I’ve decided to weigh in on the Koran burning debacle. I’m not going to bother linking any articles–unless you’ve been living in a basement eating fish-heads, you should know what I’m talking about.
No religion or belief system is immune from criticism. This is important. I also firmly uphold the freedom of speech in the United States, where I live. I may not agree with aspects of monotheism, but the same could be said for certain polytheisms. In addition, monotheism certainly isn’t unique in the religious vandalism department. Just open a history book. In the end, however, I will firmly uphold the right of everyone to practice whatever religion–or lack thereof even–as they see fit, as long as it doesn’t harm others or interfere with the rights of others to do the same.
But the actions and words of pastor Terry Jones are contemptible. When a person or group of people go about this sort of critique in a way that destroys or attacks the human dignity (which includes living without being threatened, and the right to worship without threat or harassment) of another person or group of people, then this is not acceptable. One should be able to criticize a person, place, thing or idea without disrespect and with firm self-control. People who have no control are the first ones who will resort to extreme efforts to extinguish the rights and liberties of their fellow human beings.
Burning someone else’s cherished holy book is not proper criticism. It is nothing more than a low display of common violence–which could very well put other people such as soldiers at risk abroad (as General Petraeus pointed out), let alone Christian minorities living in various predominantly Muslim countries. This is nothing more than an elaborate tantrum made to endanger lives and incite some stupid holy war, and shows an extreme lack of control and narrow-minded view on the part of this pastor.
On the other hand, there are some, like myself, who wonder why some people out there would get enraged over the burning of a book, while these same would oppress their women and put their children to harm in tribal violence, and perform similar actions of religious vandalism. But in the end it isn’t just about a book of holy words. And it isn’t just about the extremists or the terrorists. It’s about people. It’s about Reason. Something I think many people lost sight of a long time ago.
In short, burning these holy books will do nothing more than feed the power of Isfet. And this is something I cannot agree with. Burning one’s holy book (or any book for that matter) is just one short step away from burning people. And that isn’t what this country is supposed to be about.
Go in peace, and find thy faith
Evolve thy self, and lose all hate
So a heaven you may create
In Thy Never Ending Way, Orphaned Land
This was first brought to my attention by Sannion’s post.
The Nile being polluted was not something new to me. Its shores are coated in garbage, large kitchen appliances jut out from its waters like broken teeth. This latest event shouldn’t come as a surprise–in fact, some may call it an inevitability. However, as P. Sufenas Virius Lupus noted, to become numb to and ignorant of this and related disasters, we only end up perpetuating the problem further.
I wonder if there is some sort of significance to all these oil spills happening so close to one another–or rather, if the events such as the Gulf oil disaster serve to make us more aware of such environmental threats that occur more often than one may realize. Either thought should make us stop and think next time we gas up at the pump. Effectively coping with any environmental disaster involves getting the right information in order for one to effect the right change.
Those of us, as polytheists, who are grieved by this event, must also realize that we are like a diaspora. The Nile is not only the heart and soul of Egypt, but it is also carried within our hearts. Hapi will live on and prosper, and as polytheists we can continue to honor him by being proper, intelligent stewards and caretakers of our nurturing waterways. At least, until I hear more from this disaster out of Egypt, I will continue to support Hapi as sie lives in my land, as well as lend my prayers to the healing of the Nile. I am deeply saddened by this event, but I hope to transmute this emotion into right action.
As the title says. I am currently settling myself in from a month overseas in Germany, spending time with my partner. I had been back stateside little more than a week when I had departed on a road trip, and am currently recalibrating myself. Playing catch-up is a real bitch, but I’m doing my best. I certainly have plenty to keep me busy at the moment.
I was pleased to return and find that my friend Dr. Phil has his own blog out now. Aedicula Antinoi is turning out to be a delightful read, and definitely worth taking a peek at if you’re interested in anything historic, Antinoan, polytheistic, and queer. As a genderqueer pansexual pagan transguy myself, I am quite happy at it’s existence.
Many bloggers have made comments and blog posts regarding the anniversary of 9/11. I would lend my own words into the fray, but others have already had intelligent and insightful things to add. I come from a family of government workers, soldiers and vets, so obviously this sort of thing affects me and those around me. But how it affects me largely determines my reactions, and the example that I choose to lead. In the end, regardless of any misgivings I may have about a particular thing, I am going to err on the side of reason and peace. My Divine Father is not only a war-god but a Way Opener (much like Ganesha, who’s festival in India also began on that day). We must pray for the proper pathways to be open, that of understanding and Reason. I could dedicate more time to this topic, but there is life and other matters that need attending to, and repetition and stagnation does no good by anyone.
Now that I’m settling back in, I have German to practice, essays to write, care packages to stuff, and various other devotional activities that need attending to. This blog will be getting more attention, so stay tuned!