Conor MacCormack and Tom Collins
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV)
‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart… You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19: 17-18
“The most righteous person is the one who consents for other people what he consents for himself, and who dislikes for them what he dislikes for himself.” Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad
“The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful.”Tao Te Ching, Chapter 49
It’s Christmastime again, friends: the time of year that, regardless of your religious convictions, affords us the opportunity to meditate upon those ever desirable goals that all faiths strive to attain: lasting peace, humanity and friendship upon this Earth; That we may be happy and fulfilled not only on the “other side” but upon this physical plane as well. And it is especially poignant that the countless 2012 “end of days” scenarios were to unfold several short days ago.
While it is easy to laugh off such understandable but futile attempts to pin down the time and date of humanity’s demise it is worthy to note that many astrologists, scientists, philosophers and theologians have put forth the idea that 2012 was never to be a physical apocalypse. Rather, it is a time for spiritual and social renewal as well as a period of elevated consciousness, as the human family continues the struggle for a better, brighter future.
We hate to get “political” during this season of jolliness but we submit to you the following philosophical inquiry on the American state of affairs. How the “old order” if you will – i.e. the long entrenched socio-political/religious status quo of Big Church, Big Government and their peculiar union – is rapidly losing influence. The recent Presidential election, while frustrating for us genuine lovers of individual liberty and free association, made one thing clear to all of us:
The Conservative Movement is an endangered species, soon to go the way of the Dodo and the Great Auk. The Religious Right is a dead duck. Soon to fade away… forever.
No, we’re not picking on religion. There will always be religion, always a search for the Truth. And rightly so. However the days of religion as a form of political clout and influence, i.e. winning votes and gaining control to enforce a particular dogma through the civil legislature and courts, are finished. Perhaps not right this moment, perhaps not tomorrow but the final days draw near.
Every year less Americans go to Church, preferring to seek refuge and enlightenment in private home prayer, private individual readings of holy books, mediation, yoga, martial arts, philosophical debate and other wholesome activities to nourish the body, mind and soul. Far more positive and empowering schools of spiritual and philosophical thought (such as Taoism, Buddhism, Christian Science, Divine Science and the countless other branches of the broader New Thought movement) are growing exponentially and planting seeds of hope across the once fruited plain. Meanwhile “mainstream” clergy – whether they are of the fire and brimstone evangelical persuasion or the apathetic church as social club variety - preach to smaller and smaller congregations each year.
How can this be so, you ask? After all, to hear Don Feder and his theocon pundit pals in Big Media tell it, America was founded exclusively as a “Christian Nation.” Ultimately, despite the slanderous and bloviating claims of the aforementioned pundits, these allegedly “wavy gravy” and “syrupy” feel good doctrines offer modern man and women far more in the way of spiritual and personal nourishment than organized “Churchianity”: namely peace, love, coexistence, respect and self-confidence for ALL people regardless of race, color, creed, class or religious affiliation.
This sentiment is the common chord connecting all of the major world religions. It was what Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all taught. As harsh as a reality as it may be the teachings of Jesus outlined in the Gospels are a far cry from the man crafted doctrines, superstitions and ceremony that are routinely practiced in American churches today.
Rather than adhering to the Golden Rule (as Ron Paul so humbly recommended amidst thunderous jeers and boos from a “Christian” audience this past election cycle) “Christian” America has rarely experienced a time of true and lasting peace since the Constitution – our supposedly Divinely inspired charter – was ratified. War, slavery, genocide, racism, sexism, the subhuman treatment of the mentally ill, disabled and prisoners are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our poor track record of adhering to Christian teachings.
Not once in our 200+ year history has one group of people (with the notable exception of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) not been discriminated against through law, often times with the blessing and urging of Christian churches of every denomination; the pastors and leaders of which were instrumental in passing such unjust laws. Our “shining cities” are riddled with crime, poverty and despair of every variety. We condemn and revile the act of sex, one of the most natural expressions of human intimacy and affection, all the while hooting and hollering as our soldiers and war machines visit death and destruction upon Third World nations.
Religious conservatives, whether they know it or not, go against every fundamental tenet of their respective faiths when they advocate the creation of government “initiatives” to use the force of law to make Americans of any persuasion acquiesce to their interpretation of their particular creed.
We can hear you shrieking,“Hold it there misters! I thought you said you were being positive for a change! It’s Christmas for crying out loud!”
Calm down dear friends and settle in with a glass of eggnog. Let us finish.
Here’s the good news: Religion and spirituality endure, healthy and strong. The bad news (well, for some of you anyway): Big Church is on the ropes, taking some serious shots to the body.
