“We don’t think that depictions of the prophets are freedom of expression. We think it is an offense against our rights,” he said, adding, “The West has to understand the ideology of the people.”[source]
Unfortunately this will never happen. America’s freedoms allow us to be as degenerate and hateful as we want. We celebrate free speech in this country by defending the rights of politicians and business owners to openly speak on their disgust of gay people, for example. Gay people in America have to sit there and listen to it, they also have to know there’s nothing they can do to stop the rhetoric.
We are being represented by the worst of our society. Those who are full of hate and prejudice that take it upon themselves to insult the prophet of those in another country. Many of those with hateful things to say believe in their own version of said prophet and believe their “truth” is at odds with another culture’s “truth”. We have two groups of people who believe they are speaking in facts, and this isn’t being treated as a difference of opinion.
What they need to understand is that we also make fun of Christianity here in America. We make fun of Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, etc. Fun/Comedy/Commentary are made at the expense of beliefs that people truly hold dear.
We’re global now though. The things we do and say as Americans are heard all over the globe. Do I defend the rights of someone to espouse their ideas? Of course I do. But do I condemn those that use this freedom to demonize others for their own cause? Of course. I’ve seen some kneejerk reactions that want to label everyone from Libya as a terrorist or “sub-human”. It’s ridiculous. I’ve actually heard people defend racial profiling of Muslims in airports because it’s better to be safe than sorry. Well, as someone of Irish descent I’m just glad no one is concerned about the IRA currently or I’d be in the same boat.
The fact that the loudest and the most vocally vitriolic towards Islam are those who have their own religious ideology is what throws me off the most.. How angry did the religious right in this country get at Sinead O’Conner for ripping up a picture of the pope. Sure, she was free to do that here, and people had to deal with it. But it stung. It hit right at home, where it hurt, for a lot of people who truly believe in Catholocism. Yet, some man who calls himself a Christian, will release a film that fundamentally attacks the humanity of Islam. And what? People are supposed to just respect that we’re America and our Free Speech is of global priority?
Accountability. This is what matters. People need to be accountable for the things that they say. If you truly are only as good as your weakest members then we’re all the KKK or terrorists. Where have our manners gone? Where is good sense, respect, logic and kindness? What can we do to show the world that we’re better than this. That our parents raised us not to be cruel bullies who tout our freedoms over the world, but instead that we are respectful and greatful for our neighbors who share this planet with us.
Will anyone stop and say “We’re sorry”? I sure am.
gov•ern - verb
- a: to exercise continuous sovereign (possessing supreme or ultimate power) authority over; especially : to control and direct the making and administration of policy in
b: to rule without sovereign power and usually without having the authority to determine basic policy.
- a: to control, direct, or strongly influence the actions and conduct of
b: to exert a determining or guiding influence in or over <income must govern expenditure>
c: to hold in check : restrain
- to serve as a precedent or deciding principle for <customs that govern human decisions>
- to prevail or have decisive influence: control
- to exercise authority
- definition of the word govern, pertinent items from the dictionary
I’ve never really looked up the word govern before. It’s pretty vague, actually. I suppose I knew it was vague because that’s why it’s so polarizing and changes with the wind. In America, government is really just the embodiment of the will of the people. Right and wrong is nothing more than what society is willing, or not yet ready to, accept. It’s perhaps the single most subjective thing that could possibly exist. Where does this morality really come from? Without direction, people were lost.
The strongest theme we have running through historical context is religion. It’s uncannily universal. People of all genders and ethnicity simultaneously and unknowingly sprang up with the idea that there had to be something bigger. It’s pretty amazing, when you really think about it.
According to the Din4, they emerged from three previous underworlds into this, the Fourth, or “Glittering World”, through a magic reed. The first people from the other three worlds were not like the people of today. They were animals, insects or masked spirits as depicted in Navajo ceremonies. First Man (’Alts4 Hastiin), and First Woman (’Alts4 ’Asdz33), were two of the beings from the First or Black World. First Man was made in the East from the meeting of the White and Black Clouds. First Woman was made in the West from the joining of the Yellow and Blue Clouds. Spider Woman (Na’ashj4’ii ’Asdz33), who taught Navajo women how to weave, was also from the First World.
- Navajo Creation Myth (it is of important note that most creation theories are referred to as myths)
Many creation stories involve a creator making the first man and first woman, it’s a very common theme. It makes sense since we know that life begins with the joining of a man and a woman. An easy, and convenient, extrapolation is that in order to exist there had to have been at least one man and one woman to begin pro-creation. Seeing as how societies used to be much smaller and very insular it makes sense that they would think there were only a few people God had created. If we came up with religion today knowing there are seven billion people, perhaps we would assume God put 1,000 people on the earth to start, spreading them out over continents on the world and making them have different physical attributes depending on where they were. However, lacking that top down look at the world, it’s obvious that people would think that only one man and one woman who looked just like them was all it took to kick things off. Each and every civilization seemed to build upon this idea that life and the earth we live on was a gift from something greater than us. Yet, the details have always been pretty different.
