Posts Tagged “religionism”
Notice: There’s been additional news from Copenhagen through the day; please see below for updates.
Today there was another eruption of violence over cartoons that, supposedly, “insult” Islam and its prophet, and in the minds of many Muslims, are utterly forbidden to all (not just Muslims). CNN reports on this morning’s shooting in Copenhagen (WebCite cached article):
Gunmen in Copenhagen, Denmark, stormed a building where controversial cartoonist Lars Vilks and his supporters had gathered Saturday, killing one man and wounding three police officers before driving away from the scene, police and witnesses said.…
The attackers fled the scene in a dark Volkswagen Polo, according to Copenhagen police.
Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen tweeted that he was “dismayed and deeply concerned by the shooting,” which French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called a “terror attack.”
Lars Vilks has been targeted by Islamists since 2007 when he produced cartoons portraying Islam’s prophet Muhammad as a dog. There have been several attempts on his life, and in 2010, Islamists tried to set his house on fire (cached). This time they got a lot closer to him, and someone died because of it.
One thing that really needs to stop is for scholars, pundits, and media outlets to trumpet repeatedly that the Qur’an doesn’t forbid depictions of its prophet. Maybe it does; maybe it doesn’t. But even if it doesn’t, that makes no difference: Clearly there are Muslims in the world who think it does, and who’re willing to murder people over it. Nothing else is relevant here.
That said, I fail to see why a religion’s imperatives must be obeyed by everyone, even those who don’t belong to that religion. It seems irrational for Muslims to assume non-Muslims would adhere to the strictures of their faith and behave as though they’re Muslims. I really don’t get why someone could think that.
I can only assume this sort of killing is the result of infantilization. Unfortunately, religious infantilization is hard to defeat; it takes courage and effort to take on one’s own co-religionists, discipline them, and force them to grow the fuck up. Most human beings don’t have enough courage, and don’t want to put forth that kind of effort. So they just stand back and let the infantilization — and its attendant rage and fury, and occasional riots and killings — keep right on going. It’s much easier that way.
As I always do in cases like this, I’ve added some gratuitous Muhammad cartoons to this blog post. Maybe it will sanctimoniously enrage some more violent Islamists. Go ahead, little crybabies — rage and fume all you like. The more you do, though, the more you reveal yourselves as the overgrown infants you actually are. Wah wah wah.
Update 1: When I wrote this earlier today there had only been the one attack that I mentioned. But a second took place later on, near a synagogue. The CNN story reflects this news, but my quotation above does not (to see what it looked like when I first wrote this post, see the cached page; to see what it looks like as I added this update, see this cached copy). So, unsurprisingly, the Islamist tantrums over cartoons continue.
Update 2: I awoke this morning to discover, as reported by the (UK) Guardian and others, the suspect in these shootings has been killed (cached).
Update 3: Authorities named the deceased suspect as one Omar el-Hussein, as the (UK) Telegraph and other outlets report; he’s Danish-born and had a history of violence, including a crime for which he’d been released from prison only weeks ago (cached).
Photo credits: Top, Nerikes Allehanda via Wikipedia; middle, Jyllands-Posten via About.Com; bottom, Nerikes Allehanda via Gawker.
Tags: blasphemous cartoon
, islamist terror
, islamist terrorism
, krudttønden shooting
, lars vilks
, muhammad cartoons
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In my experience, Christians are hypersensitive to any mention of the Crusades (along with other glorious parts of Christianity’s history such as the Inquisitions, witch-hunts, and more). They just don’t want to hear about them … even if they’re actually part of the history of their religion. They petulantly refuse to acknowledge these events as examples of their religion’s history, and get their knickers in knots when anyone dares confront them with them.
