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Infuriating words at 8:30am (or anytime, really)

August 23, 2010

“I don’t care for their religion, I don’t care for their politics” -Cynthia Duam

And I don’t care for you.  This, however does not mean anything in the grand scheme of things.  I do not have to care for you, I don’t even have to like you.  We just have to live in the same country, do our civic duty, and leave each other alone.

The problem is that you took your radical racism and sent it blaring through my radio at 8:30am on a Saturday.  (Not only 8:30am on a Saturday, but a Saturday when I had to work!)

With such a beautiful place, why can't we see our freedom as an innate quality for everyone?

But my own personal feelings about Saturday mornings aside, I’d like to honestly make a point here.  How on earth do people living in a country that claims to be living on values of freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press, and petition (first amendment- for those who were counting) think that they are living up to any sort of standards of American values by making generic assumptions about people based on their religion (or any other aspect of their life for that matter, but that is another blog, another day).  That, my friends, is in essence racism.  Let’s take a look at some of the remarks made in the past few weeks:

“I don’t want them here opening mosques in every city, trying to open it up on ground zero in New York, where they killed thousands and thousands of people. They don’t belong here.” -Cynthia Duam (continued off of the quote which opened this article)

“The question becomes, when are young people indoctrinated into the Muslim ideal and how much are they willing to carry out? I mean, it’s no different than the Japanese kamikazes.” -Marvin Scott (Indiana Republican Congressional Candidate)

“I do have a problem with having a mosque on top of the site where [terrorists] can gloat about what they did” -Al Santora (FDNY Deputy Chief)

First of all- let’s all start with a short definition.  All squares are rectangles.  Not all rectangles are squares.  Everyone seems to be able to comprehend this simple step in logic.  Now- let’s try this: All people who practice Islam are not terrorists.  For the love of whatever, I think we have even proven in the past 20 years or so that not all terrorists are Muslim!

I think it is very disturbing that on September 11 this year, the town of Gainsville, FL is having a “burn the Quran” day (quote from the Weekend Edition story).  What gives people?  Most of the people in America who are going to show up to that are the same people who were highly offended by videos of people in the middle east burning the American flag- now, you seem to like to think that you are better than the terrorists, why don’t you step up and prove it. The Qur’an is a beautiful book, and whether it happens to be your holy book or not, what message is burning it going to prove other than telling the terrorists that they have won, and the United States is no longer a place where you can come and practice whatever religion you want to practice, and live what life you want to live, free from threat of harm.  What is next Gainsville?  Going to stone some terrorists?  That seems like the next logical step to me… hmmm… now what is this sounding like?

Seeing a storm coming and having no control over when it hits is scary, unless you can try to find the beauty in the storm.

The Lt. Governor of Tennessee last month actually suggested that Islam should be qualified as a cult, and therefore not protected under the first ammendment’s freedom of religion clause. First,  I would love to personally ask the Lt. Governor, with all due respect to his position, what he has been smoking, and why he will not share.  Next I would like to explore a little:  Here is the first section of’s definition of cult:
“cult: 1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult 3. the object of such devotion 4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc 5. Sociology . a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols 6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader 7. the members of such a religion or sect 8. any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.”  Now I am pretty sure that #2 and #3 refer to what in high school our parents called cliques.  #1, #4 and #5 could technically describe any religion.  As for #6, I have not yet seen a single charismatic leader of the Islam religion step up and say anything on the news (I assume that they are looking for a currently living human being), and most of the Muslims I have seen live lives that seem quite normal, and actually very similar to mine, so I’m striking #6 also.  #7 does not tell us much, and #8 describes for me more the claims that are made about Jesus Christ than any other religious leader.  So I am going to assume that the Lt. Governor is talking more about the connotation of the word cult than the denotation.  So, when we think cult, we think, well- I think of a guy (and yes, it is usually a guy), who pops up out of nowhere, gets a bunch of people to follow him as he is going to lead them to heaven, or redemption, or a better life on Mars, or something crazy sounding like that, as long as they lock themselves in a mansion and then set fire to it- and he gains a large following, and a lot of people kill themselves for no reason.    Now let’s take a look at what I know about the beliefs of three of the world’s major religions (just saying- google “Major World Religions” and see what comes up).
Islam is actually branched off of Judaism, in much the same way as Protestants are branched off of Catholics, but with a little more sex and jealousy in the story, and a lot fewer notes on church doors (as there were no churches).  You see, I went to a Catholic school, another religion closely related to both Judaism, and in the same way Islam, and yes, I was taught the history behind the Old Testament.  A good portion is based on actual events- not all- but a good portion.  And I believe that although I do not practice Catholicism right now- I had a fantastic education.  What I was taught in religion class (the history section mind you) is that Abraham had two sons.  The first he had with his servant, Hagar, and that kid’s name was Ishmael (yes, but not quite as in “call me”).  Then, his barren wife was magically given by God the power to have children very late in life (she was considered sterile until then- they called that barren back then I guess).  She bore him a son named Isaac.  Ishmael and Hagar were kicked out of the village by Sarah (mother of Isaac) because she did not want the older son (who was still legal heir to Abraham due to their laws back then) to have anything that could have possibly been given to Isaac (who to this day is considered the sole heir of Abraham according to the Jewish doctrine- I’m sorry but I do not know if there is a technical name for Jewish doctrine like there is “catechism” for Catholic doctrine).  Most Islamic traditions view Ishmael as the top ancestor you can trace all others back to of the Arab people.  These stories are in one way or another in both the Islamic and Jewish teachings- the Torah’s version favors Isaac, and the Qur’an’s version favors Ishmael.  The first five books of the Old Testament are the Torah, so you should be able to make a connection on where the Christians stand.  Now with all of that background, which is also confirmed by multiple other  religion’s teachings, tell me where the cult part comes in.  I really want to know.

