Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Men of the cloth have no clothes

July 23, 2012

Men of the cloth.

They know things. They can always tell us what is good and what is evil.

Go to church, pray, love your neighbor, have faith even when you can’t understand, and accept what you can not change.

They tell  us to pray so God can guide us to make the decisions He’d like us to make no matter how difficult they may be.

Well, until they themselves really have to take a stand that would make a difference, that is.

A few days ago, men of the cloth representing the Presbyterian church failed to  divest from companies such as Caterpillar, Motorola, etc… that make equipments that aid  occupation  (form of apartheid, really) of the WEST Bank and Gaza?

Granted, the vote was close (333-331). But why even was it so close? How could 333 men of the cloth, who supposedly fight for social justice and preach against abetting evil, vote for investing in companies that raze innocent people’s homes?

If these pillars of virtues can’t even bring themselves to stand against occupations (a term the U.N. uses, by the way, not just me) and speak truth to power, then why are they relevant at all?

Every thing they have been telling us (well, at least about things that really matter) seems like a lie.

The men of the cloth have no clothes.

ekwaysan

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Chaplains: Analgesic for the evils in a soul?

July 1, 2012

What is a military chaplain job’s description?

I have always wondered about that. It all used to look oxymoronic to me. Until I read that PTSD is on the rise among soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, that is.

It is tough to be a soldier. Soldiers, like the rest of us, have conscience and moral codes. Unlike the rest of us though, they’re trained, and often ordered, to sniff the life out of others. The problem is,  with the frequency of our needless wars increasing,  those “Others” begin to look like “Us” and soldiers may have hard time doing what they had been trained to do.

Enter military chaplains.

Is it part of a chaplain’s job to comfort helpless soldiers when they’re ordered to wake up families at night and interrogate the terrorized population? Does a chaplain tell soldiers, contra the Ten commandments, it is ok to shoot to kill people when they don’t even know why and who it is they’re killing? Does the chaplain absolve soldiers’ of their sins when innocent kids are killed as a result of their actions?  Does a chaplain also adopt the military term “collateral damage” to justify killing innocent folks?

It is like chaplains mostly  heal the devil in a soldier’s injured soul so he/she can go on and fight for another day.

Is this the Christian thing to do then?

ekwaysan

The “Kill List” and a nation’s soul

June 8, 2012

Our latest product is a “Kill List”.

Unless  you have been aboard Venus transiting across the sun  the past  week, you probably have heard of  the “kill list”. This is a list of people  our Nobel Peace Prize winner president approves to be killed weekly via drones. He is the jury, the judge, and the executioner.

After bombing a certain target, the president does not stop there. Rather he authorizes the bombings of the rescuers whom ever they happened to be. He even authorizes the bombings of funerals!

Unless these drones are firing M & M’s, a significant number of civilians must have been killed. Independent sources  have borne this obvious conclusion out.

However, since he cares about innocent people being killed, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and self-proclaimed devoted Christian  has come up with an ingenious way to prevent killing civilians. He redefines what a civilian means: Any male of combatant age near a strike zone; never mind rescuers or funerals!

The news outlets have been overwhelmingly praising Obama’s effort since a New York times article exposed it last week.

I am not offering here a political critique of the drones attacks on civilians. I am just wondering whether we have our eyes open wide enough to look within. Are we any better than those we are killing in this manner? Bin Laden and his network of terror did not graduate from Al-Azhar, Al-Najaf, or Qom, the elite Islamic theological  schools. He graduated from Madrasas in caves and remote camps. He and his organization are not main stream. Far from it, they are theological pariahs.

By contrast, our Nobel Peace Prize  winner president, went to Harvard; Bush went to Yale (and they’re both devoted Christians!). Our elites that have been waging this war are the products of our elite institutions, secular and otherwise. And we, the people, have been complicit and silent at best, if not flat-out cheering them on.

What does approving of killing civilian rescuers and bombing funerals  say about our own values and principles? Our soul and identity? Our  faith? Our culture and set of beliefs?

If you are one of those individuals who nurtures a conscience,  I wish you luck wrestling with your morality before you cast a vote this coming november.

Our conscience really  needs to be shaken to the core.

ekwaysan

O’Reilly’s own show proves Maher’s point

December 28, 2011

Video

Bill O’Reilly: Do you feel comfortable saying…. you American people…. most of you are dunderheads?… You denigrate their religious beliefs…

Bill Maher: I do.

