The freedom to insult

Published 1:57 am Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Our great country is the champion when it comes to complaining, offending, insulting, and debating. It is the American way. Isn’t it great? I can write all matter of opinion in this column and folks either agree or disagree but no one has tried to take me out…yet.

That is why the View on ABC is so popular with Barbra Wa Wa and all her gang chatting about life issues, disagreeing but yet staying all chummy. Not so in other parts of the world.

I’m worried about the Pope. One of the great religious leaders of the universe who embraces peace, tolerance, and non-violence. He may have just stirred up a hornets nest and the Pope-Mobile may not be enough to protect the man of God.

Apparently, in his controversial quote he was having a discussion about religion and violence and those religious people who were offended did exactly what he was talking about….violence. To me, the two do not go hand in hand but worlds apart. Religion is about worship, praising a God, internal peace and reflection, giving of oneself to the good of humanity, and thinking more about others than yourself. How does the passion of religion become so hateful? So brutal?

Is it because people will use the cover of religion to further and validate a cause? Throughout history, religious leaders have been more powerful than monarchies, so power is the key.

Thank goodness we don’t allow Super Stars the same power although the world does worship them. Can you imagine a world ruled by Elvis, Michael Jackson, Britney or Donny Osmond? I inserted my superstar, not yours, ok?

When Jerry Falwell says something that offends me, I ignore him and take away his power, so far, I have not rioted, burned Falwell dolls, or shot any church members.

Baptist Preachers…protestants in general…television evangelists….any Christian leader tends to say things that get them in hot water with the media because the media is more concerned with the political correctness of every statement; but so far, no deaths that I know of have occurred because Pat Robertson opened his big mouth…..the worse thing so far is that Tammy Faye become a reality television star.

Church leaders are always saying something offensive. When my pastor steps on my toes I try to look more pious to throw all the others off my trail.

Which was hard to do when many, many years ago the pastor was going on and on about FOX’s television show, the Simpson’s and how bad it was and how our children should not be watching such perversion. Ok, so my two year old was cuddling his Bart Simpson doll that his grandpa had got him at the Burger King Happy Meal and as the pastor spoke about the subject, hearing the name Bart Simpson, my firstborn stuck his sinful icon into the air for all the church to see, because as a good minister’s wife I was sitting on the second row. Oops.

Thankfully they did not throw me out of the church nor did they burn the doll, which mysteriously disappeared the following day.

Al Qaeda came out and announced their true intention, world domination by the Islamic people, but I bet its not just ‘any’ Islamic people but ones that are just like them. I don’t foresee any American Redneck Islamic rulers. If Al Qaeda has the say it will probably be a Middle Eastern type. But I could be wrong.

These followers of the god of Bin Laden basically said the West or the Cross followers will either convert or die. Yikes. We will lose because Americans are not dedicated enough to attend church regularly let alone run suicide missions.

Never forget that these extremists are not going to relax, give up or fade away. Many in our country have done so with their faith. Not these guys, they have motivation in their belief to wipe us out and not even the influence of television can not change their minds. Not even Hollywood Celebs!

Maybe Southern Baptists should try the do good or die method. I have seen some good church movies that literally scared the ‘hell’ out of some members.

At least in our Churches, we polish it up a bit. A soft spoken pastor in a kind voice invites those who want to be Christians to join up and then they have pot luck dinners afterwards. Hospitality is the key to Christian conversion. Kill them with kindness. Jesus said to do good even to your enemies, now that is a vast difference of belief.

In America, no blood shed or death occurs during the making of our Sunday services, but sometimes some really bad singing. Otherwise, the only pain felt in church is your bottom from sitting so long. Couldn’t they put sofas in church, Americans can sit for hours in front of their televisions on their couches, but sometimes that one hour or so can really get uncomfortable. Or maybe it’s the words coming out of the mouth of the speaker?

Not all Christians are the same; we have the yelling with a megaphone on the street Christians, condemning you to hell if you don’t get right. I wonder if they have converted anyone yet?

Do you ever feel like someone is trying to make us, the Americans, the bad guys? What have we done to bring on such hatred…it is the “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” mentality, but more like “because we are free to speak our thoughts without fear of decapitation” mentality. Remember all that aid and money we give away and we brought the world great things like jazz music, Velcro, Baseball, hamburgers, and David Hasselhoff.

It is like on the hit show LOST, the people kidnapping and killing the plane crash survivors are telling one of the survivors that they, the Others, are the good guys. Well if they don’t act like good guys then are they really good guys.

In this world, who are the good guys?

Then we must ask is our God a good guy or a bad guy and whose side is the Almighty on? Does he wear a white hat or black hat? That’s how we knew in the old westerns who was good and who was evil. Of course now, black means cool, not bad, and black is the new white. Purple means he is gay. No wonder we stay confused.

Let’s not denounce Islam because of how a minority of their followers act. The killers from 9/11 went knowingly and with great effort to kill mass amounts of innocent people and all because they wanted a free ticket to Paradise. Was it just religious fervor or true evil?

Couldn’t they make it to Heaven in a less violent way? Why not try the do-good-to-your-neighbor route. How many Christians are going around blowing themselves up taking out Muslims? Name one.

According to both religions, both are children of Abraham and we follow the same one true God. It is on how we get there that we differ. Both sides believe in salvation, life after death for the saved and the eternal damned. Both feel like the other side is doomed.

One big difference is that in the Koran you are assured of Paradise if a Muslim dies in a jihad or holy war. Speaking of Heaven, do Muslim women who die in the Holy War get virgins too? I really don’t know, do they get the same rewards? In our Heaven, we get streets of gold, no pain, and a mansion, no mention of virgins.

Too bad you could not sign up for both religions because that way you would have a double indemnity clause and could claim either side depending on who wins. But, I checked, the way the fine print reads, you can only do one religion at a time. Then you have to bring in the Jews and the Buddhists, etc….

Although the Paradise thing sounds tempting, I think I will stay with the passion of Christ which is strictly volunteer and does not require physically dying, but rather a metaphorically death of one’s self. By all means, it is not an easy path. Have you read the end of the book?

Sometimes I wonder why we Americans have it so wonderful and will it end? But until then, God Bless America!