Wednesday, April 18, 2007

When God Goes To War

From the Biblical “conflicts” and Medieval Crusades to the present day sectarian violence in Iraq. Is God’s big plan about us killing each other off?

By: Vanessa Uy

Why does an ideology that supposes to foster brotherhood and sisterhood for all mankind- became a platform for- most if not all recent conflicts and strife? No, I’m not talking about Marxist-Leninist Socialism for those of you who are “Cold War” veterans out there. I’m talking about this arcane ideology where God say’s one thing and the followers do another, in other words- religion. I’m not one of those people who subscribe to the notion that Iraq is the Arabic for Yugoslavia. This schism in monotheism has been around since these only-one-God organized religious groups became established. In Jerusalem, where this “covenant” between the one and only God and mankind was consecrated, we were one step closer to universal peace. In actuality though, a “holy industry” was established which became a tourist attraction of itself. But it also spawned the inevitable unholy rivalry between the faiths. If you look at Judaism, Christianity, and Islam closely, you could see both the kinship and the disparity between them. How’s that for cognitive dissonance T.S. Elliot style.

The schisms that were grabbing news headlines at present are between Sunni and Shia Muslims being played out in the major urban centers of Iraq. While in the Christian front, it’s usually a sensationalized shouting match on “Faith TV” as opposed to the IRA bombings in Dublin, Ireland more than 20 years ago. In seeking answers to why something that’s so beautiful with lofty altruistic aims for mankind could become something ugly like a Holy War probably is a question for the ages. But I think we should have the moral responsibility to avoid our ignorance blinding our faith.

The present rift between Islam and the West has its roots on injustice, especially on how the United States Government conducts their “War on Terror.” Would the same powers-that-be investigate the links between The Vatican and the IRA. Or what about when Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in April of 1995, nobody placed 700 Club’s Pat Robertson and Rev. Jerry Faulwell under surveillance. But when Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda launched a suicide attack at the World Trade Center Building towers on September 11, 2001, Muslims worldwide are still feeling the “inconvenience” of George W. Bush’s “War on Terror.” This undoubtedly brought about by a convenient scapegoat of the “intelligence reports” that the Arab elite are funding the spread of the “Wahhabi Doctrine” by any means necessary.

Here in the Philippines- religion should not be relegated by the government as a mere “philosophical abstraction.” There are human ramifications on what the general population perceive as canon / dogma or fact in relation to how they conduct themselves in a pluralistic society. I have first hand experience on the mindset of these supposedly God fearing Christians. They are self-styled Christian Supremacists who abhor a -2400 Fulton Street San Francisco-or a-Seattle, Washington-style pluralism. They don’t want Muslims, Feminists and Communists to be integrated into mainstream society. They hassled most –if not all-of my friends during most of 1999 imposing their own agendas about their outlandish Bill Gates / Microsoft / Y2K Bug / 666 conspiracy theories.

A few days ago, I visited the web sites of both Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) and the Revolutionary Anti- Imperialist League (RAIL). Their views on extra judicial killings / murders of Left-leaning organizations like “Gabriela” here in the Philippines perked my interest and since this became a hot topic recently. To me either the RAIL “blogger” doesn’t live here or is practicing self-censorship because he or she lacked vital knowledge on the kind of Christianity that’s practiced here in the Philippines. The RAIL “blogger” probably doesn’t share my daily experience with these gun-toting Christian Supremacists who see sexual equality / liberation and pluralism as no different from Marxist-Leninist Socialism and who believe they have a shot of sainthood by killing anyone who harbors such thoughts. Does these murders become extra judicial when the present administration does a very lousy job in educating the Christian majority about basic human rights or at least the “Cold War” is over and that there never was an “Evil Empire.” In the US, these supposedly extra judicial killings are labeled as hate crimes for the religious component I just mentioned. You may think I’m a stooge of the current administration, but don’t hate me for telling it like it is. I live in a culture where most- if not all- of the people go about with a blind obedience to the Christian God. A culture victimized by 500 years of genocidal Catholic oppression. A culture that doesn’t even have an equivalent- word for extra judicial killing and hate crime in their native vocabulary. It’s really hard to change a group of people whose religious leaders think that Sufi Islam and Hinduism are pseudo-religions founded by 1960’s rock stars and hippies.

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