Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ranting against religious ranting

The Asian tsunami was blamed by some Muslims on Allah’s punishment of errant Muslims and Western pleasure-seekers. Some Muslim clerics went further and heaped the blame on fornicators, usurers, homosexuals and others, noting that its occurrence during the Christmas holiday period had some sort of special significance. But it wasn’t only the Muslim clerics that were attributing the disaster to God’s wrath – various spokespeople for the other major faiths were also blaming the sins of Mankind for the disaster.

Just last month, the mayor of New Orleans provoked outrage by calling Hurricane Katrina God’s punishment for invading Iraq. But, before that, various conservative Christians were blaming it on a whole multitude of sins. Some of these opinions are summarised in the Medical Leader:

Rick Scarborough, president of Vision America, argued that the hurricane was God’s punishment for homosexuality, bestiality, pornography, the removal of Ten Commandments monuments, and the United States’ support for Israel’s withdrawal of Gaza.

Michael Marcavage, who leads the anti-homosexual group Repent America, argued that the hurricane struck just before Southern Decadence, the annual gay rights parade in New Orleans. Marcavage also linked the destruction with Mardi Gras and the “Girls Gone Wild” videos.

The group, led by antihomosexual preacher Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., said, “New Orleans, symbol of America, (is) seen for what it is: a putrid, toxic, stinking cesspool of fag fecal matter.” And they concluded, “It is NOT a sin to rejoice when God executes his wrath and vengeance upon America.”

Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, also thanks God for Hurricane Katrina. “New Orleans now is abortion free,” he explains. “New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free.”

The next major disaster to be attributed to God’s wrath was the earthquake in Pakistan. Some Islamic fundamentalists blamed it on ‘immoral activities’, some suggested that the ‘first gay marriage’ in Pakistan was to blame. Extreme right-wingers in the West said ‘Allah decided to punish you during your very holy month of Ramadan’.

There is just no end to the way in which religious zealots and bigots will manipulate information and events to suit their own agendas even though their opponents will be manipulating the same material to suit their own agendas. You have to wonder how they manage to convince their supporters to go along with their transparent manipulations. If all their followers were poorly educated and lived in parts of the world with little access to balanced opinions, you’d be able to understand it but significant numbers of their supporters are well-educated citizens of the developed world.

And now, with the explosive worldwide situation resulting from the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, you have Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stating that the publication of the cartoons was an Israeli conspiracy motivated by anger over Hamas’ win in the Palestinian elections.

Is he deliberately missing the point that they were originally published in September last year whereas the Hamas victory is a mere few week’s old? Will any of the people listening to him be aware of that insignificant little fact the next time they’re blaming the West for all the problems of the Middle East?

And while we’re on the subject of those cartoons, it incenses me to hear that there seems to be evidence proving that the whole situation was deliberately manipulated to create maximum discontent in the Muslim world. It appears that extra, more offensive cartoons were added to the original 12 by Danish Muslim activists then systematically distributed to mosques and governments around the world, starting in Egypt.

If you think that I’m not too keen on religious fundamentalism, you’d be perfectly right.

For an excellent post on the cartoons, have a look at the Religious Policeman


Blogger Caroline said...

Fascinating - and I've just done a posting on belief...

I've come to the conclusion that beliefs are best avoided, as are disbeliefs... I'm always shocked by other people's totally opposed certainties...

Its all the fault of words of course... in the beginning was the word and ever since there has been misunderstanding....

"vantud" suggests all sorts to me but I think it may the name of a new faith. Vantuds belief in vans. They believe its their right drive them and park them wherever they want despite silly traffic restrictions, inconveinience to others etc. I hadn't realised white van man had such a faith until now... ;-)

1:04 pm  
Anonymous Alan said...

It amazes me that whilst we are now in the 21st century some people still have the religious views and ideology of the middle ages. It would not surprise me if they still tried to drown women to prove witch craft in some parts of the US. The recent exterem weather is to do with the whole weather system and was bound to happen at some time. If you want to blame people for the disasters blame the straight ones. There are more of them so they must contribute more to global warming and environment change !

1:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't even get me started; I mean I have nothing against faith, or belief or spirituality but crumbs...these people are nutters; terrified or terrifying...but nutters nonetheless.

11:32 pm  
Blogger Worst Weather Ever said...

found you in google blogsearch. fred phelps is unbelievable. ive seen him out here in KC a few times, and I've come to realize he is the true uniter of the left and right, both sides hate the guy.

12:02 am  
Blogger Rob7534 said...

I have posted about this issue at lenght in other blogs, not personal themed blogs, like yours or mine, but political ones.

Anyway, my feelings closely resemble The Rude Pundit's rant on it.

"What's more patronizing?

To tell another culture to catch the fuck up to the 21st century?

Or to say that another culture is incapable of dealing with the rhetoric of the big ol' West so we should watch what we say around the children?

Don't have an answer, man, not today."

7:17 am  
Blogger CTG said...

Some people just like to rant and point fingers. Shame on them. I read ablout the blame on homosexuality for the hurricane and I actaully had a good laugh. I found it rather daft.

11:00 am  
Blogger Memphis Steve said...

Fred Phelps is known to be insane already. I don't know the others you mentioned. I do know that the Bible already deals with this whole issue of people trying to figure out if some disaster is God punishing people for something. They asked Jesus about this and he basically said, "why do you assume a disaster is God's wrath on the people who died?" Basically, 'you have no clue so why not worry about more important things?' An alternate and less popular translation is: Shit happens.

But somewhere deep inside of all people is a desire or need to tie things together and understand their causes. So we blame acts of God on God being mad at the people who got hurt. But really, how could we ever really know?

There, that's my deep thought for the day.

7:36 pm  
Blogger MichaelMayhem said...

all i can say is that 97% of the world are just another brick in the wall, here to fulfill some insignificant need in some niche probably worthy of nothing anyway. Only people with the ability to see the big picture [that religion in itself is the main cause of all global conflict] can move past the rest of the population and stop worshipping the gods that really have no better evidence of themselves than Zues or any other mythical or even fairy-tale like being. Muslim extremists (which categorizes most of them) are stuck in a vicious cycle of disbelief and violence because of their lifelong brain washing. as well as with christians in the us, they're a little different though. they believe if they live the life the church says they should no harm will come to them; such as with Tom Fox and Jill Carroll. Jill didn't even stay in a us gov. protected hotel while over there. what makes her so different from the rest of the press.. nothing as she found out. these nut cases think they're going to be able to bring peace to a people willing to blow themselves up in a heartbeat for the cause of what they believe is serving islam. how can you fix that with chrisianity? the best action is to not allow these nut jobs to go over there, they're only putting troops lives in jeopardy by forcing them to become rescuers not peace keepers.

7:03 pm  

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