Mar 17

My Babies

5 more Jewish community centers were targets of bomb threats this weekend. Since January there have been 154 bomb threats made against Jewish community centers and synagogues. There have been around 25 such threats made against mosques and Islamic community centers in the same time period. Jewish cemeteries in Philadelphia and St. Louis have been vandalized, with over 250 graves disturbed.

Meanwhile across the country signs of hate are being posted and passed around.

In Upstate New York, the home of a Jewish man was spray-painted with swastikas. In Virginia, fliers were distributed in several neighborhoods with the words, “Make America WHITE again-and greatness will follow.” In Colorado, two typewritten notes that read “WERE GONNA BLOW UP ALL OF YOU REFUGEES,” were left at a community center serving mainly Muslim immigrants.

And in Dahlonega, Georgia a sign was posted in the town square saying "Historic Ku Klux Klan Meeting Hall." Resulting in chaos and fear that is tearing a little town apart.

Dahlonega is just a microcosm, however, of what is going on in America.

Representative Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, tweeted support for a far-right Dutch politician with the words "Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." David Duke replied "God bless Steve King!"

Fine Congressman, let's talk about MY babies. I am a white middle-aged male Protestant Christian from a semi-rural middle-class background. My babies have pale skin and red hair.

Let me tell you about the civilization my babies are going to build.

MY BABIES are going to build a civilization where it doesn't matter what color you are, what you believe, or who you love. They are going to build a civilization where you are respected for just being human. Where you really are treated the same no matter what and not just paid lip service. They are going to be ceiling busters and tent wideners and nazi-punchers. They are going to love learning, love faith, and love one another. My babies know hate is wrong. That making fun of people who are different is wrong. That different families have different rules and as long as no one is hurt that is OK. MY BABIES are going to build homes and welcoming places for everyone who needs them. MY BABIES are going to build a civilization that all you haters are going to hate.So enjoy this Renaissance of Hate while you can xenophobes. It will be short lived. Perfect Love drives out Fear. My BABIES love everyone. MY BABIES are coming.

And their mommy and daddy are going to cut them a path.

Oct 14

Everybody is Somebody's Hitler


I was exited when I heard the Dalai Lama was coming to Birmingham, Alabama.  Not only is it good as it may spark discussions on religion and spirituality but its also a boon for the profile of a city that most people only remember as being associated with football and civil rights atrocities.  So when I heard that there would be protests, I was disheartened.  I was sure, given that we do not have a large Communist Chinese Party movement here, that it would be some well meaning but slightly rabid right wing conservative Christian group protesting the welcoming of an idol worshiper.  Shocked was I to learn that such is not the case, in fact the protests come from within Tibetan Buddhism itself.

As the article notes, followers of a being known as Dorje Shugden are protesting the 1996 ban on his worship by the Dalai Lama.  What the article gets wrong, only  slightly, is the identification of Dorje Shugden as a "deity."  This is understandable, given that in the Western world we divide everything into gods or demons, but really at the heart of the issue.  Dorje Shugden was originally seen as an angry or vengeful spirit, who the Dalai Lama describes in the article as an "evil spirit."  Over time Dorje Shugden changed into a more protective spirit, and then into a major enlightened being.  It is hard to draw parallels in the Western faiths, but it would be somewhat as if a group claimed that Pilate was a tool of God's will and later became a major Christian teacher.

Then of course politics comes into play.  With the status of Theocratic Tibet as an occupied dominion of China, any theological differences are seen as paralleling political ones; and the International Shugden Community claims that the are violently persecuted in Tibetan Buddhist communities.

I understand, to a degree, the desire to in force orthodoxy.  It starts as a desire to protect the truth and to protect the less enlightened from the dangers of false teaching.  That is a slippery slope.  If you hold something to be True (bot factual, that is a different thing entirely) then you should also believe that the Truth can stand up on its own, even if falsehood should eclipse it, it will always be the Truth.

It is somewhat arrogant for me to  give the Dalai Lama advice on the path to enlightenment, but then again it is in my nature, but perhaps His Holiness should understand the persecutions of  the Shugden Community in light of those of his own people.  No one gains enlightenment from violence, whether physical or social or economic or otherwise, and to be a perpetrator of such only hurts your own cause.

As Rodney King is misquoted as saying "Can't we all just get along?"