In 1989, the Industrial-Metal band, Ministry, released one of the greatest records of all time (my opinion, of course) entitled, The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste. I spent about two hours locked in my room with the volume cranked up to eleven. And that was just on the first track. It took me the third-or-so hour to reach the second track. I kept playing the first track, Thieves, over and over and over and over and…
That’s about as close to a religious experience I ever had. Locked in solitary with my kind of chanting. Unless you count the several times I’ve listened to Smiths and Morrissey records in a similar environment. But the The Mind album, along with the band’s name, (Ministry) and that first track, (Thieves), go hand-in-hand, speculating on a flock’s mind being stolen away by thievery, well, I’m reaching. Or preaching? Joseph Smith says he was contacted by the Archangel Gabriel, shown hidden golden tablets and then tasked to translate them. So if that shit can be bought, so can mine with an Industrial-Metal band from the eighties/nineties. But where as I’m good enough to tell you that tidbit of spiritual revival, I’m not about to insist you get into Ministry. Or follow my Ministry. Or do as I say. Others would. Others do. Others take their conversions, their revelations, and force them upon others. Some do so with life and death consequences.
Some say that gay marriage cheapens marriage but I think heterosexual couples have already done that by allowing more than fifty-percent of them (in the United States) to terminate. And that number doesn’t count those who feel locked in, not wanting to waste the past by throwing away the future. A more reliable scale of testing would be to spend more time asking heterosexual couples how happy they are. Have a one-to-ten scale of questioning if you like, but grading rates of success, true success of happiness until death duly parts. That would be a more accurate portrayal as to whether or not heterosexual, monogamous couples are the best. But you’d have to match them over years of sampling of long time homosexual marriages (as well as other arrangements, like polygamy). I don’t believe enough time has passed to get a good sampling.
I respect the human mind way too highly to let some use theirs so carelessly. Heterosexuals who waste their upper-most-body-matter telling homosexuals they can’t be married is one such exercise. Other wastes are allowing the brain in one person to ban the space travel of another brain that constructs a machine to allow him such an adventure. The former doing so on behalf of an invisible being that; while was capable in the distant past of creating the entire universe, now feels compelled to ban his most precious creation to explore it. Or, regarding human relations, if said being is all that powerful, why does he care where you put your genitals?
The common denominator in the above cases is a religious one. Those against gay marriage are against it for religious reasons. They may use the word “tradition” but said tradition is a religious one (albeit faulty as, biblically and Qu’ranically speaking, a male may have many wives). In any case, the holder of the view that homosexuals can not marry claim to just be messengers, pointing out that the commanded Order comes from a higher power – God. Who are they to bend the judgment of God? Anyone can read the Order for themselves in the Bible or Qu’ran, right?
That’s precisely the problem. Joseph Campbell said, “Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.”
When my daughter discusses the ongoings of her relationship with her invisible friend, I humor her, ask questions concerning the nature of this friend. But should this rite of childhood never pass, its time to seek psychological counseling. So when I see grown adults engaging is such behaviors, well, I can respect the person but I can not respect the belief. Christopher Hitchens wrote, “If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in a quite different world.” I concur. Is it any coincidence that the religion of the child is the religion of the parents?
You could never point to a five-year-old child and claim this child is a Republican child. You could never put a Detroit Piston’s jersey on a one-year-old and claim this child is a basketball fan, particularly of the Detroit Pistons. And you can’t label a child a Muslim or Jewish child. Just because the parents are something doesn’t mean the child is too. Those choices are adult choices. And when adults make said choices to be those things, we can only then use the label.
It’s why I’m so hard on religious talk. It’s why I protest so highly against indoctrination of children. In all other lines of inquiry, a child taught a certain subject has the right to ask questions, has the right to conduct his/her own experiments to replicate the findings. And, if what that child had been told turns out to be wrong, text books can change. Not so with the Holy books. There is no room for discussion or engagement. It’s written down by mystics of old and you obey. That’s it. No questions. And if a Holy text says homosexuals can not marry…
Or can not eat anything that mixes meat and dairy,
Or can not cut the hair on the side of your head,
Or can not touch a dead pig (bacon!),
Or can not…then you can not.