Naturally, then, what President Barack Obama said last Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast has them in a towering rage (WebCite cached article). The Washington Post, among many other media outlets, reported on their anger and fury (cached):
President Obama has never been one to go easy on America.…
His latest challenge came Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. At a time of global anxiety over Islamist terrorism, Obama noted pointedly that his fellow Christians, who make up a vast majority of Americans, should perhaps not be the ones who cast the first stone.
“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
These remarks kicked up so much sanctimonious outrage among the “Christian Nation” that NASA scientists probably picked up the sound of it from their New Horizons probe out by Pluto.
Some Republicans were outraged. “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore (R). “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”…
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, called Obama’s comments about Christianity “an unfortunate attempt at a wrongheaded moral comparison.”
As someone who studied the Crusades in college — unlike all these outraged commentators — I think it’s time to clear up a lot of misconceptions about them:
- Christians these days think the Crusades were a legitimate military response to the military threat posed by Muslims. While it’s true that Muslims in the east did threaten Christians near them, and had been fighting the Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantium) for centuries, one must remember the Crusades were carried out by western Europeans … mostly of French origin. In the 11th century when the Crusades were launched, no Muslim was a threat to the French. Not even close! The Muslim advance into western Europe which began around the turn of the 8th century had been halted at the Battle of Tours in 733/4. In the over three centuries which followed, the Muslim state in Spain had been surrounded and eroded by its Christian neighbors. The Emirate of Granada did not, in any way, threaten any of the mostly-French lords who embarked on the First Crusade.
- While it’s true that the Byzantine Empire was engaged in fighting against Muslims — which was the reason its Emperor Alexius I Comnenus wrote to Pope Urban II to request assistance in 1095 — the First Crusaders ultimately ended up not helping shore up Byzantine defenses. Quite the opposite: They left the region near Constantinople in the dust and plunged straight through Anatolia (at a frightful cost in terms of lives lost, since they had no idea what they were doing and weren’t prepared for such a venture) and into the Levant as quickly as they could. Once there, and once they’d made some conquests (e.g. retaking Antioch), they didn’t restore those lands to the Byzantines; instead, they kept them for themselves.
- The Holy Land itself had been in Muslim hands since the early 7th century, but there were still Christians living there, and western Christians had been able to go on pilgrimages there pretty much the entire time. The Muslim rulers had allowed monks to tend to pilgrims there (most of them needed some assistance after their long journey). That Muslim overlords held the region hadn’t really put a dent in Christians’ ability to live and worship there.
- The main danger posed by Muslims to Christendom, at the time the Crusades began, was not in the Holy Land, and didn’t involve the French. The real danger was that the Seljuk Turks would overwhelm Byzantium and other Christian states near it. Had the French — who, living as they did at the western end of the Mediterranean and weren’t threatened by Muslims — really wanted to help defend Christendom, the proper strategy would have been for them to place themselves at the disposal of Alexius and work with the Byzantines to rebuild their state and reacquire their lost territory. Then they would have helped Byzantium maintain more defensible borders.
- In fact, a little over a century after the First Crusade embarked from western Europe, a subsequent expedition — the Fourth Crusade — didn’t even bother going to the Holy Land at all. Instead, its armies went after their fellow Christians, the Byzantines. They drove out two Emperors in succession, sacked Constantinople, made one of their own Emperor, and left the Eastern Roman Empire a shell of its former self. Byzantium later recovered somewhat, but it was never the same again, and entered into a long decline.
- The idea that the Crusaders were trying to defend Christianity is belied by the way in which they treated the eastern Christians they came across. In addition to fighting with the Byzantines more than they cooperated, they also seized Edessa, an Armenian Christian state. They drove out the local Orthodox hierarchy, including the Patriarch of Jerusalem, installing a replacement of their own who was loyal to the Pope. Overall, their relations with eastern Christians were never very good, and the Crusaders never actually acted like their guardians.
