by W. David Jenkins III
Jesus loves the little children
A all the children of the world
Red and Yellow, Black and White,
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
"God Bless America." It's everywhere from billboards to the
7th inning "song break." Everybody seems to have adopted this
little phrase as a replacement for "see ya later" or "that's
all for now" or whatever they used to use to end a message
American presidents both elected and court-appointed have
used the phrase to end their speeches. Companies have suddenly
started using it as a sort of patriotic attention-getter right
after they pitch their product to us. The so-called war we
wage is right because God is on our side. He likes us better,
or hadn't you heard yet? We are the victims now but not for
long. Just listen to the choir of leaders from all fields
In the days after the attacks of 9/11, Mr. Bush informed
us that this was "not a religious war but a defense of our
freedoms and all we stand for." He told us we don't have a
"beef" with the Muslims of the world. Then we heard about
"rounding them up and smoking them out" as if Mr. Bush had
somehow confused varmint control on his ranch with the world
of terrorism. But people don't worry because God is on our
side. We have a war on terrorism to fight, remember?
One of my favorite comics was The Far Side. I'll never
forget the one of God in his kitchen with a box of "Earth-Mix."
As he takes the baked good out of His oven he looks and thinks
to Himself, "Something tells me this thing is only half-baked."
Something tells me cartoonist Gary Larson was right. What
in the world was God thinking? Did the Creator purposely set
out to confuse his kids? I've always thought that there was
one God (or Goddess, if you will) with many aliases. Yahweh,
Buddha, Allah, God, Goddess, whoever a person chose to pick
as their creator. And all the religious manuals from the Bible
to the Koran to the Book of Shadows all want us to do the
same thing. To put it simply:
"Know that I'm here and in charge and, above all, be nice
That's religion in a nutshell. All of them. Oh, sure there
are all these little incidentals that manage to keep them
separate from one another and the believers of one thinking
they have something over the believers of another. And there
lies the problem. George W. and his followers and Osama bin
Laden and his followers think the same entity is on their
side. Just like the Baptists, the Catholics, the Jews - everybody.
If we are all God's children, if Jesus loves all the children
of the world, then God must be the most unhappy parent in
the universe. God's world has become the Romper Room from
Hell. Everybody thinks that they're right.
And they are. And they're not. And that is religion. Whatever
works for you and your family, whatever makes you a better
person is the right choice. For you. Not your neighbor, not
your brother or sister, not your congressman or woman - just
you. And whatever you do, don't go trying to push your beliefs
on me or anybody else because that just makes you a very watered
down version of Osama bin Laden. Unless you're one of those
"Right-to Life" snipers or bombers, that is. Then you're the
same thing as bin Laden. You're a fundamentalist, so
is he. And fundamentalism is what we're really at war with.
Trouble is, too many people can't get their red, white and
blue blindfolds off long enough to see that. That's why the
"war on terrorism" is a lost cause.
The fundamentalists are the "Evil Doers." Fundamentalism
is defined as "A usually religious movement or point of view
characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid
adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of
other views and opposition to secularism."
The people who attacked America in September are people who
are willing to suffer any consequence for their version of
God. Even death. They've proved that and yet we are willing,
as long as the strongest supporters don't have to go, to send
our children into a virtual cesspool to defeat people who
simply will not give up. Their version of God will carry them
through, just like our children' s God. So the circle goes
round and round and round - and the only people who truly
benefit are the ones who's children are far too "fortunate"
(ie. wealthy) to lie in the mud and snow as their dying place
while their fathers fatten their own already bulging fortunes.
No, this isn't Viet Nam. It's worse. Our court-appointed
"leaders" and their benefactors are currently spitting on
the graves of the innocent who were stolen from us in September
for their own personal gain.
God Bless America.
The same people who sang those words on the Capitol steps
over a month ago are also trying to attach the restoration
of the tax deduction for the "three martini lunch" to defense
spending bills. And let's not forget the elimination of the
Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax. How about the GE bail out?
Or Enron? How about $33 billion for insurance companies to
protect them from "future terrorist victims claims?" And the
list goes on, right under most Americans noses because they're
too busy waving their flags and foaming at the mouth to pay
attention to the GOP's version of fundamentalism. The people
who think that God is a Republican are waging a covert operation
against their own countrymen.
That's the mentality we are facing on both fronts. Fundamentalism
comes in many ugly forms.
That's what America is at war with. Not Afghanistan or the
Muslim's but the fundamentalist mentality that infests not
only the populations of other countries but right here at
The United States has experienced terrorist attacks for years.
Granted they weren't of the magnitude of September 11th, but
they were terrorist attacks all the same. The list of violent
attacks against women's clinics, doctors, gays and minorities
is staggering. Then there was the Unabomber and Timothy McVeigh.
I find it so sad and at the same time appalling that it took
the loss of over 5000 lives to finally wake people up to the
threat of terrorism.
Terrorism has been a part of our culture for many years.
Terrorism has been happening right here under our noses. But
like good Americans, in order to do anything about it, we
had to wait for a foreign scape-goat so as not to turn the
accusing finger at ourselves. And for that, we should be ashamed.
But most Americans are not. They're too busy ordering their
cheesy "Old Glories" with the cheap white plastic flagpole
to clip to their cars and mailboxes. You see them all over
the streets and highways, no longer attached to their original
foundations. Just another testament to how easily some Americans
can be suckered in the name of "patriotism."
Then there are the folks who are busy writing letters to
the editor trying to explain that if we had never taken prayer
out of schools none of this would have happened. They feel
the whole world should adopt their version of God.
So do the fundamentalist Muslims. So do all the fundamentalists.
Like bin Laden. Like Right to Life snipers, bombers and protesters.
Like Ann Coulter. Like Jerry Falwell.
And let's not forget "political fundamentalism." The intolerance
for questioning the self proclaimed wisdom of our court appointed
leaders has become the norm amongst the corporate media and
the mental lemmings who make up far too many of this country's
population. In this so-called war our enemy is not terrorism.
The enemy is fundamentalism, both religious and political.
The violent and intolerant perversion of any religion and
the ignorance of any God's true word is the enemy. And it
strikes me as odd that a certain president whose favorite
political philosopher was supposedly Jesus still doesn't get
Gary Larson was right. The Earth is half-baked. And so is
Bush's war on terrorism.