Say: ‘Unbelievers, I do not serve what you worship,
nor do you serve what I worship. I shall never serve
what you worship, nor will you ever serve what I
worship. You have your own religion, and I have mine.’
(The Koran, Penguin Classics, trans.,N.J.Dawood, 1956; p.401)
It used to be said that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel; for sometime now, it is the first.
Strikingly, the more it trumpets itself, the more suspect it becomes. Not unsurprisingly, therefore, a fascist construction of patriotism that at bottom reflects the violence-ridden impatience of global capital to gobble up the earth requires a medieval recall for longer life. And what more medieval than the idea of the crusade. Ruling classes everywhere engaged in the most irreligious of brutalities thus project themselves as the chief patrons of religion. And there are those who innocently buy the idea.
I am looking at an article posted on alternet.org titled “The Relilgious Right’s New Tactics for Invading Public Schools.”
In the month of August, ’07, the Governor of Texas signed a legislation designated “Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act.” This law “requires every public school in the state to adopt a policy guaranteeing student’s right to religious expression. It mandates that schools create ‘limited public forums’ for religious and other types of speech.”
That this new law is not as catholic or innocuous as it sounds is obvious enough to the best of practicing Christians, not to speak of adherents of other faiths. Kathy Miller, President of the Texas Freedom Network has this to say: “The law is fundamentally at odds with the principle of religious freedom.” And more explicitly, “It will force public school students to participate in. . .proselytising.”
The proselytizing is of course fully underway, and entirely on biblical lines. A video message now doing the rounds is titled “you sow what you reap.”
The opening gambit reads “I hope this catches U the way it caught ME”
In the body of the message, one Jane Clayson asks a “prominent American daughter” the question “How could God let something like this happen” (meaning what else but 9/11) ?
Anne Graham’s “profound and insightful answer” proceeds as follows:
–”God. . . is deeply saddened” that “we have been asking him to get out of our schools. . . our government, and our lives”;
–that there is no “Bible reading in schools”; because thereby we do not acquaint our children with the injunction “thou shall not kill” there are shootings in schools; (it should be obvious that the Texas law indeed has just the Bible in mind rather than any of the other religious scriptures.)
–we allow “abortions” and use of “condoms”;
–that this free riot of sex goes on regardless even of what a “President does in private” (Democrats to note);
–that pictures of “nude women” flood the magazines;
–that pictures of “nude children” also make popular copy;
–that TV shows promote “profanity and. . . illicit sex”;
Thus it is that something like 9/11 happens; as God in his fury leveled Sodom and Gomorrah, so the USA is now being punished.
Looking at this package of profanity, you might well wonder why God is not seen to mind the following profanities, or why God’s punishment must not be seen to be attributable to their commission through American history:
–the genocide of native Indians: (“thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself”);
–slave trade (60 million dead: “thou shall not kill);
–Hiroshima/Nagasaki (millions twisted into molten rubble, and millions more maimed, deformed, consigned to cancer);
–Vietnam (millions consumed by napalm and Agent Orange);
–some 69 regular invasions since the end of world war II and the liquidation of life, property and nationhoods thereby;
–500,000 Iraqi children killed inch by inch thanks to the sanctions regime;
–the propping of dictators, military juntas, sheikhdoms, even religious bigots of “other” cultures in pursuit of dominance and material loot;
–the tortures inflicted on innocent and guilty alike in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, through clandestine “extraordinary renditions”—all beyond the pale of the regime of US laws;
–the refusal to sign international treaties that would somewhat ameliorate the catastrophic destruction of the environment;
–the militarization of space;
–not to speak of the readiness to invade other countries on counterfeit pretences, using dirty uranium, white phosphorus, cluster bombs, inorder to assume the ownership of oil, and furnish the armament corporates opportunites to forge newer and deadlier weapons of mass destruction;
As should be obvious, this can be an interminable list; yet the Right-Wing God does not seem to mind any of it, or think these abominations grounds for punishment. Such crimes somehow do not qualify as “sins” or become amenable to moral considerations. Just only the body of Eve and what the advertisers do with it are legitimate provocations to God’s ire. The inference being that if only the imperialist machine learnt simultaneously to honour God’s injunctions about the denigration of “flesh”, all would not only be well, but ideal.
Look where you will, and you may find identical sales campaigns about what does or does not anger God.
Here in India, for example, most Hindutva vendettas have been reserved for the fleshly excesses of the profligate: Valentine wantonness, bawdy artworks, inter-religious and inter-caste marriages, especially where the woman be a hindu,or a high caste; these have been seen to constitute evils beyond the pale. The massacre of the “minorities” from time to time only add to the credit side of those who do God’s work. Nor is it any different with an Islam that continues to be ruled by vested clerics. The chief affronts to God inevitably come from women: assuming provocative dress, intermingling, disobeying patriarchal injunctions and traditions, not to speak of questioning any part of the Sharia with respect to women’s lives—these affronts warrant the most gruesome retributions. As to the mangling of innocents in fidayeen attacks, God applauds from above and promises, guess what, lovely houris in heaven. As to the Zionists, they did God’s work on behalf of securing the “promised land” when they initiated modern-day terrorism by effecting the carnage at the King David hotel in 1947. The work that was then done by the Stern and Irving gangs has since been taken over by the state with the full blessings of the God of the United States.
Indeed, the CNN’s Christianne Amanpour is to be complimented for underscoring many of these historical formations in her current documentary “God’s Warriors.” A must see experience.
Clearly, this construction of God, however richly peddled whether by the Bushies, the bin Ladins, the Togadias, or the Rabbies of the Likud does not meet either the imperatives or the best imaginings of human beings who truly believe God can only be a votary of universal acceptance and universal love. Any God whose composure remains undisturbed by the abominations of the kind listed in section II of this piece must be indistinguishable from the worst Pharos and Feuhrers that the world has known. And any God that fights shy of admiring the nude splendour of the human body, female or male, that he is credited to have created in the first place must be a God of small-mindedness.
The fact, of course, is that God, wherever such a one be or not be, must have rather little idea of all that is going on in his name. Those, however, that forge him (forbid the thought that he could be she) in the image that the video propagates know well enough that they mean to use their representation of him as the ultimate WMD as and when the need arises, be it on their own kind or on the infidel “other’.
Which must mean that the truly godly among all religions have a job on hand, namely, to salvage God from the stranglehold of the mass murderers.