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Friday, April 2, 2010

Save The Children

This Good Friday I have a few things on my mind, but one thing seems to be outstanding: children. Specifically, how abused children are by different branches of the two larger Abrahamic faith communities. That example closest to home for most of us is, of course, the discoveries not only of much more sexual abuse of children than was believed among the Catholic clergy here and in Europe but, possibly worse, the almost systematic coverup of it among the bishops. The cherry atop this ugly-tasting sundae is that Benedict (Should I say Maladict?)when he was still just Josef RatZinger, was in on the coverup. Now John Allen said that Ratzinger wanted to move much quicker than anyone else in the Church hierarchy against this abuse and I for one have no reason to disbelieve him. However, I do wonder (considering how much more ground the Pope has to cover) where did Ratzinger start? Is the rest of the hierarchy that far back? God help us all, then!
Lest any Islamists start gloating, let me also say that (to date) Islam comes off looking just as bad if not even worse. Did Muhammad really marry Ayesha when he was MY age (53) and she was SIX?! And did he really consummate with her three years later when she was NINE?!? To say this does NOT look good is putting it very, VERY mildly. Branches of contemporary Islam come off no better: Warlock Ayatollah Khomeini actually said an infant daughter still at her mother's breast could be promised to some dirty old man (like himself) Not to mention child marriage is still legal on the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Gulf states?) and, finally, the Palestinian Authority is showing less love for their people's children than the Israelis and Westerners are: they encourage children to become suicide bombers. If any individuals or societies have done worse by their children, don't tell me; I don't want to know!
Maureen Dowd is probably right: a nun needs to be chosen Pope to clean up this particularly noisome mess. Also, one of the first tasks of reopened ijtihad has to be to render Islam as a whole plenty more child-friendly than it currently is. But let us all pray that children be loved and taught without abuse. Let us pray for ourselves as well that we might create more effective safeguards against such abuse which always means a premature end to real childhood. Let us also remember Who it is that said,"Let the children come to me, and don't hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these." (MT 19:14)


Welcome to my new blog, ladies and gentlemen. I will be commenting on a wide range of issues--political, environmental, religio-theological, spiritual, and intellectual but always independent and never along an unthinking party line. I will blow the trumpet loudest for freedom of expression and, above all, complete religious LIBERTY everywhere on earth! Reopen the doors to ijtihad and anchor them to stay open! As temporal entities, Christendom and the Caliphate are equally dead and both need stakes through their black hearts!!


That's right, everyone! Your eyes are not--I repeat, are not--playing tricks on you!! I say that as we fight this war against terrorism one of our war aims, worldwide religious liberty needs to be one of them, if not the chief aim!
Those of you now reading this are probably asking yourselves, "Why is religious liberty indispensable to salvation?" Well, let's explore this a little bit. Especially in light of one of the mightiest prophetic phrases from the book of Micah,6:8:"He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
If we believe we know all there is to know about any of the subjects mentioned by this passage(especially the last) that attitude, in and of itself, will render real humility in walking with God well nigh impossible. And without genuine humility before the incomprehensible magnitude and quality of God, acting justly becomes a near impossibility and the love of mercy becomes absolutely impossible.
Think about it, buoys and gulls. Take these pieces and see in your own minds and hearts how they fit together. And now I'll have some questions for each and all of you.
1) Is it more possible to relate to God with genuine humility in an atmosphere of religious liberty--that is, where the responsibility of having a personal relationship with God is squarely on you and none other--or where one community of faith is, or a select group of such communities are, supported by the state? Do some of you see how the state actually gets in the way of such relationships, especially under cover of trying to facilitate them?
2) Will we be more aware of how much we don't know about God--indeed, of what we can't know about God as long as we live on Earth--under religious liberty or a religion established by law? Do or don't 'closed' systems promote closed minds?
What I believe we can know from Scripture (and to some extent from our own experience) is that God loves us all, enough to send His Son so that we might have the power to become sons and daughters of God (John 1:12, 3:16-17) So long as someone else's way to be close to God doesn't jeopardize our lives, liberties or property, let us proceed with care and ask more questions as opposed to laying down decrees. God is perfect, but none of us are and perfection is rarely, if ever, achieved in this world. Let's keep that in mind. This is why the 'images' we have of God need to be open-ended--so they can grow and change as each of us grows in the Spirit.


I have a question for any and all Muslims who might be inspecting this new blog. I notice that you chaps call yourselves soldiers, servants or slaves of Allah. In the beginning of the Gospel of John, (1:12) it says, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God....children....born of God."
Now, it seems to me that a faith which promises this is a definite step up from one where you refer to yourselves as slaves, servants or soldiers of your God. Or is this just a linguistic confusion? I need to say here, albeit with regret, that believing in Jesus as a Prophet doesn't quite cut it as 'believing in his name'. Yes, I know you believe in the Virgin Birth; well and good. I also know that the 2nd Sura in the Koran asks, "Does God need children?" I agree, He doesn't--but need ain't the point. God wants us as His sons and daughters; chew that over a while.
I don't care who roars and snarls and waves their swords and daggers at me. Nor do I care about anyone's religious senstivities being wounded by my honest questions. A robust faith welcomes honest challenges and questions; only a so-called faith already on the verge of collapse either resents and/or fears such challenges and so far as I'm concerned, any threats coming my way from this post just show the cowardice and weakness of those doing the threatening.
I will not desist because of threats, but I will at least try to answer honest questions and meet honest challenges.