended and disgusted. Tim and Kristi had both been publicly discussing the proposed sex-ed curriculum for the past several weeks, and it was obvious from their comments that neither of them was very open-minded about the school district’s agenda, especially in relation to homosexual issues – about which they were very aware and outspoken. Common pejoratives fell trippingly off their tongues in group situations. These self-proclaimed “Christians” and “Patriots” had no compunction about demeaning a segment of the population and arguing for limiting their civil rights. This is the basis of hatred that leads to violence and murder, and the unimaginable slaughter of not just one or two but thousands in the name of God.
If we take nothing else away from that horrible day, can we please just stop a moment and remember that one Commandment?
Oh – here’s how the essay ended…
“I’m talking to all of you, here!” continued God, His voice rising to a shout. “Do you hear Me? I don’t want you to kill anybody. I’m against it, across the board. How many times do I have to say it? Don’t kill each other anymore—ever! I’m fucking serious!”
Upon completing His outburst, God fell silent, standing quietly at the podium for several moments. Then, witnesses reported, God’s shoulders began to shake, and He wept.
It’s not enough to simply remember – we have to vow “never again”.