You are Christians and Fools.

Pilgrims is the name commonly applied to early settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts. Their leadership came from a religious congregation who had fled a volatile political environment in the East Midlands of England for the relative calm of Holland in the Netherlands. Concerned with losing their cultural identity, the group later arranged with English investors to establish a new colony in North America…Their story has become a central theme in United States cultural identity. [wiki]

This country was born because people desired the freedom to worship their God in their own way. To me, that is so American.

To have the freedom to be yourself, to be entitled to respect, to experience tolerance instead of persecution…these are the central themes with which I define my American identity.

What else is American? E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. One cultural identity, comprised of hundreds of influences, origins and traditions. If you take a step back and ponder it, America seems like a miraculous idea; you start to respect the safeguards put in place to protect people. One of the most significant? The separation between church and state. This is where things get complicated, but that’s not a bad thing. Everyone is complicated, why should we expect our nations not to be? Yes, there are religious words on money and everyone knows that there is a Judeo-Christian foundation to a lot of what is considered American…but there is also respect for other ideas. Or at least, there should be. At the very least, there should be the freedom for others to worship their God, in their own way, no matter what you or I think about it. There should be mutual respect. There should be. WTF is wrong with you so-called patriots.jpg

A Hindu clergyman made history Thursday by offering the Senate’s morning prayer, but only after police officers removed three shouting protesters from the visitors’ gallery.
Rajan Zed, director of interfaith relations at a Hindu temple in Reno, Nev., gave the brief prayer that opens each day’s Senate session. As he stood at the chamber’s podium in a bright orange and burgundy robe, two women and a man began shouting ”this is an abomination” and other complaints from the gallery.
Police officers quickly arrested them and charged them disrupting Congress, a misdemeanor. The male protester told an AP reporter, ”we are Christians and patriots” before police handcuffed them and led them away. [NYT]

No, you are Christians and fools. Way to make Team Jesus look awful, as you misrepresent everything that the man stood for and preached.

For several days, the Mississippi-based American Family Association has urged its members to object to the prayer because Zed would be ”seeking the invocation of a non-monotheistic god.” [NYT]

Yes, because the prayer he offered was SO offensive to actual Christians, agnostics or those who have been touched by a noodly appendage:

Zed, the first Hindu to offer the Senate prayer, began: ”We meditate on the transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the Earth, inside the life of the sky and inside the soul of the heaven. May He stimulate and illuminate our minds.”
As the Senate prepared for another day of debate over the Iraq war, Zed closed with, ”Peace, peace, peace be unto all.” [NYT]

Let me tell you something about what that Uncle said– it was far kinder and more welcoming than a lot of what I heard in Catholic school, especially if the Pope was involved. For shame. Perhaps the most offensive aspect of his spiritual offering was its emphasis on peace?

Zed, who was born in India, was invited by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Speaking in the chamber shortly after the prayer, Reid defended the choice and linked it to the war debate.
”If people have any misunderstanding about Indians and Hindus,” Reid said, ”all they have to do is think of Gandhi,” a man ”who gave his life for peace.”
”I think it speaks well of our country that someone representing the faith of about a billion people comes here and can speak in communication with our heavenly Father regarding peace,” said Reid, a Mormon and sharp critic of President Bush’s Iraq policies. [NYT]

As several of you pointed out via email, news tab and flaming arrow, THIS is the money quote:

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the protest ”shows the intolerance of many religious right activists. They say they want more religion in the public square, but it’s clear they mean only their religion.” [NYT]

What these Jesus-freaks are forgetting is that Christ was a man of peace. He didn’t surround himself with the pious and faux-righteous; he called those people out, as he deliberately and controversially chose to befriend the lowest of the low, tax collectors, prostitutes and the like. Was there ever a better example of tolerance in the Christian faith?

As I bitterly read the articles about this troubling, hurtful incident, I am reminded of those who persecuted Jesus, for what they perceived as his “blasphemy”. Two thousand years later, some of his so-called followers have become so drunk off of hate and fundamentalism, they cannot see straight, they cannot grasp that if this were two millenia ago, Jesus would be the man in the orange robe and they, they would be the hypocrites who attacked him and then cheered at his suffering.

531 thoughts on “You are Christians and Fools.

  1. 500 · Amitabh on July 16, 2007 09:48 AM · Direct link

    “500″

    And counting. “The Trouble with… Religion” is that it gets people involved, to say the least.

    497 “(A little British alphabet humor there.)”

    In American English, shouldn’t we call him Pundit Zee?

  2. In American English, shouldn’t we call him Pundit Zee?

    Pundit Z? Like he’s the last word on expertness?

