Sunday, April 08, 2007

Death country

In discussing a post by spikesleman I was reminded of Sun-Tzu's Art of War when he talks of pushing the enemy into death country, something he wrote should be avoided at all costs.

Death country is where the enemy is pushed to a point where there is no way out. In death country the enemy becomes more dangerous, almost to the point of madness. In the biological vernacular, there is no flight, only fight. When death is the only option there is nothing to do but take down as many of the opposition as possible before dying.

America is headed for death country.

James Dobson pointed his evangelical finger at Fred Thompson, former senator from Tennessee and actor, and said "I don't think he's a Christian." Thompson, who plans to "...leave the door open for a presidential run," may just have been dealt a death blow. Dobson's statement cast a religious pall over Thompson and has placed all Americans on a very slippery slope. Focus on the Family, based here in Colorado, is Dobson's home base and his fingers are in a lot of non-evangelical pies, most notably politics. In 2004 when he endorsed President Bush for re-election, he mobilized six million (6,000,000) evangelical votes and changed political history.

It isn't as if we haven't seen the Religious Right focus on the highest office in the land before--Rev. Jesse Jackson and Pat Robertson leap rabidly screaming to mind--but in the current climate with a president in office who uses religion as a mandate to wage war and a yard stick by which to measure loyalty and service to the people, Dobson's influential statements and President Bush's actions put America on a parallel course with Ayatollah Khomeini and Al Qaeda and Hitler, among far too many others. This is what the founding fathers feared and why they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights the way they did. They knew what religious persecution had done and they wanted none of it here on American soil.

When most people think of Christianity they think of Jesus's soft spoken words of peace and how he lifted up the lowest, the despise, the disenfranchised, preaching that all were equal under God. People tend to forget the way Hitler used Jesus's attacking the money lenders as a banner to make the idea of war to preserve peace and promote prosperity palatable and even logical to the German people. And Hitler found a a friendly ally in the Roman Catholic church.

The Roman Catholic church had their militant arm in the Jesuits and the various orders of knighthood, galvanizing a world wide purge of all religious beliefs that could not be swallowed whole and adapted. Thank the Roman Catholic church and her vicars of Christ for the single-handed destruction of most of the codices and writings in South America--the New World. What the Vatican could not use it destroyed by fire and sword. Not quite the picture of Christ's soft spoken teachings of peace or the message of the Sermon on the Mount, and it certainly wasn't the religion of slaves, a religion kept alive by women until it became more powerful than Rome's military might, so powerful Emperor Constantine knew it was adapt or be crushed.

When Americans, and indeed most of the Western world, think of evil we think of Muslims and their determination to exterminate all unbelievers. We think of the Incas and their Pyramid of the Sun where victims' hearts were ripped beating from their chests and the Mayans with their games that ended in death for the losing teams. We think of Native Americans raiding peaceful farming and ranching settlements and the wholesale slaughter of innocents in Africa and New Zealand and Asia. We think of the Mongol hordes and the Vandals and the Vikings putting their enemies to death by sword and battle axe and burning the rest. Think again.

Some Christians would argue they are purging themselves and their lands and believers of an evil influence, an incipient and insidious infection that would poison them and enslave their souls, making them unworthy of whatever reward they will receive in that idyllic afterlife that waits for them if only they hold true to their beliefs. Guess what? Near every religious belief is founded on the same shifting sand on a slippery slope headed for the fire and destruction of chaos and paranoia is the siren song that will lure these religious lemmings to their deaths--and ours--as they force the unconvinced unbelievers, their brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren into death country.

Tolerance is a Utopian concept. It is difficult, if not downright impossible sometimes, to live. No one wants to see themselves as intolerant . . . unless religion is at the root of their intolerance. Christians damn Muslims who damn Christians who damn Buddhists and pagans and Wiccans and even other Christians if they don't follow the same rigid rules and interpretations of their bibles. Most people see their religion as the only true religion, and they the only ones with god's mouth to their ears giving them the unvarnished, unexpurgated and holy truth. They are on the broad and wide and well traveled road to chaos and destruction.

When Rome was tolerant of all religious beliefs, adopting some and ignoring others, they were a juggernaut of power and military might that conquered the majority of the civilized world (civilized in their eyes). But when they adopted Christianity as the state religion, burning temples, putting unbelievers to the sword, and outlawing any other religion, Rome began to crumble and eventually fell. Christianity was not the major contributor to Rome's fall, but Rome's lack of tolerance for other religions and the adoption of one true religion to the exclusion of all other faiths and religious practices.

Intolerance breeds contempt for others who are different and a rigid way of thinking that excludes anyone who does not conform to the ideal. Intolerance may start with religion but it always ends with entitlement and a sense of privilege and power that eventually ends in destruction.

The Roman Catholic church lived on and spread its doctrine and beliefs throughout the world, putting unbelievers to the sword and burning the rest and they began to crumble and fall apart when Martin Luther and John Calvin and many other men and women questioned the approved religion and broke away, running eventually to the New World where they could practice their beliefs without persecution, and where they could destroy the beliefs of the indigenous peoples if they could not convert them. Some people of different faiths didn't get away from the Vicar of Christ, suffering unbelievable torments for their beliefs, like the Carolingians, the Templars, the Jews, the Incas and many others.

It isn't religion that is at fault, but the people who control religions. It's that old demon, Absolute Power, and the way it corrupts absolutely, poisoning everything at the root. It's not the belief but what is done in the name of that belief that has caused more wars and death and poverty and destruction and chaos than any disease known to man. The Black Death didn't do as much damage, neither has HIV and AIDS.

Dobson and President Bush, swollen with their victories and the belief that they have a mandate from on High to force their religious faith down everyone else's throat, are dangerous, as dangerous as the Ayatollahs and Al Qaeda and Idi Amin and Qaddaffi and Hitler and every other religious or political zealot who has risen to power. America may yet pull out of this ideological tail spin since another presidential election is nearly upon us, but if Americans do not wake up and see they are headed for death country we may see the Apocalypse first hand in full and bloody, flaming living color. It will give a whole new meaning to reality television. Think it can't happen here. Think again.

The Founding Fathers' worst nightmares are coming to life. Tolerance and equality are being measured and weighed by a religious agenda that is no different from what we are supposed to be fighting in Iraq and in our war against terrorism. Terrorism does not always wear a foreign face. Terrorism wears the faces we see on and in the news and walks the halls of power as long as America remains in a bloated and drunken stupor of self righteousness. As our freedoms and choices dwindle in the name of safety and security, when the politically correct religious beliefs, as dictated by Dobson and President Bush and their like, become the standard by which to measure loyalty and Americanism, and when tolerance becomes nothing more than a word for anarchy, America is in death country.

That is all. Disperse.

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