Thank God… and His glorious creation, the Internet! Each and every day people from the comfort of their own homes can explore and discern for themselves the truths contained in every topic under the sun: history, philosophy, medicine, physics, astronomy, anthropology, math, language and the arts. Young people are able to interact and connect with like mined people from across the globe they wouldn’t have been able to physically visit otherwise. Young Israelis, Palestinians and Iranians are chatting on every social media network known to man on all manner of topics: life, love, sports, food, music, art, literature.
And the more they speak and interact, the more they find they would rather not fight or die over religious creeds, which in the end differ only ever so slightly. Americans, Europeans, Arabs, Africans, Asians and individuals of countless other ethnic backgrounds are learning just how much they have in common, rather than how much they do not.
The hated filled and destructive ravings of the Old Guard no longer hold the same appeal they once did to society. The widespread adaption of creative technology has allowed enterprising nations like China, who the U.S. regularly labels and antagonizes for being a “Commie” country, to become economic powers and creative leaders in innovation. The American military state and its wily Christian mullahs must play nice, lest the Chinese decide to take their business (and the chunk of our national debt that they hold) with them elsewhere. It is ironic that Communist China, an official “Godless” state which has a horrible record of domestic repression, has more appreciation for peaceful coexistence and honest friendship with all nations than the good old Christian haven of America, land of the free and home of the brave.
As Bob Dylan once said: the times they are a changing.
And yet, the Old Ways will go kicking and screaming.
Old pal Don Feder and his Conservative Company especially.
As if seeing the hand writing on the wall, Don’s latest rant is a self-described plan for a Conservative resurgence. Ladies and gentlemen, this may sound crazy, but Old Tom (thanks to the magic of New Thought) has been in a mighty fine mood. We will briefly explore Don’s insane rantings, one last time, and then celebrate the departure of the Religious Right from the national stage by wishing them a good day and buying their train tickets home to Pleasantville. After all we have the American Left to contend with these days but with a little elbow grease, we can send them on their way with their bags packed for the lovely confines of the People’s Republic of Cambridge.
Without further adieu, let us begin. Among Don’s tired old talking points, we find the usual sad tactic of associating the Muslim religion exclusively with violence, all the while conveniently ignoring the horrifying violence featured predominantly in the dogma and literature of both Conservative Judaism and Christianity. The unspoken insinuation from this tactless tract is that somehow, by permitting supposed "Judeo-Christian" principles to define American jurisprudence, America will remain safe from the nefarious influence of SHARIA LAW (BOOGA BOOGA! TERRORISTS GOIN' GETCHA)! In Don’s own words:
“While Islam is not about to be confused with conservatism, said collaboration leads the unwary to believe that we share common ground with a death cult masquerading as a religion. But, unlike conservatism, Islam has no respect for individual rights and representative government.”
Don, Don, Don… I really think you need to sit down and read the Bible. You say Islam is a deadly cult… well, are you aware that the Old Testament Bible is filled with genocide, murder, rape, the destruction of cities, of entire nations, incest, and the selling of women into slavery? Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample of such cruelty and barbarity which is contained in your own Jewish Torah. In this passage, a man saves his own life from a mob by feeding the mob his lover for them to rape:
“So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.” (Judges 19:25-28)
He didn’t even bother to seek medical treatment for her, according to this
Here’s another sample Don, in which an Israelite leader offers his own child as a human sacrifice to God:
“And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, to be offered up by me as a burnt-offering.’ Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.’” (Judges 11:30-1, 34-5)
Let’s not forget Don, this little gem:
“This is what the Lord Almighty says... ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (1 Samuel 15:3)
Oh my…my…my…my… throwing stones, are we?
Don, it’s over. Kindly go away. Go ahead: read your Bible, say Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah all you want and live as you please. But get it through your head that you and the “Moral Majority” have no right to force people to celebrate Christmas (or any other Christian ceremony), say Merry Christmas or place Christmas decorations on public property at the expense of people of other faiths or creeds. As long as they’re forced to pay their taxes to “maintain” the town green, they get to express their faith too.
Also, while you’re at it, forget this “Resurgence” of “Conservative” Values. It’s over. It’s done. Finito. Kaput. It’s never coming back. The rest of the world is ready to live like enlightened adults now, ready to cast away forever the stifling fear, self-loathing and guilt centuries of Big Church doctrine has brought us. I guarantee you once the shackles of bigotry, hatred and sexual repression championed by Big Church have been cast off, all these perverse crimes shall evaporate like a snowball in July. It is our hope that 2013 will be a tremendous year for the cause of peace, freedom and prosperity for all. To that we say: out with the old, in with the new!
One last thing before we say Adios, Don: whether you know it or not, you and your Conservative cohorts have been instrumental in helping us and other freedom lovers to prove our point. Merci and Bon Voyage old friend!
And last but certainly not least: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza and a most Happy Festivus to all!
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14
* Be sure to check out my recently released first novel, Dragonheart, now available for download on Amazon.