  3. 500+ comments and we get “kin” (#498), who has not read most of them (I don’t blame her/him). Most of the rant is illogical stupidity (with too many fallacies to list. Examples include the incorrect use of an argument that is a logical fallacy to begin with: an “attempted” tu quoque or an ad hominem that does not even apply in this case. Talk about an error compounding an error. But, moving on, I guess its never too late to learn a few facts:

    1) Christmas is a national holiday in India

    2) Churches in Maharashtra (and many other states) can apply for and receive government grants

    3)I wouldn’t be surprised if the Indian parliament started (or has started in the past) with the lord’s prayer (I doubt most parliamentarians will have a problem with that)

    The point is that “secularism” in India means equal government support to all religions (in theory at least). Now that does not mean that Bajrang Dal or Shiv Sena (which only recently turned to religion after decades of South-Indian bashing)or the VHP/RSS do not exist and do not persecute Christians, but their actions go against official government policy. Anyways I will never mourn the obliteration of religion from the face of this planet (being an irrational thought system, it makes some people highly irrational, induces deep stupidity among a significant subsection, and lord knows we don’t need another reason to further divide humanity). Thats the extent of my patience with this topic.

  4. what i am getting at is that even if there is not one religion associated with government, there is the concept of religion associated with government/tax-funded circumstances, and that is my main issue. it goes against the very core of the EC.

    ak, we’re at an impasse, but we agree. I completely agree with what you’ve written, I was just speaking from the context of how the EC has been interpreted. As someone who always grew up as a religious minority, it is frustrating to have Christianity rammed down your throat and then have people not understand why these “innocuous” things are unacceptable for someone who may respect Christianity as a faith tradition, but follows another. Anyway, the short version of what I was trying to say is that I agree.

    Is “kin” yet another one of these fly-by trolls? As far as I understand, the Indian Parliament NEVER opens with prayer. That aside, it really doesn’t matter what India does in this context. We are (mostly) Americans talking about the U.S. Senate and some very badly behaved jerks. I’m not unsympathetic to the persecution of religious minorities in India, but that topic is neither here nor there.

  5. Is “kin” yet another one of these fly-by trolls?

    Probably. Blog about religion and it attracts specimens like “kin” like flies to rotting fruit.

    That aside, it really doesn’t matter what India does in this context. We are (mostly) Americans talking about the U.S. Senate and some very badly behaved jerks. I’m not unsympathetic to the persecution of religious minorities in India, but that topic is neither here nor there.

    Hence the misapplied ad homenim

  6. Pundit Z? Like he’s the last word on expertness?

    Folks, I was Apu with that one. Anyways, what probably happened was that some British bureaucrats were probably working hard on a long cold Delhi winter day, filing and reclassifying clans to valiantly assist their divide and conquer. And one of them said to the other, just as he was sipping some 3 pm coffee, brought in as usual on a tiny tray by their peon, “You know what I want right now? I’d really like to catch some Zeds.” And the history of a persecuted sect began.

    Examples include the incorrect use of an argument that is a logical fallacy to begin with: an “attempted” tu quoque or an ad hominem that does not even apply in this case.

    Just because you use some fancy terms doesn’t mean you are right, ok? That takes care of that.

    “The Trouble with… Religion” is that it gets people involved, to say the least.

    Give A N N A some credit, Floridian. She manages to get the blood flowing among the crowds. If my memory of this past month is any indication, I’m sure the monkeys in the bunkers would put A N N A way way way on top if they start tracking average comment comments.

    I’ll have to ask my HP friend about the last name, Zed, tomorrow.

    Floridian, I’m curious what your friend from Hewlett Packard has to say about the Zedster. El Zedinator. Zed-a-bing-bang.

    Now that does not mean that Bajrang Dal or Shiv Sena (which only recently turned to religion after decades of South-Indian bashing)or the VHP/RSS do not exist and do not persecute Christians, but their actions go against official government policy.

    sigh!, I just want to point out that official government policy does not mean what the official government actually does in practice. So, it is not just persecution by these non-government elements that you point out, but also either a blind eye turned by the government, or sometimes even worse, support for these acts in various ways. Anyways, I’ll stop on that because that’s not the topic here.

  7. Anyways, I’ll stop on that because that’s not the topic here.

    How dare you! I laugh in the general direction of your futile attempts to be relevant and not threadjack.

  8. I laugh in the general direction of your futile attempts to be relevant and not threadjack.

    I don’t have any threadjacking agenda, but let’s be clear, I never try to be relevant. I think my commenting track record proves my case.

  9. 507 Rahul “Floridian, I’m curious what your friend from Hewlett Packard has to say about the Zedster. El Zedinator. Zed-a-bing-bang.”

    By “my HP friend” I meant my friend from Himachal Pradesh, not Hewlett-Packard. I did call him. He was just as surprised by the Zed last name.