In sum, the idea that the Crusades were a rational and proper military response to a genuine military threat, is — quite simply — fucking laughably ridiculous. French armies had no legitimate business making a beeline through many hundreds of miles of territory and trying to home in on the Holy Land. Their expedition was hideously expensive — in terms of money, resources expended, and lives lost — and punctuated by atrocities like the massacre that took place when they captured Jerusalem in 1099. None of that contributed in the slightest to the defense of Christendom against Muslim expansion. Again, had this been the Crusaders’ true goal, they’d have assisted the Byzantines in rebuilding and refortifying their Empire.
It was also often said — particularly back in the ’80s when I was studying the subject in college — that the Crusades weren’t motivated by religion, but rather by a desire for new territory. But this makes little sense. Most of the princes who made up the First Crusade had been engaged in various military expeditions for years, before deciding to embark on their expedition to the Holy Land. Bohemond of Taranto, for example, had invaded the Balkans and fought the Byzantines there some 15 years prior, and he’d engaged in a few other minor wars and skirmishes. Had he stayed home, he’d have continued those same expeditions, and could well have won new lands that way. The same was true of Raymond of St Gilles, who had fought Muslims in Spain already, and could certainly have continued doing so, had he wished to, instead of crossing the Mediterranean. There’s quite simply no way these princes’ desire to reach and retake the Holy Land in particular makes any sense, unless they’d been at least partly motivated by religion.
Getting back to the main point: Obama’s mention of the Crusades as well as other things like slavery and Jim Crow, was not an “attack” on Christians or Christianity. They are an actual part of Christian history. To deny this is to be delusional. They happened … period. Maybe modern Christians would prefer not to hear about them, but too fucking bad. Complaining that the Crusades were “1,000 years ago” (they weren’t, if you recall they were a sequence of expeditions that began in the 1090s but ended with the fall of Acre in 1291) also isn’t going to help. “It’s history,” Obama’s self-righteous critics say. “They’re in the past. They’re over. So what?” It may be true that the Crusades and Inquisitions have been over for centuries, but they were only two of Obama’s examples of the use of religion to support immorality. The others (slavery and Jim Crow) are both much more recent. Witch-hunting, which Obama didn’t mention, happens to be a present-day pastime of African Christians.
Obama also didn’t “blame” modern Christians for the Crusades; that objection is just more delusional paranoia. He also didn’t say Christians are as bad as ISIS; that too is a childish fabrication which multiple Rightists have spewed.
The real lesson Obama had delivered — and which the “Christian Nation” refuses to hear, no matter how true it may be — is that any religion can be used to justify evil. Yes, even Christianity! It happened in the past — both in the distant past, and in more recent times — and it could, conceivably, happen again. That it offends Christians to be told this, only shows how childish they really are. It’s time for them to pull on their big-boy pants and act their ages instead of getting all bent out of shape because they like thinking that the president they despise, Barack HUSSEIN Obama, is “attacking” them for something.
P.S. I still don’t get how or why Christians find it necessary to host big splashy events like “national prayer breakfasts.” After all, the founder of their own religion explicitly and unambiguously ordered them never to express their piety publicly. So why do they insist on doing it? Why won’t they obey their own Jesus?
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: barack obama
, jim crow
, national prayer breakfast
, president barack obama
, public piety
, religious extremism
, religious extremist
, religious extremists
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Louisiana’s Republican governor Bobby Jindal — a fierce Religious Rightist, if not an outright Christofascist — led a prayer revival yesterday at Louisiana State University. As the Washington Post explains, it’s a strong indication that he plans to run for president in 2016 (WebCite cached article):
Skipping an Iowa event that drew a number of 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls in favor of a controversial Louisiana prayer rally, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) called for a national spiritual revival and urged event attendees to proselytize on behalf of their Christian beliefs.
Jindal had insisted the day-long evangelical event hosted by the American Family Association on the campus of Louisiana State University was a religious and not political gathering. And, indeed, his 15-minute long remarks to the group consisted entirely of a highly personal testimony about how he had come to his Catholic beliefs. Jindal was raised by Hindu parents but converted to Catholicism in high school.
