Do we want a future where our religious faith makes us a target?

From our Restore Fairness blog-

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 also proved to be an unfortunate turning point in America’s socio-cultural dynamics. For a nation that’s built upon the principles of separating church and state, America’s multi-religious identity came to the forefront as specific groups, especially Muslims or Hindus and Sikhs (who were presumed to be Muslims), became the targets of mistrust and prejudice, both institutional and social. While Americans enjoy considerable religious freedom regardless of affiliation or faith, the increased polarization of the religious communities post-9/11 is a major cause for concern. This issue is addressed in Breakthrough’s multi-platform Facebook game America 2049 which, this week, takes players to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The future that America 2049 presents, and asks players to save, shows a country torn apart by hate and mistrust. Yet the scenario of the future isn’t too far from us today. The Gainesville Times recently published a letter to the editor that exemplified the extremities of religious and ethnic hate that exists in certain parts of the country. A reader, responding to the May 6 story of a Delta Airlines pilot refusing to fly with two Islamic imams onboard, said-

It is impossible to distinguish between Muslims who are anti-American and just waiting for a chance to do us harm, and those who are merely pursuing their religious beliefs in this country. The only way to be sure and safe is to exclude them all. Such action would not constitute bias or racism against a particular nationality just because they may be different from us, or the condemnation of a specific religion because it differs from our beliefs but the action is necessary to create conditions in which it is safe to live without a constant fear of terrorism.

Such blatant justification of Islamophobia is alarming and begs us to work towards much more comprehensive multicultural education. Such views are further bolstered with several states, such as Tennessee, looking to pass a state bill which would essentially ban the practice of Sharia law in the state. The letter received much criticism and supports the statistic put forth by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that since 2000, the number of organized hate groups has increased by 50 percent.

America 2049 provides players with an interactive scenario where this situation — which is already all too real — gets worse in the near future. Players also learn about the strong Anti-Catholic sentiments that pervaded America in the mid-1800s. Such sentiments gave rise to a political party called The Know-Nothings - so called because members swore to deny any knowledge of the party when questioned by outsiders. The Know-Nothings exhibited an extreme disapproval of the wave of Irish and German Catholic immigrants to the U.S in the mid-1800s, often engaging in violence and pushing for stricter immigration and naturalization laws to restrict Catholic presence in the country.

In a classic case of history repeating itself — a point America 2049 aims to make - we are now witness to similar sentiments against Muslim or Arabian/South Asian immigration to the U.S. The recent uproar around the proposed construction of an Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero in New York City serves as an apt example of this prejudice. America 2049 aims to address such issues of mistrust and blind discrimination by challenging players to make their own choices on how to confront religious profiling by contextualizing the entire issue across history. The crucial question, therefore, is - in a country that prides itself on freedoms of many kinds, do we want a future where our faith makes us a target?

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Arizona Church Dome: Why Hate When You Can Outsource?

Not so long ago, much of the nation looked at Texas as the Loon Star State – a place so weird that  Texans think of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity as dangerous far lefties in league with that socialist Kenyan pretender in the White House.

But, every Empire of Imbeciles must come to an end.

America, meet the new goobs on the block – Arizonans. As Hunter Thompson used to say, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”…and there’s no place more professional than Arizona.

It surely takes professional crazies to protest a Christian church because it looks too much like a mosque. Damn Mexican Mooslims!

Broken Light of the World
The point of contention for the good Christian folk of Phoenix seems to be that the Light of the World church topped their God garage with a dome. To Arizonans, domes are the illegal aliens of the religious world. Presumably the many Catholic missions doting the cactusophere are equally condemned for featuring domes in their designs too, but somehow I doubt that.

Tonya Somander of Think Progress asked, “…with so many high-profile figures selling unfounded, anti-Muslim fear to the public, is it any wonder that all many Americans can see in Islam is a phantom menace?”  Well Tonya, no, but it does make perfect sense in Arizona. They’re so jelly-kneed they don’t even have to have real Muslims to hate. All they need is a bold, but unsuspecting, church architect and some followers of the same faith most of them adhere to.

It’s odd that Christians – who are somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of the American population – are always worrying about atheists and Muslims trying to kill Christendom with a combination of dastardly Wars on Christmas and autographed baseball cards featuring Madalyn Murray O’Hair. This is especially true in Arizona where there are fewer Muslims than black people -  currently numbering about 6 people who must carry their papers at all times. But, there’s not a racist among them, so who’s counting?