    “Give A N N A some credit, Floridian.” But I do. I always enjoy her writing. Now if you will excuse me, I have to pack for a flight to India and a month of zoning out in my most favorite city in the world – Delhi. I will open SM a few days later from there and I bet you there will be 600 comments on this post. Rahul, I am packing 3 books on literary criticism by your friend, TS, to read on the flight, I kid you not.

  10. Maybe Zed is really a Dravido-Lemurian Sadagopan trying to fit in with Scythians? (sorry, louiecypher) Or, maybe it’s some Fonz-like variant of Seth?

    Muslims use the name Zaid, maybe there is some relation to that?

    P.S: Manju #178 and louiecypher #409, I keep cracking up every time I recall/reread your comments. They are too hilarious!

  11. Rahul, I am packing 3 books on literary criticism by your friend, TS, to read on the flight, I kid you not.

    Have you read “Tradition and the Individual Talent”. Brilliant and beautiful writing from somebody with a deep love and knowledge of literature. I think it’s relevant to this post – Eliot is, say it with me Floridian, the one true GOD.

    I did realize it was Himachal, I was, for once, being deliberately obtuse. Have a great trip to India, and a rollicking dhamaka with your shaadiwaalah bands. Hopefully, we’ll see you on the other side of the earth.

  12. Just because you use some fancy terms doesn’t mean you are right, ok? That takes care of that.

    Apologies, but Camille very kindly explained what the terms meant and how they were misapplied; I otherwise agree with (the rest of) you.

  13. Rahul, when my will is read, my spouse and offspring will be shocked to hear that Dad’s priceless Eliot collection has been left to some prankster on some blog.

  14. Apologies, but Camille very kindly explained what the terms meant and how they were misapplied; I otherwise agree with (the rest of) you.

    I think he was kidding. ;)

  15. Apologies, but Camille very kindly explained what the terms meant and how they were misapplied; I otherwise agree with (the rest of) you.

    sigh!, didn’t you see the misapplication of ad hominem in that sentence? I was joking!

    Rahul, when my will is read, my spouse and offspring will be shocked to hear that Dad’s priceless Eliot collection has been left to some prankster on some blog.

    Floridian, Eliot must be turning in his grave at that thought! Although the wisdom of your advanced years has allowed you to peg me for what I am.

  16. Oh man; I get it now…with the help of coffee. I do not want to be responsible for the death of irony or ironical/facetious humor in this thread…nooooooo

  17. Did you all know that Paul Varghese’s dad would have liked for him to be a priest? Did anyone catch him on Comedy Central this weekend? I say, church’s loss; our gain. It is so cute to see 2nd gen Mallu pride surfacing on his account. I say, A N N A, give John A. the miss and go for this guy.

    Off-topic? You bet!

  18. I haven’t seen Paul Varghese perform, but I read his material some time ago and he seems pretty good. I hope he breaks out in a big way, so that Indian-American (Canadian) comedy is not forever associated with that mediocre mimic and one-note wonder, Russell Peters.

  19. Rahul, you are the YouTube archeologist–you can dig out anything from that contemporary civilization. There are at least 2 of his performances there (I watched them including his first-ever on stage), if not more.

  20. Tax-collectors are the lowest of the low.

    Russell Peters is tragically unfunny.

  21. Tell me, would a Christian prayer be allowed in India’s parliament?

    Yes!

    What about India’s persecution of Christians by right-wing Hindu fundamentalists?

    Isolated cases.

    Why does America have to be all things for all people?

    It doesn’t.

    This is a Judeo-Christian country.

    No it’s not.

    If I moved to India, I would have to live according to India’s religious practices

    No, you would not.

    Our constitution was framed by founding fathers who were Christians.

    Some were, some weren’t.

    The freedom of religion clause was never for all faiths to be practiced here.

    Yes it was.

    Yet we allow every other faith to build their temples, mosques etc, and make laws to make it harders for Christians to practice their own faith right here in America.

    How is it “hard” for Christians to practice their faith right here in America?

    Would it be easy for me to build a church in India?

    Very easy.