But Jindal’s keynote address at the event came as he has been courting Christian conservatives in advance of a possible run for president, meeting with pastors in the early battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Former Texas governor Rick Perry hosted the same event, known as “The Response,” in 2011, just before announcing he was running for president.
The Bobster’s revival meeting didn’t go unnoticed by others, as the Post reports:
The event drew protests outside the basketball arena where several hundred were gathered because of accusations that the American Family Association promotes discrimination against gays and is hostile to non-Christians. Jindal briefly referred to the protests in his appearance, asking the rally’s attendees to pray for the demonstrators.
Ah. The old “I’ll pray for you” thing hurled at those who refuse to believe. I’m sure he knows this is an insulting tactic, even if it sounds all compassionate and shit. Well played, Bobby! Well played.
The Bobster even included a gratuitous little story which likely reflects how he intends to inject his fierce, dogmatic religionism into government:
Jindal recalled a girl in high school who said she wanted to grow up to be a Supreme Court justice, so she could “save innocent human lives” from abortion.
He put these words in the mouth of someone else, but this tale illustrates how he views participating in government. And that’s not to uphold the laws that are written, as they’re written, but instead to wrench and manipulate them to coincide with the Almighty’s dictates, whatever he thinks those are, and without regard for what those laws actually say.
Not that the Bobster really cares much, but here’s my response to his “response”:
Gov Jindal, if you think the country needs more God, then start with this one American: Track me down and make me turn to your God. I dare you. If it’s mandatory for all Americans to do so, then what reason would you have not to do it? Go ahead. I invite you to try your best — if you dare. Should you not do this, to me or to any other insolent non-believer, then I must presume that Americans turning to your deity can’t actually be as imperative as you said it is. That would demonstrate your cowardice, not to mention your hypocrisy — which, for supposedly-dutiful Catholics such as yourself, was explicitly forbidden to you by the founder of your own religion.
One last observation: The irony of a Roman Catholic leading a Protestant-style prayer revival — sponsored by a Protestant group — is especially precious. By leading an event of this kind, the Bobster openly admits he needs to curry the favor of devout Protestants, especially of the evangelical variety. But in the end, they’re his ecclesiastical enemies, not his friends. Just as America’s Catholic bishops have done, he’s forging what, ultimately, can only be called an unholy alliance. Should he get elected and start bending the country toward the Christocracy he wants, eventually he and his fellow Catholics will end up in evangelicals’ crosshairs. Many of them consider Jindal’s Church “the Whore of Babylon” mentioned in Revelation. A lot of those evangelicals would happily throw “Mary-worshipping papists” like Jindal into the flames of eternal perdition, if ever given the chance. Just saying.
Photo credit: AP Photo / Jonathan Bachman, via the Washington Post.
Tags: 2016 presidential election
, 2016 republican primary
, american family association
, baton rouge LA
, bobby jindal
, christian right
, gov bobby jindal
, i'll pray for you
, prayer revival
, presidential politics
, religious right
, spiritual revival
, the response
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If you haven’t figured it out by now, much of the Muslim world — though certainly not all of it! — is, essentially, infantile. They’re mired deep in centuries of religionistic immaturity and they just refuse to grow up, because they think their al-Lah has granted them exclusive license not to have to grow up, and they think it’s up to the rest of the planet to accommodate their hyperjuvenile nature. The latest issue of Charlie Hebdo, with its Muhammad cartoon cover (which includes the incredibly uplifting message “All is forgiven”), has — both sadly and predictably — set off violence around the planet among Muslims who just can’t handle it. Here’s a selection of reports on the mayhem, death and destruction:
- BBC News: Charlie Hebdo: Niger protesters set churches on fire (WebCite cached article)
At least three people have been killed and six churches attacked in Niger amid fresh protests against French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Protests began outside Niamey’s grand mosque and reportedly spread to other parts of the country, a day after five were killed in Niger’s second city.