However, maybe this does make sense. Clearly there are too few actual Muslims in Arizona to absorb all the fear Arizonans have for those tricky Islamists. It’s hard to get worked up over a bunch of New Yorkers who prefer titty bars to houses of worship in Lower Manhattan. After all, the titty baristas don’t get too exercised over Mexicans leaving piles of dead bodies at the Tuscon city limits, no do they?

A state as proud as The Grand Canyon Crackpot State must have it’s own Muslims to persecute. Period. Doing it vicariously through castoffs from Jersey Shore is just no fun at all.

So why not outsource Islamic fear?

It’s a Win-Win for Arizona
Arizona already has a surplus of Christians on hand. They represent a trained workforce that could easily make the transition from law abiding Jeezlets to evil burka wearers with little trouble. They have the religious training. Christian churches always need money to Save the Children in all those countries they’d never be caught dead in. It’s a win-win and best of all, Americans could corner the market on faux Muslims before the Indians or Chinese could get a foothold.

So it’s settled. Light of the Worlders, stop by Home Depot and hire a few illegal immigrants to get that dome up as fast as possible. Maybe even add a minaret here and there, nothing too ostentatious. And you can find someone who yodels to simulate the calls to prayer can’t you?

As for pay, $2 an hours seems fair – and no benefits, because they’re a socialist plot. We’d like to pay more, but we just can’t pay minimum wage because, well, we could get the Mexicans to work cheaper if we wanted and we don’t want to create a monetary imbalance in the Arizona economy. There’s no way strings of varnished chillies could make up the shortfall.

Muslims, our people will call your people. We’d like to talk outsourcing Christians to Yemen.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

The Non-Ground Zero Non-Mosque Mosqueteers

OK people, let’s calm down! Let’s just stop all this mosqlitizing and use a little common sense for a moment, shall we? Don’t make me turn this country around.

At its heart, the Non-Ground Zero Non-Mosque Mosque™  is a simple zoning application gone awry. If the gutted shell of that ex-Burlington Coat Factory sat almost anywhere else on Earth, the NYC Planning Department would be looking at how much traffic the place would generate and how many toilets to require per person. Instead, it’s caught between creating an international incident and/or sparking Civil War II.

What ever happened to the idea that governmental decision-making should be forced down to the local level? I mean come on Tea Baggers, it doesn’t get any more local than a planning department.

There are literally dozens of places this kerfuffle could’ve been avoided, but as usual, many people were busy helping demagogues turn themselves into demigods instead of simply minding their own business.

Encouraging the Bullies
It didn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that building anything remotely connected to Islam was going to be an uphill battle in today’s America. Of course, the Muslims could’ve simply opted to put their center somewhere else, but they’re under no obligation to voluntarily abandon their Constitutional rights. Although they shouldn’t be surprised at the blowback either. And quite frankly, giving in once they started down this road would’ve been a mistake anyway. There is no better way to encourage bullies than to back down from them when threatened.

As for the anti Mosqueteers, they seem to have bought into this newfangled delusion that the Constitution is up for a vote whenever you don’t like something.  To hear them tell it, if Muslims want to erect a religious venue the Constitution cannot be allowed to stand. However, if the Baptists want to nail the 10 Commandments to every flat surface in the Republic, it’s a Constitutional right. I’m not sure if this is a terminal case of disengenuosity or a complete inability to recognize irony when it bites them on the ass.

Ground Zero used to be two gleaming towers of steel. A brace of buck-ass krazy kamikazes turned it into a smoking hole in the ground. Many people (not Christians or Muslims or Jews or Atheists, or Druids… just plain folks) died. It was a horrific thing, especially if you had friends or family there or were just coming out or the subway as the towers fell.

When Lunatics Run Amok
But as bad as it was, bad things happen when lunatics run amok. As much as Commander Mission Accomplished would’ve like you to believe there is a “war” we can “win”, it just ain’t so. The best we can do it mitigate the problem by taking reasonable counter measures – duct tape, roll-plastic, and MRIs for airline passengers need not apply.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Americans were pissed. They looked upon the wreckage-choked harbor as a hallowed place where the nation could focus in an attempt to never let such a tragedy happen again. Today, tourists from across the globe, including a hefty number of Japanese, come to visit the place with cameras in tow and leis on display. The place is no less hallowed because of the gauche tourists and would be no less hallowed if a Shinto shrine went up.

