In God We Trust. Or Else. You Listening, Tiger?

Wasn’t it George Orwell who said, “As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents”?

While folks like Sarah Palin and the staff of Fox News spend much of their time screaming threats of Socialism at their more left-leaning fellow Americans, it seems the hardcore religious right are becoming a more visible entity in this country. I don’t remember there being TV news channels back in the day that were grossly committed to espousing and dignifying the misguided efforts and beliefs of this very odd faction of human beings.

As Obama and his supporters (and many of his critics) try and make changes to benefit the daily lives of Americans, offer them choices, enhance equality and freedom, we still hear the loud, frightened cries of those who have not even yet managed to bring themselves to embrace the notion of evolution. They’re still working on the universe was created in a week” plan. No wonder the Bush Administration and many of its political predecessors had so much trouble planning ahead and projecting into the future. Everything worth accomplishing should and could be done in a week! Mission accomplished anyone?

So while the shouts of “Socialism!” and “Totalitarianism!” persist, we move slowly away from an administration that restricted human freedoms by passing a law that would allow individuals to be placed under arrest with no charges officially filed or rights allowed. And those arrests and subsequent imprisonments were proclaimed “indefinite.” That same administration led us into a preemptive attack on another country for the first time in American history. But unlike Kubrick’s DR. STRANGELOVE, our leaders did so with full knowledge and intent, disregarding the recommendations of the United Nations, who, it turns out, were correct in their assessment of the situation in Iraq. And through all of this, the Bush Administration found every possible way to overturn any criticism that their particular brand of torture was inhuman. They insisted it was not only legal, but necessary. And when faced with legal implications, they actually tried to redefine torture itself so that they could legally continue in their God-mandated actions.

I wonder what Jesus would think about all of this?

It seems odd to me that so many of these Bush supporters and Palin supporters are actually running around in fear of totalitarianism, fascism and big government under the Obama Administration. Especially considering that the Bush Administration and many Republican administrations before (though Clinton can be lumped in here to an extent, as well) catered grotesquely to the massive corporations that have, in essence, become the government of the United States (and, perhaps, the rest of the world). The very fears these people are now espousing and their accompanying accusations were actually flourishing as a reality under their own God-approved world leaders.

There has been few things in my lifetime that seemed more moralistically damaged than the Bush Administration. They not only diminished our hundreds-year struggle to make and keep America “The Land Of The Free,” but they did it under the name of God and Christianity. There is nothing more offensive to my understanding of Jesus and God–any God–than the actions of the Bush Administration and the current portion of Americans still engaged in these beliefs.

Understand, this is not a Democrat versus Republican issue. Nor is it an anti-religion issue. This is an argument between a group of people who believe in true freedom and equality –regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation– and a group of people who believe in those things with a set of parenthesis attached. It seems that simply claiming to be a good Christian is enough to justify almost any act of brutality or injustice so long as you can connect it to your religious beliefs and convince yourself that you are on the side of “right.” That you are “chosen” or “saved.” What a terrifying notion. This faith-based bit of simple-mindedness has brought us such God-approved events as the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials. It seems that only in retrospect can the public at large recognize the atrocities committed in the name of the Lord.

But what is one to expect from a belief system that suggests believers will go to heaven, while the rest of humanity will spend an eternity in hell? Is this what the universe has been boiled down to in the glorious and creative minds of the human race?

A few weeks back, I wrote a short piece on Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration’s torture policies and I held them up against some of the insightful and thoughtful teachings of Gandhi. One very angry woman wrote to me proclaiming “You’re obviously NOT a Christian man!” I wondered what gave me away? My quoting Gandhi or my not endorsing torture?

Today, Fox News’ Brit Hume commented on golfer Tiger Woods’ one chance to save himself, not only from his current public scandal, but from the very fiery depths of hell itself:

“The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

Tiger has spoken openly in the past about his religious beliefs:

“I practice meditation. That is something that I do, that my mum taught me over the years. We also have a thing we do every year, where we go to temple together. In the Buddhist religion you have to work for it yourself, internally, in order to achieve anything in life and set up the next life. It is all about what you do and you get out of it what you put into it.”

Clearly the words of a blasphemer.

I wonder how many Americans are out there right now commenting not so much on Mr. Woods’ all-too human difficulties and challenges, but on the indisputable “fact” that he may well rot in hell. He doesn’t need a therapist. He needs to have faith. Not in himself, but in another. And if he does so, he can finally realize that he is not only above the law, but the rest of humanity.