- Reuters: Protesters clash with Pakistan police near French consulate (cached)
Pakistan police fired tear gas and water cannon at about 200 protesters outside the French consulate in the southern port city of Karachi on Friday when a demonstration against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo turned violent.
- USA Today: ‘Hebdo’ protests turn violent in Muslim nations (cached)
Angry reactions to the cartoon triggered street demonstrations as wide-ranging as several hundred people gathering on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday to slogans chanted by Muslim activists in Hyderabad, India.…
In Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood organized a crowd of 2,000 protesters who clashed with police in the capital of Amman as they moved toward the French Embassy. Police used batons to break up the gathering.
Terry Firma over at the Friendly Atheist provides a catalog of many more such incidents from around the world.
Oh, and … while we’re on the subject of the Muslim world’s approach to depictions of Muhammad … can we please just fucking stop already with the bullshit objections that Islam doesn’t forbid such things (cached)? Effectively it does forbid them — because millions of Muslims clearly believe it does, and because a lot of them are willing to riot, maim, burn and kill over that belief! Don’t tell me, or the rest of the occidental world, that riots like this are un-Islamic. It won’t do any good. If these raging clowns are wrong about Islam’s teachings on the subject, it’s up to other Muslims — who are clear on the matter — to rein in and discipline those who disagree and coerce them to stop this childish, riotous shit already. And they need to do it before someone else gets killed. The rest of the world simply can’t wait any longer for these overgrown children to start acting like mature adults.
As I always do when stories like this erupt, I’m including a gratuitous Muhammad cartoon in this post. The more these fucking Islamist crybabies rage and riot, the more I’ll post them. If there are Muslims out there who don’t like it … the solution is to grow up, calm down, and stop going up in flames over them all the time. It’s just that simple.
And one last comment: It’s time the White House stopped evading the reality that atrocities like those in and around Paris, not to mention beheadings by ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-barbaric-brood or massacres of villages by Boko Haram, aren’t examples of “Islamist terror.” They are exactly that; refusing to use that phrase just makes the administration look like total clowns. Yes, I get it’s mostly the Right-wing that objects to the White House’s refusal to call it that (cached). And they have an agenda in making this complaint; mostly it’s because they’re Christianist Neocrusaders trying to bolster their own religion at the expense of what they consider their chief rival religion. Still, just as even a broken clock is correct twice a day, they’re correct on this point. Sugar-coating it helps no one. This particular kind of atrocity is — at the moment — a product of how a lot of Muslims follow their religion. Other Muslims who disagree with them are, for better or worse, the only ones who can correct them. Implying that Islam isn’t a problem here, or that it’s not a factor in this barbaric violence, won’t help, because it relieves those moderate Muslims of the task of correcting and disciplining their presumably-wayward co-religionists. Perhaps it’s not fair to them, but that’s just the way it is.
Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.
Photo credit: Top, PsiCop original graphic; middle, Jyllands-Posten via About.Com.
, cartoon protest
, cartoon protests
, mohammad cartoons
, muhammad cartoons
, muslim world
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The folks at Charlie Hebdo … at least, those who remain after last week’s inexcusable Islamofascist massacre … aren’t caving in. No, their next issue’s cover will also feature a drawing of the prophet Muhammad. Multiple outlets report it will be as follows:As an aside on this matter, allow me to throw out a few items for your consideration:
This wouldn’t be the disaster it was, without some sanctimoniously-angry Christofascist using it to promote his fierce, dour religionism. Enter, therefore, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, as Right Wing Watch reports with video (cached):
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer speculated that the attack by radical Muslim terrorists on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed twelve people may have been God’s retribution for the magazine’s blasphemy.