Somehow though, one “myth” took hold more than the others. One-third of the modern world believe that Christianity is not a myth, but fact. It’s no co-incidence that the religion of the most successful conqueror’s in history has now become the biggest world influencing myth to date. Religion was a reaction for the need to self-govern. Luckily, people’s instincts got a few things correct. 33% of the world’s population belief that these are the number one rules to live by:
And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
I’m really glad that corporate America decided a 5 day work-week was good enough.
It’s not really a bad start if you forget all the nonsense in the beginning about a self-centered omnipotent being that will be very angry at us if we make fun of him. I believe most people can agree on everything from “Honour thy father and thy mother” on down the list. But without the fear associated with repercussion, what would keep people from listening to any of this? And thus the idea of punishment is born. There is an angry and jealous man who MADE you telling you not to do these things.
It worked, kinda?
Killing and stealing is part of the reason we’re here as Americans. Killing in the name of God furthered dominance and power of the Christian faith. The very things, the lies, the murder, the theft. The rules by which Christianity holds itself are the rules by which it has come to power. It’s poetic really.
Yet somehow 2.1 billion people don’t understand how silly it all really is. In America it’s a little more than 33% coming in at around 77% in 2009. That’s a very strong majority of the people in this country. So the will of the people is obviously going to be heavily influenced by the majority, Christianity. It used to be that our leaders were not held to conform to any one idea. A number of our greatest historical presidents were religiously unaffiliated: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln.. But now a days it is very important that someone be a good Christian boy. Heck, it doesn’t matter that there are many factions of Christianity that all disagree with one another. Episcopalian? Good enough. Unaffiliated Christian? Well, at least he’s not muslim, or is he?
Freedom of religion is a very important part of our nation’s protections. But what about freedom from religion. It’s not even consistent. If a man wants to pay a woman to share intimacy in the privacy of a hotel room for money, that is a crime. However, if that man instead puts up a video camera, makes the girl sign a waver, and then pays her an acting fee, it’s porn and perfect legal. Remember that part where killing is wrong and you shouldn’t do it? Wellllll, it’s okay if that person is a criminal. I mean, they killed someone else FIRST right, so I guess it’s okay? But a fetus, a potential human really, gets more rights than fully formed adults who have murdered others. Obviously God said that he didn’t want us to kill, but we can read between the lines on this one big guy.
So why are we okay with this? Is it even possible that we could thrive in a godless world? Can the fear of the majority alone, at this point in our technological advancement, be enough? Would the world really go into chaos and flames without the idea that there is some God there to punish you holding over?
Thirty percent of people in France identify as having no religion. Abortion is legal and decriminalized in France. Prostitution is not illegal in France, though some affiliated behaviors such as soliciting, procuring, operating a brothel , living off the avails (pimp), and paying for sex with someone under the age of 18. The death penalty has been abolished for 31 years in the entire country. Same-sex marriage is still illegal, dang 3/4 wasn’t so bad!
What do I believe? It’s really hard when I think about it. I was raised being taught that certain things were true. I prayed in my room each night to God asking him to make sure to protect me and my loved ones. I believed that Jesus was a pretty awesome dude who died so that I could be given a second chance. It all seemed pretty great, honestly. Until I started to become exposed to the rest of the world. Once I realized the fact that there are so many people all over the world that believe things completely contrasting others. That wars were fought in the name of religious supremacy. That someone truly and honestly believed God told them that expansion of America was our right. Under the same ideals I was told we were to love each other and be good people, others found the right to own other human beings to work on their plantations. I can’t possibly identify with any religion anymore. Is there a God? I don’t know. Do I think he would want us killing each other and being horrible to each other in his name? No, I can’t possibly believe that. Do I believe that any God that would exist believes that physical love is wrong, shameful and should only be used for reproduction? Of course not.
But mostly, I believe that whatever I think shouldn’t matter. A country, state, town, etc should not have the right to impose one religion onto another. But the people, and their will, is what we’ve all agreed to follow. The majority wins. And if a majority of the country believes that a love between two people is sick and wrong, or that a fetus deserves a chance at life…. this is unfortunately what we’ve all signed up for. My only hope is that the people are all talking. That those who believe otherwise are not sitting at home apathetic to these issues and doing nothing. My hope is that there are sleeper agents out there, new ones turning 18 and others who have perhaps realized that individual liberty and happiness is a beautiful thing. I hope that people who make a decision to sit back and “not vote” perhaps reconsider this decision. Every voice counts. Every nudge in a new direction is a step forward. If the operators of the Underground Railroad didn’t get involved because they thought their efforts were futile, we may still have slavery today.
So, if any of you are out there. Women who want rights for their own bodies. Atheists who no longer want to be held under the thumb of religious oppression. People who want to have some sex for money. Please, remember that one person can make a difference. Small differences have been happening each and every year. Progress continues to be made, and the stranglehold of Christian morality onto our society has lessened. Remember that about 40% of Americans are made up of that “one vote that doesn’t really make a difference” but not having themselves heard. Get the fuck out there. Vote.
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