I would like to point out to be fair that the lady  quoted at the top of this blog is from California, and it seems that she was not so much butting into the debate about the NYC mosque, but protesting one which is possibly going to be built much closer to her home in CA (see the link I have entitled “Why California Cares” it should lead to a SF Gate story).  However, I think someone should inform her that there are already mosques in many of the major cities in the United States, and it is really not all that different from having a Jewish Temple, or a Catholic Church in every city in America. Those who are going to their religious services are doing so to worship, not make evil plots.  And although I do not feel that I really need to state this, there is a large difference between an American citizen who identifies and worships as a Muslim, and a Kamikaze.  I do not feel I have to explain why.  At the same time as I do realize that the debris and damage from the Sept 11 attacks covered many city blocks, this is no reason to make them all holy ground.  If I remember correctly, right after the attacks people were talking about putting the same buildings back but larger.  If you were going to re-build a commerce site onto of what is an accidental and unfortunate graveyard, wouldn’t the area and those that died there be better served and remembered by embracing people of the Islamic religion and stating, “we know you are not all alike, and we want you to know that you are welcome here, even if we are not welcome there, because we are the United States of America, and we have a statue that says something of the sort in our harbor”.

I would also like to point out that there is no reason that any American should be concerned about Obama’s religion.  Having to actually see the link below come up on a news feed in this day and age disturbs me.  It does not matter what religion the president practices or does not practice.  I thought we pretty much had those worries behind us once the nation figured out that our beloved JFK was not on a hot-line directly to the pope every morning asking for orders like Darth Vader to the Emperor (although I do have to say that the current pope looks more the part of the Emperor than John Paul II did).

The Anchor- even in dark and cold times, a symbol of hope.

For my last trick I would like to point you to the last link on this post, where John Stewart sums up quite nicely all of the things that are wrong with the argument that terrorists are going to be funding the mosque most in question in NYC, and points out that the site of the mosque is actually a few blocks away from where the World Trade Center stood, and that is will actually be built in an abandoned Burlington Coat Factory building.  Keep in mind that this is the Daily Show- it is funny and intended to be that way.

My parents taught me to stand up for what is right and good.  Remarks like those I have been hearing lately made by American citizens about other American citizens who happen to be slightly different in some way (religion, sexual orientation, skin color) are neither right nor good.   I also feel that I have a duty to my country and the people in it to point out what is going on here, make people notice that it is ethically wrong, and ask that it be changed.  I wish I knew of a better way, but this is all I’ve got.  And all that because really, the last thing I want to hear at 8:30am on a Saturday when I worked all week are bigoted remarks.  I mean- I don’t want to hear them at any time, but at 8:30am last Saturday, what was said on the radio infuriated me.  And I don’t get angry very easily.

The post you just read was mostly based on/ references the following links:
The NPR Weekend Edition Story
Why California Cares
More NPR- Obama’s Religion
Dictionary: Cult
The New York Post Story
The Daily Show Aug 19, 2010
Thank you for listening to my humble opinion.  Keep in mind that especially with such a hot-button topic if the tone in the comment you leave does not stay above a certain level of human decency it will not make the cut of those which are published.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. bachic permalink*
    August 24, 2010 7:36 pm

    Also, please check out this article from a local media outlet in Norfolk, VA:

  2. EMR permalink
    August 25, 2010 12:41 am

    Yes, yes and yes. I could not agree with you more.
    Thank you. I love also that America, founded on freedom of religion is some how a “Christian” nation. excuse me but fuck that. Religious “morals” (if you can call it that) offend my atheist nature. I in fact am more kind and moral than most “religious” people, I am far more tolerant I know that! AND I thought we established that there is a SEPARATION of church and state. That means, you do not get to rule on moral issues.
    I am so sick of hearing about the mosque. seriously. I feel its a ton of ignorance just spreading like wildfire.

    ANYWAY. I have much to say on the matter. Thank you for posting this it was so ON POINT. A plus for BA This week 🙂

    • bachic permalink*
      August 25, 2010 6:16 pm

      Your welcome. I can’t imagine how much you all hear about it being that you are hours closer than I am (and yet still pretty far away compared to other people I know). It would drive me up a wall. At least I could shut out all media sources and not deal with it if I didn’t want to…

      PS- you should watch the Colbert Report from Monday the 23rd… it’s really funny!

  3. Susie permalink
    August 25, 2010 5:16 pm

    I find it highly amusing that I read this while watching Blazing Saddles.

    I agree with you, says a member of the Protestant cult.

    • bachic permalink*
      August 25, 2010 6:13 pm

      Haha… what is that song with the line about how you could never make a movie like Blazing Saddles anymore? It’s some sort of pop song I think…

      I’m glad the Protestants are with me! Or one at least…

      • Jessie permalink
        September 11, 2010 4:21 pm

        It’s SR71 “Politically Correct” (the song anyway)

        And yes, on all accounts. (I finally got to read the whole thing :p)

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