Given that the magazine, in addition to mocking Islam and Muhammad, also had a long record of running satirical articles and cartoons about Christianity and Jesus, Fischer raised the possibility that this attack was punishment for the magazine’s repeated violation of the commandment that “you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
It also wouldn’t be a Muslim-perpetrated atrocity without people jumping up to say Islam doesn’t support what the killers did. Take, for example, this apologia for Islam in Slate (cached):
In an op-ed in USA Today on Thursday, Choudary seemed to try to justify the attacks. “[T]he potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike,” Choudary said. “The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State,” he continued.
Choudary, radical extremists, and anti-Islam polemicists alike often resort to quoting scripture out of context, or taking advantage of transliteration, as a way to distort the messages of Islam. Sharia law varies upon interpretations of scripture—and like any religion, some interpretations are more radical than others.
While extremist governments like Iran and Saudi Arabia use the death penalty as a punishment for blasphemy, its justification isn’t found in Islam. The word “blasphemy” isn’t even mentioned in the Quran, or the stories of Mohammed and his companions that make up the hadiths, which form the basis for Islamic tradition. Prominent Islamic scholars like Pakistan’s Javed Ahmad Ghamidi have repeatedly said that “blasphemy laws have no justification in Islam.” Neither does the horrible attack that took place on Wednesday.
That piece was a response to this hateful diatribe by someone who is — get this! — a Muslim cleric and therefore a credentialed spokesman for that religion (cached):
Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.”…
So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?
It is time that the sanctity of a Prophet revered by up to one-quarter of the world’s population was protected.
So pardon me — cynical, hateful, godless agnostic heathen that I am — for not being clear on whether or not Islam actually forbids blasphemy or “insults” of the Prophet. I guess the world’s Muslims are going to have to duke it out over that. Unfortunately, they may not leave the rest of us around to find out which side won the argument.
Lastly, I took the liberty of compiling a GIF animation of many different Muhammad cartoons to which Muslims have taken offense at one time or another. Have a blast, you little fucking crybabies:If anyone feels the need to be angry over these cartoons, go right ahead! Indulge your childish sanctimonious impulses, if it makes you feel better to do so. Far be it from me to get in the way of your pathological need to always be outraged in defense of your religion or your Prophet.
Photo credit: Middle, Talking Points Memo; bottom, PsiCop-generated GIF of pics collected around the Internet.
, charlie hebdo
, charlie hebdo massacre
, muhammad cartoons
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Once again, the world has been treated to a stellar example of “the religion of peace” showing its true colors. Overnight (by my clock here in the ‘States) terrorists stormed the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, as the BBC and many other outlets around the world are reporting, and killed a dozen people (WebCite cached article):
Gunmen have attacked the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people and injuring seven, French officials say.
At least two masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car.
President Francois Hollande said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack “of exceptional barbarity”.
A major police operation is under way in the Paris area to catch the killers.
We don’t yet know the terrorists’ identities or affiliations, but it’s safe to say they are, very likely, of the Islamist variety. Although Charlie Hebdo has lampooned many religions with its cartoons, it’s only Islamists who’ve previously objected enough to get violent about them, as they did back in 2011 (cached). Someone, please tell me again how Islam is “the religion of peace”? ‘Cause this cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen just isn’t seeing it.
I wonder what Islamism’s defenders (e.g. Ben Affleck) will make of this? He’d probably just mumble something like the terrorists not being “real Muslims” or something … as though that sort of defense isn’t the fallacy it actually is.
As I always do when Islamists rage and fume over their religion being “dissed,” sometimes violently, I decorated this blog post with cartoons that are sure to offend them even more. Go ahead, little crybabies. Rage, bluster, and fume away!
Photo credits: Top, Wikimedia Commons; both in body, from Jyllands-Posten via Assyrian International News Agency.
Tags: charlie hebdo
, charlie hebdo massacre
, islamist terror
, islamist terrorism
, islamist terrorists
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I’m tagging this post “you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me,” because … well … you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! It’s rare to see people do something so insanely stupid, publicly, and then proceed to double down on it, refusing to acknowledge an error which is absurdly blatant and for which there can be no rational excuse.
