Monday, July 19, 2004

Vi har ikke noen Busker i Norge
If you took Slate's red state/blue state quiz last Friday, you may have noticed that they missed one question that could have been rather telling of your ideological bent, and it could have gone something like this:
The Tribulation Force is--
A. a concept in physics involving the behavior of matter under extreme pressure
B. a type of athletic shoe worn by competitive cyclists
C. a group of characters featured in the Left Behind series of novels
D. the umbrella name for a triple-bill rock concert touring outdoor venues this summer
If you're a red-stater, you'd presumably be able to answer C. The latest novel in the series, Glorious Appearing, is out. Nicholas Kristoff wrote about it in the New York Times over the weekend, and he says, "If a Muslim were to write an Islamic version of 'Glorious Appearing' and publish it in Saudi Arabia, jubilantly describing a massacre of millions of non-Muslims by God, we would have a fit." And if the Islamic version became a best-seller in the Arab world, some of the same people who are rushing out to buy copies of it for their children would point to it as a good reason why we ought to exterminate as many Muslims as possible.

I don't flatter myself into thinking I'll turn anyone into an secular humanist by what I write here. (It took more than one stupid blog to make me into one.) But I do think that the sickening violence so beloved by America's Christian fundamentalists is a fine argument for humanism. Where the hell is compassion, connection, healing, and hope? And what the hell is it worth if it can only come about after an unspeakable slaughter? And what good is a god that people believe in because they're afraid of what will happen to them if they don't? Screw it. I'll set my compass by what's best for humanity right here, right now, in the only world we know and the only world we can affect by our actions today, and I'll take my chances in the hereafter.

Recommended Reading: Here's the full text of the article by Wayne Madsen I mentioned in last night's post, about the Election Day terror alert plan. You judge whether you buy it or not. It seems too hamfisted a scenario even for them. Nevertheless, because the War on Terror is, first and foremost, a political operation designed to get Bush reelected in 2004, desperate times may require desperate measures.

And finally, if you've had enough of bloodthirsty fundies, bogus terror fears, and the whole range of pathology that constitutes modern life in America, there are alternatives. I'm mostly a mongrel, but 25 percent of my ancestry is Norwegian, and the homeland of my ancestors looks pretty good today.

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