The above are a few prohibitions in the Bible. There’s plenty more. I won’t list them all for you. If you wanna check out the entire list, check into any hotel room in the United States. The Gideons were kind enough to litter every establishment with a Bible for your perusal. We can be thankful that most Jews and Christians don’t follow the rules of Leviticus and Deuteronomy to the letter, don’t pass down the ludicrous to their children. The Golden Rule, I suppose, is practiced by most while the more “primitive” Orders are discarded. And while I may snicker at someone who believes in a magic Jewish carpenter who died two-thousand-years ago and will return soon to fix things, I kinda gotta shrug sometimes and say, “Well, what’s it to me?” My friends and family (and total strangers) who practice in the Judea-Christian faith generally leave me alone. Sometimes we even have rather fine, engaging discussions.
At worst, Judea-Christians try to use the force of government to ban homosexual marriages or put prayer back in school. They don’t draw swords. And yes, there is the occasional wacko assault on a doctor performing abortions. But these are more Man Bite Dog stories than regular occurrences. Bull horning or trying to legislate based on the Bible is one thing. Ramming a 757 into your face is another.
From it’s very beginning, the United States has been at war with the Muslim faith. Documented here, I pointed out that 9/11 was a continuation of that war. And it continues to this day. Where as all other religions get mouthy or try to force themselves through legislation at worst, Islam is the only religion on the physical offense.
In every debate, we must pick our battles. In the contest with reason and logic on one side and the authority of religion on the other, the former is the clear winner. But should we spend our energies shouting down all practices of Woo? Resources are limited. If there are a number of parasites eating away at the host, shouldn’t the most time be spent on the worst pest?
Christians, Jews, Jains, Buddhists, astrologers, alchemists, Urantians, they pale in comparison to the mayhem Islam has caused. It is Islam that we must be confronted head on. It is Islam where we must spend most of our time. This isn’t entirely about 9/11. This is about the day-to-day censorship and life threats (and executions) that come from them.
Let us be reminded of the case of Umm Nidal, noted for counseling three of her six sons to commit suicide attacks against Israel. Let us be reminded of the ever present Al-Qaeda. Let us be reminded of the Boston Marathon 2013. Let us be reminded of the treatment of Daniel Pearl. Let us be reminded of every journalist, musician, author, or otherwise that said a sour word against Islam. Let us be reminded of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a well known critic of Islam and a supporter of women wishing to withdraw from the binds that Islam offers them. Born in Somalia, Ms. Hirsi Ali, herself, suffered the ritual of female genital mutilation at the age of five, was chastised by family to participate in an arranged marriage (which she refused) and eventually sought political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992. She went on to hold political office in the Dutch House of Representatives from 2003 to 2006. She is well published with four books on the subject of women in Muslim communities and her own life within. Finally, Ms. Hirsi Ali heads the AHA Foundation, a non-profit in the United States set to protect women from the abuses of Islam. With all her accomplishments, Ms. Hirsi Ali has been awarded several times by various agencies and was supposed to be awarded an honorary degree by Brandeis University located in Waltham, Massachusetts on May 18, 2014. But said degree was withdrawn when Muslim groups protested. Why? Because of everything I just told you about her. Apparently, the Muslims who protested the degree are upset because she’s been an ardent critic of Islam and their hideous practices. And, I’ll state it again, these practices include female genital mutilation, forced marriages, kept/beaten women, honor killings, etc, etc. which is what she’s been most opposed to.
Being denied an honorary degree is one thing. Having one’s life threatened: Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote the screenplay to the 2004 film, Submission. Directed by Theo Van Gogh, said film shows female women, Muslim women, abused through the permission of Islam. And like Salman Rushdie, who after publication of The Satanic Verses, found himself rushed into protective custody because of Muslim death threats, Ms. Hirsi Ali and Mr. Van Gogh were treated to the same negative applause. But while Ms. Hirsi Ali remains alive, Mr. Van Gogh was not so lucky. On November 2, 2004, he was assassinated at the hands of a Muslim man who took his Holy Book a little too seriously, a little too “At-Face-Value”.