In essence, both places are geographic spots on a map. Soil is soil. They are special because we made them special. They are hallowed because we all agreed they are hallowed. The point is that when someone from the opposite of the policitical or religious spectrum agrees with you, shut up and stop arguing with them. You’re on the same side.

If not, we’re no better than those krazy kamikazis. If there is a war to be won or lost, it will be decided over the idea that crazies can knock down some expensive real estate and we will willingly make ourselves more like them.

After all, that was exactly their intent.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Masochistic Republicans Reignite Islamophobic Fever

After George W. Bush allowed the most devastating attacks on United States soil in history, he went on to exploit the American people by dividing us along religious and cultural lines. He launched a ‘crusade against terror’ that acted as a force multiplier, feeding into the darkest emotions of a fearful population. A rabid red-necked sect was spawned with newfound power.

Alas, this adrenaline high could not be sustained. The gun totin’ wild west hero who promised to bring home the evil, dark-skinned villain ‘dead or alive’ failed on both counts. The swooning ecstasy of inevitable victory devolved into melancholy, leaving empty shells amongst the right wing.

Like unrepentant junkies unable to cope with their addiction, Islamophobes have leapt at the opportunity to fill their bin Laden-less void. When conservative blogger Pam Geller served up the brown Muslim face of the Imam, her cohorts snapped it up like shark bait.

It matters not that the mosque is not a mosque.

It matters not that it’s not on Ground Zero.

The bodies rot and what matters, ist Hass.

The terror plot will not have a hero.

The latest relapse of anti-Muslim mania masks the cold underlying fact that no party has stood trial for the heinous acts of 9/11. Despite the decrees issued by the news ticker that Fox launched during the attacks, no suspect has faced the scrutiny of an unbiased jury, no prosecutor has presented evidence to the public, and no witnesses have testified, let alone been cross-examined.

The question of constitutionality should not only refer to religious freedom but to the right to face one’s accuser. As we’ve seen in the Pat Tillman saga, the Bush administration was perfectly capable of fabricating a narrative from whole cloth. For any who believe that the corporate news media is not willing to facilitate such a large scale hoax, I would suggest taking a look at the fake Russian invasion broadcast earlier this year to Georgian viewers.

As some final food for thought the documentary “Zero”, produced by a European member of parliament, explores how the amount of physical evidence supporting the legal prosecution of Osama bin Laden for 9/11 is so slim that the FBI itself does not list him as a suspect.

Masochistic Republicans Reignite Islamophobic Fever

After George W. Bush allowed the most devastating attacks on United States soil in history, he went on to exploit the American people by dividing us along religious and cultural lines. He launched a ‘crusade against terror’ that acted as a force multiplier, feeding into the darkest emotions of a fearful population. A rabid red-necked sect was spawned with newfound power.

Alas, this adrenaline high could not be sustained. The gun totin’ wild west hero who promised to bring home the evil, dark-skinned villain ‘dead or alive’ failed on both counts. The swooning ecstasy of inevitable victory devolved into melancholy, leaving empty shells amongst the right wing.

Like unrepentant junkies unable to cope with their addiction, Islamophobes have leapt at the opportunity to fill their bin Laden-less void. When conservative blogger Pam Geller served up the brown Muslim face of the Imam, her cohorts snapped it up like shark bait.

It matters not that the mosque is not a mosque.

It matters not that it’s not on Ground Zero.

The bodies rot and what matters, ist Hass.

The terror plot will not have a hero.

The latest relapse of anti-Muslim mania masks the cold underlying fact that no party has stood trial for the heinous acts of 9/11. Despite the decrees issued by the news ticker that Fox launched during the attacks, no suspect has faced the scrutiny of an unbiased jury, no prosecutor has presented evidence to the public, and no witnesses have testified, let alone been cross-examined.

The question of constitutionality should not only refer to religious freedom but to the right to face one’s accuser. As we’ve seen in the Pat Tillman saga, the Bush administration was perfectly capable of fabricating a narrative from whole cloth. For any who believe that the corporate news media is not willing to facilitate such a large scale hoax, I would suggest taking a look at the fake Russian invasion broadcast earlier this year to Georgian viewers.

As some final food for thought the documentary “Zero”, produced by a European member of parliament, explores how the amount of physical evidence supporting the legal prosecution of Osama bin Laden for 9/11 is so slim that the FBI itself does not list him as a suspect.

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