Tuesday, May 22, 2007

God, Honor, And Death



A few days ago a young Iraqi girl was dragged from her house by her brothers and friends and stoned to death in the center of town. On the video she can be seen on the ground looking terribly frightened, then cowering into a fetal position as the first stones are felt. At one point a large stone hits her head and she stops moving.

It seems as though every time one encounters an atrocity like this in the world, especially a world that lacks not at all for atrocities, the temptation is to utter something like “these animals, these savages.” Immediately, though, a voice pops up that says, “Why do you think you’re better?” Then follows a recitation of various horrifics found in the footnotes of our own history texts.

The point missed here, of course, is that to condemn another has nothing to do with exonerating oneself.

What’s most galling, though, is the root source of this heinous deed – God. It seems the young girl had fallen in love with a boy of another faith, thus bringing dishonor to her family. In the name of God, then, were her bones shattered and her organs crushed.

I think we need to do something about God. She’s let this business go on since the dawn of man and there seems no hint that it’ll be stopping soon.

Maybe it’s time to tell God to go build another universe since she’s fucked this one up so badly.

Maybe we should require believers in God to take a test and be licensed, assuring, thus, at least a minimal understanding of the true meaning of certain texts. God, after all, has caused far more deaths than automobiles, and virtually all countries require drivers to be licensed.

Maybe every religion that causes a death in the name of God should be required to forward a hefty bounty to the (arbitrarily chosen) Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One stoning, for example, followed by a hefty bounty, could result in a hundred, a thousand people cured of malaria or AIDS.

Maybe we should have a Religion Police that would intervene whenever some faith seems to be getting out of control – squash those stonings; squash those Mormon polygamists; squash those church night suppers.

Maybe, like all of those anti-smoking laws, we should have laws requiring that faith be practiced only by adults and only within the strict confines of actual, physical churches – nowhere else.

Maybe, like the movie industry, the various religions could have ratings according to their varying degrees of idiocy. Turning cheap wine into Christ’s blood, for example, could earn you a PG, whereas snake handling or speaking in tongues gets you an NC-17.

Maybe, as adults, it’s time to start looking at our religions the same way we look at our nursery rhymes: nice vehicles for youthful instruction, but definitely something we’re expected to grow beyond.

(from, Cherub: An Iraqi War Diary, G. K. Wuori © 2007)

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