The American University, western universities, have long been harbors of learning and higher education. Places where young adults go to ask questions, conduct experiments, challenge old thesis. But the Brandeis University/Ayaan Hirsi Ali censorship case isn’t a secluded man chews hide of canine. A few weeks ago, both the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois were scheduled to screen the documentary, Honor Diaries but found their events cancelled, again, at the behest of uptight Muslims groups. What was the problem this time? Honor Diaries documents the testimony of nine Muslim, Muslim, women, telling the stories of genital mutilation, honor killings and submission in the name of the Faith. Yet, instead of taking the opportunity to admit the problem, correct the problem, and walk out of the Dark Ages, the Council on American-Islamic Relations chose to complain. And to complain loud enough to cry “Islamophobe” and have the screenings cancelled. Think about it. This was their chance to absolve themselves from the barbaric practices, to come out and say, “Yes, yes, it was done in the past. But we’re up to speed now.” But no. Their choice to shut it down suggests complete acceptance of these practices into the present age.
A few months ago, pop music star, Katy Perry, released her music video for Dark Horse. In that video, Ms. Perry, playing a queen of some sorts, punishes a subject by zapping him with a lighting bolt from her fingers. The bolt lands on the man’s chest, upon a necklace with a pendant engraved with the word, “Allah” and kills him. Out came the petitions and demands for censorship because it is apparently blasphemous. The Muslim outcry was enough that Ms. Perry had the video edited to remove the pendant. Why? What was she scared of? (See Ayaan Hirsi Ali).
Those who call for censorship or violence in the name of Islam are not only granted an exception but have their bad behavior over looked. On April 10, 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Cat Stevens. Cat Stevens supported the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call to murder author, Salman Rushie. after publication of his, Satanic Verses. Amazing! Imagine if Fred Phelps were more than the instigator of the “God Hates Fags” protests outside military funerals. Imagine if he started first as a major figure in music or literature. Would he be welcomed like Mr. Stevens…or, I mean, Yusuf Islam? Religion allows the unallowable.
Why is it that a university or author or other talent can lodge criticism or outright eviscerate any other religion without cause for apology or reversal? What is it about criticizing Islam that is so different, so life threatening? The fact is, a display by an artist of a crucifix submerged in a bottle of urine may furrow brows, but a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb on his head can get you killed.
I urge you to consult the Qur’an itself for the answer. This is the bases of Islam. Read where it is expected to put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, to abstain from friendship and alliances of unbelievers and to punish people who ignore the “revelations”. Then you’ll know why. Then you’ll know Al-Qaeda. Then you’ll know Umm Nidal, Osama Bin Laden, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. You’ll know those terrible minds and why western, secular, reasonable organizations cave. Self preservation.
Regarding Islam, Sam Harris wrote in The End of Faith, “…in the year 2006 a person can have sufficient intellectual and material resources to build a nuclear bomb and still believe that he will get 72 virgins in Paradise. Western secularists, liberals, and moderates have been very slow to understand this. The cause of their confusion is simple: They don’t know what it is like to really believe in God.” In other words, we are witnessing Muslims, enough to make an impact, taking the Qur’an at face value and not plucking out the parts that should have been extinguished along with the Biblical Order to stone to death disobedient children. Islam, it appears, is the last of the Woo, last of the nonsense that remains a real threat to civilized society.
Am I being unfair, presenting the worst of the worst? I’ll let Ayaan Hirsi Ali have the final word. After a speech where Ms. Hirsi Ali was confronted by two Muslims claiming she misrepresented Muslims, she was quick enough to note, “Then why do I have to travel with armed protection?”
We can not be canceling television shows and publications and movie screenings because someone is offended, not here, not in the town of Thomas Jefferson. Muslims have managed to make it happen because of the extreme in their group, engaging in assassinations and fatwas over the smallest of things. Do not let a religion, one alledegedly founded on a man claiming an angel dictated to him like Joseph Smith, tell you what you can read, see or feel. Do not let them steal the ideals of western universities. Do not allow them to be the thieves of our children’s higher learning and well being. You can start, simply, by pushing play.