Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Our Dis-informed Electorate

      I have a right-wing cousin who's always sending me e-mails about how unholy and unAmerican Obama is and how the country has gone to hell since the courts ordered public schools to stop forcing schoolchildren to pray to Jesus every morning, and why I need to get right with the Lord and start appreciating our soldiers more while boycotting ABC News because it apparently forbids its reporters from wearing U.S. flag lapel pins on the air. He thinks global warming is a hoax and evolution is a lie and that angels walk among us, and he's constantly urging me to forward his e-mails to as many people as possible because if I don't, this great nation of ours will lose everything our forefathers fought and died for, which I assume for them includes NASCAR, Confederate flag tank tops and Keystone Light and extreme cage fighting.
       He also sends me links to those "how great it was back in the 1950s" and "animals do the cutest things" Web sites that are supposed to make me giggle or sigh, and sometimes, they do. He's not a bad guy. Hell, he's a good father, son, brother, neighbor, you-name-it. I've always like him, but he knows about as much about politics and world events as I know about Urdu.
       Not too long ago, he sent me a long piece titled, "Can Muslims Be Good Americans?" Of course, they can't, according to the author, who once lived in Saudi Arabia, which makes him an expert on all things Islam, I suppose. He writes:

CAN MUSLIMS BE GOOD AMERICANS?
       This is very interesting and we all need to read it from start to finish and send it on to everyone. Maybe this is why our American Muslims are so quiet and not speaking out about any atrocities. Can a good Muslim be a good American?

Theologically – no, because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon God of Arabia.
Religiously – no, because no other religion is accepted by His Allah except Islam (Quran, 2:25, Koran)
Scripturally – no, because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam and the Quran.
Geographically – no, because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.
Socially – no, because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.
Politically – no, because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual Leaders), who teach annihilation of Israel and destruction of America, the great Satan.
Domestically – no, because he is instructed to marry four Women and beat and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34 )
Intellectually – no, because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be
Philosophically – no, because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran does not allow freedom of religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.
Spiritually – no, because when we declare 'one nation under God,' the Christian's God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in the Quran's 99 excellent names.

       Therefore, after much study and deliberation, perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. They obviously cannot be both 'good' Muslims and good Americans. Call it what you wish it's still the truth. You had better believe it. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future.

Long on Bigotry
       I'm no fan of religious nuts of any kind, but I thought the piece was long on bigotry, short on logic. So I thought, my cousin is German Catholic. He grew up in a small German-Catholic village in North Texas. So what if in 1939 or 1940, someone had asked...

CAN GERMAN-CATHOLICS BE GOOD AMERICANS?

       The answer might have sounded something like this:
       This is very interesting food-for-thought, and we all need to read it from start to finish and send it on to everyone. Maybe this is why our German Catholics are so quiet and not speaking out about any atrocities in Poland and elsewhere.

Theologically – no, because his allegiance is to the Pope, not the Bible.
Religiously - no, because no other Christian denomination is accepted by the Pope except Catholicism. Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Mormons — they’re all going to Hell, according to the Catholics.
Scripturally - no. His allegiance is to the Catholic Missal, not the Bible.
Geographically – no. His allegiance is to Rome and the Pope and Cardinals and Bishops and Priests and such. They could give a rip about the county judge or mayor.
Socially - no. His allegiance to Germany forbids him to make friends with Jews, Poles, Eastern Europeans, Gypsies, Homosexuals, Russians, just about anyone who isn’t an Aryan. Besides, you want to live next door to some stumbling drunk who drinks a barrel of beer daily, eats sauerkraut and pickled eggs. wears Lederhosen and those dumb-ass green felt caps and has 13 children because the Pope doesn’t believe in birth control?
Politically - no, because he must submit to the Nazis, who teach annihilation of Jews and conquest of Europe, Africa and Eurasia and who aren't particularly interested in debating the issue. They'd rather shoot you or send you to a concentration camp.
Domestically - no. Women are second-class citizens in the Catholic Church. They have no control over their reproductive systems, and nuns are treated like livestock, for the better part.
Intellectually - no, because they cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based on Biblical principles. German Catholics believe only a totalitarian state and the supreme power of Der Fuehrer and the Nazi Party.
Philosophically - no. Catholicism does not allow freedom of religion and expression. The Pope is infallible, and if you don’t believe it, ask Copernicus. Also, Democracy and German militarism cannot co-exist. German governments historically are either dictatorial or autocratic.
Spiritually - no, because when we declare 'one nation under God,' we’d like to think that God is kind and fair and just, while the Catholic’s God is full of fire and brimstone and smiting of all tribes of people for reasons sometimes too petty to imagine. Ever hear of the Inquisition?
       Therefore, after much study and deliberation, perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL GERMAN CATHOLICS in this country. They obviously cannot be both 'good' German Catholics and good Americans. Call it what you wish it's still the truth. You had better believe it. The more who understand this, the better it will be for our country and our future.

The Response
       So I sent this to everyone on his listserv. The response was immediate and hostile and spectacularly dumb. "We are not living in 1939 although our president is trying to repeat history," one guy spat back. How this comment was germane, I have no clue.
      "You do not really have much of a point Bob," another guy wrote. "We are not ruled by the same people that Germany was ruled by. we are German Catholic and proud of it. If you don't like the pope, get out of this country. Our town is 90 percent German Catholic and we are a pretty good bunch of sinners, who are going in the right direction through Acts and other prayer groups. Our Baptist church has been growing also, are you going to cut them down also?"
       My response: Nor are American Muslims ruled by the same people who rule Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Syria. Either way, bigotry is bigotry, whether it’s American Muslims today or American Germans in 1939.
       His response: "Muslims have the same gods here as they do there and the same rules. We are governed by the bible also, not just the pope. Other religions believe in the bible also, that is not bigotry, it is a fact!"
       My response: Like Christians, Muslims come in various stripes and colors. Some raise their families to love America and each other and hope one day to be able to afford tickets to see Hannah Montana in person. Others are lunatics and religious fanatics who set fire to their boxer shorts in hopes of taking down a jetliner.
       His response: "Their are good Muslims but the ones that are, are Christians. And they are not radical. Their are good Catholics out there , but they are also Christian. Both have close to the same ideas."
       And so, I've been debating bigotry with a guy who believes that nice Muslims are Christians and mean ones are Muslims, at which point, I shut down the conversation. It reminded me of an argument I got into with the husband of an old friend, shortly after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. We'd had several shots of tequila in a Reynosa bar, and he was telling me how Clinton had personally dismantled the U.S. military.
      "But Bush just kicked the crap out Afghanistan with the same military you claim Clinton destroyed. How is that possible?
      "Bush rebuilt it," he said. He wasn't kidding.
      "Are you suggesting that George W. Bush rebuilt the entire U.S. military in one year?"
      "Absolutely."
       If our democracy depends on an informed electorate, we're screwed.