O’Reilly pretends in the referenced video  that he doubts Maher’s claims about  the intellectual state of most Americans.

Maher had the perfect proof for his statements: O’Reilly’s fact free, propagandistic television show has the highest rating of any political talk show on cable television. I don’t know how this point eluded the usually quick-witted Maher.

I have to sadly admit that statistics  is a pretty damning evidence that the majority of our population lags behind in the critical thinking department; at least  vis-a-vis religion or politics .

ekwaysan

All the ignorance money can buy

December 18, 2011

TLC has been airing a series  “All American Muslims”, a reality show that follows the daily lives of muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan and gives a glimpse into  a minority group not many of us know much about– except how it’s defined by O’Reilly, Glen Beck, and their ilk, that is.

This was too much for the sensibility of the all loving God of  “Florida Family Association”, an evangelical group that complained the show is portraying Muslims too positively! God forbids Americans wake up one day and find out that Muslims are people like the rest of us after all. So they urged sponsors to boycott the show.

Sure enough, Lowe’s announced that it is pulling its ads. Another advertiser, Pernod Ricard,  has followed suit. I am sure many will follow and  bow to bigotry.  Suddenly, an informative and timely show is in danger.

Incidentally, it is hard not to notice that the denouncement of muslims as a monstrous species in our midst often helps politicians’ poll numbers, propel trash books to bestsellers lists, and promote opportunists’ careers and turn them into instant stars– Herman Cain, Bachman, Palin, and Newt come to mind. Just play this mind game. Replace  the word Muslim with Christian, Jewish, Black, Hispanic, or any minority group in America in any sentence these presidential candidates spew about Muslims.  Now just imagine the ensuing uproar, if you can. Exactly!

My main point here is not defending Muslims in particular. It is more general than that.

How much power do corporate sponsors and billionaires have in shaping your mind and coloring the world around you? A lot more than what you think. The TLC incident is but one more clear evidence.

Can we really learn anything “Big Money” doesn’t want us to know? And more poignantly, is anything we know about “Them”  and even “Us” really true? The answer is really scary.

If they can force this kind of programs off the air, what else are they not telling us?

It is healthy to keep that question  in mind.

ekwaysan

The good Catholic and the pothead

December 2, 2011

When the secretary at work told me that her friend and her fiance are moving into the house across the street from mine, my mind kept wondering about the smirk she had on her face while telling me this.  Finally she dropped the bomb.

“But they smoke weeds”, she said.  She waited a few seconds to assess my reaction before adding with a multifaceted laugh: ” you know, they’re potheads” .

I shrugged.  I keep to myself usually and, to the extent that I care who my neighbors are at all, I only worry about whether they’re quiet or not. 

Not until they actually knocked on my door one night, dressed elegantly and smelling luscious, that is.  “Here is our phone number”, they said politely, “in case we get loud tonight. We’re having a graduation party. We’re graduating from college. You’re welcome to attend too!”

Wow! That was a far cry from what I had in mind about potheads. And it wasn’t the only far cry caused by my neighbors; well my next door good catholic couple neighbors this time!  

They practically live in church. I never see much of them. They leave envelopes at my door soliciting donations for one cause or another. And just to be neighborly, I usually oblige.

One time, after a hard day at work, I saw their kind of envelopes at my door, and I began calculating how much money I can spare this time.

Not so fast!

It turned out that it was a scathing note threatening me with court action if I did not remove the bags of leaves I spent the weekend  raking. The bags were too much for the “goodness” of my pious neighbors, I guess.

I waved back at the cheerful face of my pothead neighbor and continued reading.

“Everything is alright neighbor?”, the pothead said smiling. 

 “It is just fall again  and nature is showing its true color”, I said, smiling back.

I wadded the note and put it in one of the bags.

ekwaysan

Islam and the housing bubble

October 16, 2011

“Unprecedented global emergency ” we’re being warned.  Everyone  should be on code red alert! Islam is posing an existential threat to the West.

This is not coming from a raving lunatic of the tea-party variety. It is being spewed out by our intellectual elites who got their education at our elite institutions.

You get the sense that every problem from running away health care cost, to the vast inequality gap afflicting us, to the tax cuts for the rich, to the burst of the housing bubble, or even the filibuster rule in the senate, are somehow caused by Islam.

The West has caused enough existential threats to the whole world including itself. It does not need the help of Islam in that department.  The latest threat  is still unfolding in front of our eyes in the form of massive economic  meltdown all over the globe. You have to admit this is good old greed and hegemony of the Western culture  variety, among other esteemed Western values.