In God We Trust. Or Else. You Listening, Tiger?

7 thoughts on “In God We Trust. Or Else. You Listening, Tiger?

  1. Ben says:

    Gotta go with the Woman, Hal. Not only are you obviously not Christian, your understanding of Christianity is about a negative 2 on a scale of 1-10. Plus, where does Britt mention the Fiery depths of hell?
    He mentions nothing fiery, nor depths, nor hell.

  2. halmasonberg says:

    The assumption that the Christian religion is the only one that offers redemption and forgiveness is downright arrogant. As for the brand of redemption and forgiveness Christianity has to offer, I think Tiger would be best staying with Buddhism if he actually wants to continue growing spiritually. Just my opinion, that one. As for the fiery depths of hell, Ben, it seems to be the notion of Bush and Palin and many others in that camp. I can’t speak for you on this one. As for my understanding of Christianity, I think you will find it goes rather deep, though I’m sure you’re loathe to believe that. I find it to be, in the hands of Palin, Bush, etc., to have been disfigured beyond recognition to suit the needs of its users. Any Christian who can condone torture and war, is not Christian in the truest sense of the teachings of Christ. I also do not believe any good comes from a vengeful God. And I do believe that Gandhi and Christ, if we are to believe the words and teachings of Christ to have actually come from him, are two very similar people. They were both ahead of their time and able to see a far greater, far bigger picture. However, in the hands of lesser individuals, their words (particularly Christ’s) and teachings have been distorted and misinterpreted beyond recognition. Not by all, but certainly by the individuals I am discussing here. And their followers. Sorry, Ben. I don’t know enough about your particular beliefs, but if they side with Bush and Palin, if it is that brand of Christianity that you subscribe to, then I do think you are quite misguided. If not, then I hope you are about peace, love, prosperity, equality, do unto others, etc. Those are ideals I can and do get behind.

  3. Ben says:

    Regarding any misconceptions that Buddhism offers redemption I defer to Chesterton : “That Buddhism approves of mercy or of
    self-restraint is not to say that it is specially like Christianity;
    it is only to say that it is not utterly unlike all human existence.
    Buddhists disapprove in theory of cruelty or excess because all
    sane human beings disapprove in theory of cruelty or excess.
    But to say that Buddhism and Christianity give the same philosophy
    of these things is simply false. All humanity does agree that we are
    in a net of sin. Most of humanity agrees that there is some way out.
    But as to what is the way out, I do not think that there are two
    institutions in the universe which contradict each other so flatly
    as Buddhism and Christianity.” Otherwise You simply seem to be putting addendum onto every statement made by those with whom you disagree politically. …”or burn in the fires of hell”…seems to be the unspoken threat heard. Which shows a fundamental lack of understanding of actual Christianity, but a full understanding of media portrayed Christianity (My beliefs can be found in the Nicene Creed) . I don’t understand your leap to interrogations that save lives, or when Sarah Palin kicked your dog, but I’m sure she would forgive you in kind :)

  4. halmasonberg says:

    I appreciate your replies, Ben. Unfortunately for me, the notion that all humanity does agree that we are in a net of sin and that most of humanity agrees that there is some way out, is so sad and misguided to me that I find it hard to engage about. It is the antithesis of all my beliefs about the world, the universe and mankind itself. I also believe it to be, in the wrong hands, a very dangerous belief system. That said, I hope it serves you well in your travels and journey through this life.

    Interrogations that save lives? I’m sure Jesus would have approved. And maybe even taken part.

    Ben, I have very close fiends who are ministers and priests. We talk quite often about fundamental beliefs and their interpretations and how they are enacted in this modern world. Your particular brand of Christianity, as you have laid it out, seems quite disturbing to me. That certainly doesn’t mean that is wrong. There is also much I do not know about your personal beliefs and can only comment on what you have stated here.

    I do not think Christianity and Buddhism have much in common. And I am thankful for that. The very notion of spiritual “redemption” is appalling to me. And I think being against cruelty and excess in “theory” alone is quite dangerous. It allows for all kinds of atrocities (like torture) to take place without consequence, morality or responsibility. It is not particularly evolved in my opinion.

    Please feel free to continue commenting here. I will not engage further as it does, indeed, sadden me and I see no satisfying resolution.

  5. Ben says:

    If we could resolve such a thing in blog comments :)
    I must though , protest your use of the term Brand of Christianity. I am Catholic, straight, no Chaser, no brand.

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