This December 15, not too far from me in Springfield, MA, the city held a menorah lighting in its famous Court Square. That city’s Republican newspaper reports on the raging idiocy one of the city’s councilors spewed (WebCite cached article):
Jaws dropped in Springfield’s Court Square Tuesday afternoon when Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams offered his take on the annual city menorah lighting ceremony.
“Jesus is the reason for the season,” Williams said during remarks at the ceremony that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
Following short speeches by Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield and Mayor Domenic Sarno, who both touched on the history of religion in Springfield, Williams was handed the microphone and uttered the line that had people talking long after the ceremony ended.
What Williams apparently was unaware of, is that Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday and that Jews don’t worship Jesus. The article gives a brief sketch of what Hannukah is about, and links to Chabad.org’s FAQ page on the holiday. I suggest checking it out.
If you do, you will discover that Jesus had nothing to do with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (except, perhaps, assuming he lived, as a Jew himself, he may have celebrated it). It’s a Jewish holiday, as should be obvious, and Jews don’t revere or worship Jesus.
A lot of folks who said something this stupid would accept correction and apologize. But not Mr Williams. He was having none of it, and is not backing down as the Republican reported just a little later (cached):
[City Councilor Bud] Williams, a Baptist, made the remark during a Court Square event attended by Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard Neal, city dignitaries, and leaders of the greater Springfield Jewish community, all of whom gathered at the downtown park to mark the Dec. 16 start of the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights.
“I thought it added something to the service, it didn’t take away,” Williams said Tuesday night.
The city councilor said he referenced Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated every Dec. 25 by Christians worldwide but not by Jews, after participants in the ceremony mentioned “the bright light” of 2,000 years ago — an allusion to Christ, according to Williams.
“They said it,” Williams said.
The councilor said his remark wasn’t meant as an expression of religious superiority or “dominance,” but rather as a simple reminder about the “reason for the season.”
Did you catch that? Williams blamed his stupidity on the rabbis, throwing them under the bus, as it were. “They said it,” he insists … ridiculously! In his mind, the rabbis’ mention of “‘the bright light’ of 2,000 years ago” could only have been Jesus, and cannot possibly have been a reference to the “miracle of lights” which the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates. Williams further engaged in his own variation of the “some of my best friends are Jewish” defense:
Williams said some people thanked him for his remarks. “A couple of the rabbis walked up to me and said, ‘Great comments, Mr. Williams.'”
The Republican notes, however, that they couldn’t verify this:
Rabbi Noach Kosofsky, who attended the ceremony, was asked Tuesday night for his reaction to Williams’ statement. “I’ll get back to you,” he said.
It’s safe to say that either these rabbis never said any such thing to Williams, or they did, but were just being nice to an assholish, mindless buffoon who clearly had no idea what he was talking about. In any event, Williams plainly hasn’t the slightest clue he said something he shouldn’t have said; thus, he isn’t about to apologize for it. Because, after all — as all the “war on Christmas” proponents have been railing for the past several years — Jesus “is the reason for the season” and anyone who says otherwise is trying to destroy Christianity and kill Christians. Or something like that.
Isn’t it time for Christians to just fucking grow the hell up already and get over themselves? Is it really necessary for them to presume everyone else on the planet sees everything the same way they do … even when they belong to non-Christian religions? Yes, references to “light” can mean Jesus … but they can also refer to other things within other religions, too.
Photo credit: shane_d_k, via Flickr.
Tags: bud williams
, chanukah menorah
, councilor bud williams
, court square
, hanukkah menorah
, jesus is the reason for the season
, menorah lighting
, miracle of lights
, noach kosofsky
, reason for the season
, springfield MA
, war on christmas
, you've gotta be fucking kidding me
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