The 21st Century is shaping up much like that of a thousand years past. A few Muslims poked us in the eye and all of our kinfolk came out of the woods to defend our honor – something like that. We do not intend in any way to suggest the the horrid attacks on our country on September 11, 2001, were nothing more than a poke in the eye – but we can say that a very few Muslims were responsible. Those responsible have been dealt with. Osama Bin Laden is dead – his organization smashed. The continued vilification of Islam serves only to reinvigorated those who are already on the brink of madness. How shall we respond?
The attacks of 911 seemed to justify any course of action – as long as it was forceful and brutal. We Americans do forceful and brutal very well. What struck us as sad was the reaction by our American religious institutions – many of who have called for the destruction of Islam. These ‘religious institutions’ are generally composed of the ignorant masses, led by the quest for power by individual religious leaders. You can comment below if you want to cite some examples.
Irony abounds. The protest against the Catholic Church in the 1500’s claimed the brutal history of the Church as one reason for protest. The protests gave rise to Protestantism – that quirky anomaly of anti-catholic Christians. I say quirky because of so many diverse ideas about what it means to be a non-catholic christian. In today’s world, the Pope is calling for peace and a large block of fundamentalist protestants are calling for the equivalent of a crusade. The tables have turned.
“Deus vult!” (God wills it) became the battle cry of the Crusader. Is this battle cry so different today?
There are many stories in a great literary tradition of lonely warriors coming home from battle. Ivanhoe speaks to the returning warrior of the historic christian crusades. Cold Mountain spoke of the American Civil War. Our modern American politics are infused with the plight of the returning Iraq/Afghanistan Warrior. Books will be written, stories told, empathy expressed – There is a horrendous cost to the battle cry of the fundamentalist Christian.
The battle cry today is different. In the time of the original Christian Crusades the King led his men into battle. Most of us know of King Richard from the Robin Hood stories. No such luck today. Bush and Cheney hid out in the Situation Room in a bunker below the White House while they sent the children of others off to fight their crusade. Pope George W. Bush would have been much more reserved about the war in Iraq if he had to eat every meal in the Green Zone. By the way – we have recommended that Bush build his Presidential Library in Baghdad – where it belongs.
Our response to the 911 attacks was partly justified. Al Qaeda was protected by the Afghan Taliban led government. We did not enter Afghanistan without cause. The only two people who thought that was wrong live in the Mental Health facility out on Frederick in St. Joseph, Missouri. When they took their meds they saw the justification.
Now, today, eleven years after the 911 attacks and the crushing of the responsible terrorist organization we need similar medications for those right wing religious fundamentalists who would have us marching on another futile crusade.