  22. It is so easy to be jump to conclusion,When you are in th U.S.A I have lived in india for 32 years never i have seen,heard the praliment (lok shaba) begin a session with a christian prayer,The day that happen i will agree with what every person of indian orgin have said in this blog ,is any where near to the truth ,the christian commnuity in is a mere 2.03 % of the second most populated country of the world(india) and majority of them live in southern india and some in the north eastern regions of india.Dispite being a micro community 7 major state passed a anti conversion bill aimed at the community, modi has asked gujrat be a christian free state by 2009 many christian run school run the risk of being taken over by the state goverment& church face clouser.Unlike their muslim brother who form 18.22% of the population and thank to illegal immigrant from bangladesh who are not taken in to account but have the vote banks which the political need the christian community in india lack this political clout, and for years have sufferd in silents.The shang parivar( Hindu maham sabha,BJP,BAGRAN DAL,VHP,RSS,SHIV SENA HINDU SENA,HINDU MINNANI)want to ban conversion aimed at christians in india, they know that the muslims increase their demography by not adpoting birth control and by polygamy so no so forth no wonder the anti conversion bill is aimed at the christians.The prescution of christians is often reported as isolated incidents by the main stream media because it is often goes unreported, the police and adminstration fail the christians when they come report a crime committed against them by the majority of hindu right wingers.Is anyone aware that if a SC/ST CONVERT to christianity in india they stand to lose the state benfits.well the list goes on, And in the US you have couple of guys who protest a hindu priest opening prayer of the US house of representative who are charged disrepting the house’s proceeding and with two count of hate crimes.So much for freedom of speech.YES i do have to agree that CHRITIANS ARE IN DEED FOOLS at leat in india ,They endure all and still dont riot or help abett terroist who in the name god wage a holy war and call themselve to be followers of religon of peace ,yet blow up a trains & buses full of innocent people and children to prove their point- these christians in india are peacefull fool i guess? Just think about it

  23. Dude atleast those hindu are not fanatics like muslins!they are usually peaceful and dont go attacking everyone over religion.We dont fell threatened by them unlike muslins.You can easily have a good and peaceful conversation or argument about religions with a hindu guy unlike people from other religions. But damn if it comes to muslins then all hell breaks loose and their mohammed and team wields a sword and goes around killing “infidels”.

  24. ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. spalms 115 and spalms 135 thier IDOLS are FALSE cant speak can’t hear cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. Jeremiah 10 they nail their IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move can’……t speak can’t move must be carried these are nothing but the WORK of CON men.john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on their own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man.‎1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable

  25. ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. spalms 115 and spalms 135 thier IDOLS are FALSE cant speak can’t hear cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. Jeremiah 10 they nail their IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move can’…t speak can’t move must be carried these are nothing but the WORK of CON men.john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on their own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man.‎1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.

  26. “Can you imagine what the state of Muslims would be in the US if there was a similar extent of Muslim-Christian animosities?”

    Well said. And what would the state of those relations be if there had been a violent partition of the US on religions line, a violent Moslem separatist movement on American soil, and multiple serial bomb blasts on US major cities( not just one WTC attack)? India has to grapple with more diversity of religion and language, as well as a grim legacy of poverty which originates essentially in the colonial era. From India’s independent inception in 1947, there has been a promotion and upholding, both officially and unofficially, of the idea that the different religions are legitimate paths to contemplate the divine. The US has had nothing like that for the vast majority of its 200 plus year existence. And linguistically, the US does not have the condition of language based states. While appreciating the good qualities of the US, one has to compare equal situations, and those situations don’t really exist.

  27. “We dont fell threatened by them unlike muslins.You can easily have a good and peaceful conversation or argument about religions with a hindu guy unlike people from other religions. But damn if it comes to muslins then all hell breaks loose and their mohammed and team wields a sword and goes around killing “infidels”.”

    Definitely. There is simply no comparison on this score between Hindus and Moslems. In India, every religion and non-religion like atheism and agnosticism exist openly, and there is a free environment where things can be debated, discussed and criticised. It’s time people appreciate the good qualities of India..

  28. ISIAIh 41 BRING forth your IDOLS did they PREACH to you see they can’t speak they can’t DO ANYTHING all they do is cause confusion. spalms 115 and spalms 135 thier IDOLS are FALSE cant speak can’t hear cant smell and those that make them shall become like them. Jeremiah 10 they nail their IDOL down like a scarecrow it can’t move can’…t speak can’t move must be carried these are nothing but the WORK of CON men.john 10 jesus christ sais his sheep hear his voice and another voice thy will not follow and if another person tries to preach to them they WILL FLEE from him. jeremiah 5 the priests bear rule on their own authority what will you do when your judged my word is not inside them. Now here is the kicker john 5 son of man voice goes back in time mathew 16 jesus christ claims to be the son of man.‎1 cor2 mind of CHRIST preached internally and john 16 sais the spirit of truth comes in the future. Ezekiel 13 lying prophets of ISRAEL my word is not inside them saying god sais god sais god sais wrote hoping mankind would CONFIRM their WORDS. all of this is EASILY verifiable.

  29. ““Can you imagine what the state of Muslims would be in the US if there was a similar extent of Muslim-Christian animosities?””

    These cowards wouldn’t have the guts to do the same thing if it was a muslim prayer opening the senate.