Islam did not wage the crusades against the holly places in Europe.

Islam did not start the inquisitions nor did it cause the religious wars in Europe.

Islam did not cause World War I, the Great Depression, World War II. Nor did it drop two atomic bombs on Japan.

Islam did not cause the holocaust.

Islam did not start the Vietnam war.

Islam surely is not responsible for the record level of children living in poverty in the US. Nor is it responsible for the obscene bonuses raked in by our elite bankers, and most certainly it did not bail out Wall Street and cause the unemployment to jump to 10%.

Scapegoating can only take you so far.

ekwaysan

Gold Zombies

July 28, 2011

You cannot eat gold when hungry,

Nor drink strung pearls when thirsty.

                     From “The Clay“, a poem by the Lebanese American poet Elia Abu Madi reminding the self-glorifying rich that they actually share more than what they think with the layman.

Little did he know!

Even a poet’s imagination falls short of appreciating how outrageously decadent humans can be.

From $1000 bagels to $25000 Frozen Haute Chocolate Sundaes,  infusing 23-karate and 24-karate edible gold  leaves into food is giving a whole different meaning to rich taste.

What is next? Drinking strung pearls when they’re thirsty?

In a recent article in Huffington Post, Christopher Cocca suggested that “[The] Church could end poverty, scarcity, sickness and famine without a dime from the rest of the world.”

Yeah dream on! I mean how are then Christian nations  going to pay for their $25000 Frozen Haute Chocolate Sundae?

As far as our poet is concerned, may be Abu Madi can take solace in this:  In  Manhattan, a gold serving restaurant got a dose of poetic justice when the health department had to close the store as the mice somehow developed an expensive  taste for the shiny metal leaves

ekwaysan

After the Dutch court ruling, is Anti-Semitism debatable in the Netherland then?

June 24, 2011

From Reuters Today: Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders was acquitted of inciting hatred of Muslims in a court ruling on Thursday.

The court decided Wilders’ rhetoric was within the realm of the political debate!

So what exactly WAS that political debate? Here are some of Mr. Wilders’ talking points.

On Mohamed

“Narcissist, a pedophile, a mass murderer, a terrorist, a misogynist, a lecher, a cult leader, a madman, a rapist, a torturer, an assassin and a looter…” as well as “a psychopath prone to hallucinations.”

On Islam

Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology, the ideology of a retarded culture. I have a problem with Islamic tradition, culture, ideology. Not with Muslim people.

On Koran

“The Koran is a fascist book which incites violence. That is why this book, just like [Adolf Hitler’s] Mein Kampf, must be banned.

The book incites hatred and killing and therefore has no place in our [Dutch] legal order.”

On Islamic Veil


“It is not acceptable for people to completely cover themselves on the street. It threatens public order and security. Plus it is a terrifying sight.

Get rid of that woman-humiliating Islamic symbol (…)”

Well, political debate indeed!

Is that how low the bar  the great political culture in the great Dutch country sets for a  debate? Is there anything called deliberately  “inciting hatred”  anymore? Is “anti-Semitism” a debatable issue then? 

ekwaysan

A Veil of Mass Destruction

June 22, 2011

Daniel Ellsberg, assistant secretary of defense in the Kennedy administration, in his article:  A Hundred Holocausts: An Insider’s Window Into U.S. Nuclear Policy:

“The total death toll as calculated by the Joint Chiefs, from a U.S. first strike aimed primarily at the Soviet Union and China, would be roughly 600 million dead. A hundred Holocausts. ”

Recently in France, Belgium, Spain, and Canada, citizens and politicians alike, have awaken and echoed Ellsberg’s warning:

 “Western civilization is in danger.”

“A dire threat to western civilization.”

“They are destroying our values.”

Only they were sounding the alarm about the imminent  danger of muslim women’s veil and not the policies of nuclear deterrence adopted by the West in general and the U.S. in particular. That running policy that is based on the idea of annihilating most of your enemy’s population, not to mention rendering the planet perhaps  uninhabitable for decades. Absorb the moral and cultural implication of that Western policy for a minute.

With policies and principles like nuclear deterrence that is purely its own brain child, the West does not have the moral authority to lecture any one about violence. Perhaps it should try first and lift the hate induced  thick veil of ignorance that is plaguing its own culture of mass annihilation.

ekwaysan