A grand gesture of reconciliation

“Now that it’s been documented that a clear majority of New Yorkers prefer the site of the Islamic center to be moved,”a letter in today’s New York Times reads, “it’s time for its planners to seriously consider alternative locations. Such an act would not be seen as weakness, but a grand gesture that they are truly interested in promoting harmony among religious faiths and ethnic groups.”

Remember when Martin Luther King gave that speech to the Negroes of Birmingham, about how they should seriously consider seeking out alternative lunch counters in their own neighborhoods to eat at, given the documented objections to their presence that a clear majority of white Woolworth’s customers had expressed? It was a grand gesture of reconciliation–the harmonies it promoted resounded like the opening strains of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

When I was in elementary school, a bully used to spit on me and my Jewish friends and call us Kikes and Christ killers. I wrote to the ADL and Abe Foxman himself replied. He said we should think beyond our rights and do what was right. So one day a bunch of us walked right up to the bully and apologized. “We did kill Jesus,” we admitted. “We Googled your sacred book and it said so.”

After that, I felt like such a load had been lifted off my shoulders that I went out and set the local Korean grocery store on fire. Sure, they were “good” Koreans (whatever that’s supposed to mean–North, South, they still talk Korean, don’t they?)–but my Dad was at Pork Chop Hill and he lost a lot of buddies there. He’ll never forgive the Koreans and I won’t either. The store manager screamed and yelled and threatened to call the cops, but once I explained my position, he bowed his head graciously and offered to move his business to a location that would be less inflammatory to the sensitivities of Korean War veterans and their families. It was a grand gesture and it went far to promote harmony among the ethnic groups and religious faiths in our small community.

Except the Mormons. We ran them out of town after we read the Jesus is Savior website. “Mormonism is a Satanic religion, straight out of the pits of Hell,” it says. “It is a sex cult, that brainwashes is victims into believing that it is proper and right for wives and daughters to give themselves sexually to the leaders on the Mormon Church. Deny it as some Mormons may, the writings of their FOUNDERS are irrefutable evidence of this woeful evil.”

When I saw Glenn Beck on television last week talking about how America needed to turn back to God, all I could think about were those poor Arkansans that his fellow Mormons murdered in Mountain Meadows, so many of them children, and those child brides they’re always raping, half of them their cousins and nieces. I got so upset seeing him gloating up there on the stairs of the Lincoln Monument, acting for all the world like it was a Victory Monument for the LDS, that I wrote a letter to the editor. I’m not prejudiced or anything. It’s just that I have female cousins and nieces myself, so you can imagine how sensitive my sensibilities are.

3 thoughts on “A grand gesture of reconciliation

  1. Before you go jumping to the defense of Muslims, you need to go read the Koran. Literally every other page describes the torment awaiting us unbelievers. The permutations of logic one would have to go through to believe this was the word of God and try to be a basically decent person defy believe. I know, the Bible says the same thing. somewhere. I’ve been to Sunday school, I’ve read most of the Bible, I’m not exactly sure where it says unbelievers go to hell, but I know its in there somewhere. Muhammad wanted to make sure people got the point, you can’ open the book without reading about the wrath of God. Read the book. You’re a research guy, pick up a copy.

    1. I’m fascinated by the fact that you know the Koran better than you know the Bible; that’s very unusual. I’m also amazed that you could have gone to Sunday school and read the Bible (or most of the Bible) without really noticing how much divine wrath is in its pages. Here’s something from the Old Testament, Numbers 31:

      “The Israelites took the women and children of the Midianites captive, and seized as booty all their beasts, all their herds, and all their wealth. And they destroyed by fire all the towns in which they were settled, and their encampments. They gathered all the spoil and all the booty, man and beast, and they brought the captives, the booty, and the spoil to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the whole Israelite community, at the camp in the steppes of Moab, at the Jordan near Jericho.

      Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the chieftains of the community came out to meet them outside the camp. Moses became angry with the commanders of the army, the officers of thousands and the officers of hundreds, who had come back from the military campaign. Moses said to them, “You have spared every female! Yet they are the very ones who, at the bidding of Balaam, induced the Israelites to trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, so that the Lord’s community was struck by the plague. Now, therefore, slay every male among the children, and slay also every woman who has known a man carnally, but spare every young woman who has not had carnal relations with a man.”

      And here’s something from the New Testament (Paul, Thessalonians):

      “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”

      The Koran, for what it’s worth, acknowledges Jesus and Moses as Prophets:

      ALLAH is HE besides Whom there is none worthy of worship, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. HE has sent down to thee the Book containing the truth and fulfilling that which precedes it; and HE has sent down the Torah (Law of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guidance to the people; and HE has sent down the Discrimination (judgement between right and wrong). –Surah 3:3-4

      When the angels said, ‘O Mary, ALLAH gives thee glad tidings of a son through a word from HIM; his name shall be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those who are granted nearness to God; ‘And he shall speak to the people in the cradle, and when of middle age, and he shall be of the righteous. She said, ‘My Lord, how shall I have a son, when no man has touched me? He said, ‘Such is the way of ALLAH. HE creates what HE pleases. When HE decrees a thing HE says to it ‘Be,’ and it is;”—Surah 3:38-48

  2. Ha, a brilliant post. Nicely done.

    This is completely off topic but interesting, to me. Recently I have been catching up on some accumulated news magazines that were piling up around the house. I noted three milestones that were passed this summer which I hadn’t been aware of from my other reading & viewing. Make of them what you will.

    1) After a century of being the world’s largest consumer of energy, the U.S. was surpassed by China, which now sucks up 4% more than we do. A decade ago, China used only half as much energy as we did. Look out, world.

    2) The U.S. national debt passed the $13 trillion mark in June. A significant portion of that is owed to China, of course.

    3) The cost of the Iraq & Afghan wars exceeded the combined cost of the Korean & Vietnam wars – in real dollars, adjusted for inflation. The two current wars are expected to cost a total of $8 trillion in current dollars when they’re done.

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