Monday, February 16, 2015

Week of 02/16/2015

#CrusaderWager Is A Sucker’s Bet
So Atlanta’s newer overpaid talking head has a challenge for people who don’t follow in lock-step with the conservative/neo-conservative script about Islam and violence.
Michael Graham is supposedly “sick and tired” about hearing people say that extremism itself is wrong and that it’s not just limited to Islamic extremism.  He doesn’t want to hear that retort anymore.  He doesn’t want to hear the truth.  He only wants to regurgitate the same fascistic script about how “only Islam” has a problem with violence and how “only Islam” has radical extremists that want to do harm to America.  Never mind the Christian extremists that have done harm in the recent past.  Never mind the Coptic Christians in Egypt that give as good as they get in terms of extremist outrage.  Never mind the conflicts between Hindus and Muslims in the border areas between Pakistan and India.  Never mind any of that… it’s “only Islam” that matters in his mind.  “Only Islam”.
Of course, Mister Graham is slick.  He’s quick to quantify his “only Islam” assertion to events after 9/11.  “Only Islam” in the Twenty-first Century.  “Only Islam” in recent years.  “Only Islam” in 2015.  Never mind anything that happened before 9/11 that would stain any other religious beliefs, especially Christianity.  “Only Islam” matters in his mind, and “only Islam” is what he pompously believes should be the only thing up for discussion.  “Only Islam”.
Or as the late-great George Orwell would put it “We’ve always been at war with Middle Eastasia.”
So Mister Graham has this challenge called “#CrusaderWager”.  Yes, it’s a “hashtag”… because, you know, propaganda has to be hip and current for it to be effective.  It’s not just about regurgitation.  Why do you think it’s called “TWIT-ter”?
Here’s the deal, should you agree to the mission: you agree to put aside $1 for every instance of Islamic violence in 2015.  Meanwhile, Mister Graham would put aside $100 for every instance of violence carried out by any other religion in 2015.  The “winner” is the person who has to set aside less money in 2015.  If you win, Mister Graham donates his pot to the charity of your choice.  If he wins, you have to give your pot to the Salvation Army.  (After all, where do you think the “Crusader” part of the “wager” comes from?)
Mister Graham thinks that this will shut his critics up.  And, believe me, there is a part of me that would love to take him up on that challenge simply on the thought that if I would win, he’d have to give his hundreds to the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
There’s just one problem with this “masterpiece” of a “wager”.
There’s no chance in hell that you could ever prevail. 
And it’s not because he’s “right”.  It’s because he knows something that the vast majority doesn’t.
Have you ever heard the media describe someone as a “Christian Terrorist”?
Go ahead and think about it.  Go back to all of the acts of terror in the 90’s here in the US done by non-Muslims.  All of the shootings and bombings, including the Olympic Park bombing of 1996.  Have any of those been declared acts of “Christian terrorism”?
Think about the Anthrax threats of 2001 committed by people like Clayton Lee Waggoner.  Even though President George W. Bush himself said that “anyone who sends Anthrax is a terrorist, and anyone who sends an Anthrax threat in the mail is a terrorist”, has anyone in the media or the federal government consider Waggoner to be a “Christian Terrorist”?  No, of course not! 
Shoot up a women’s clinic, and you’re considered an “Anti-Abortion Protestor” or a “Pro-Life Extremist”, not a “Christian Terrorist”.  Even if you got your “marching orders” from a self-appointed Christian minister with a degree from “Ordained-dot-God” and said “Praise Jesus” as you pulled the trigger and then quoted scripture as you left, the media will never, ever, ever, ever declare you to be a “Christian Terrorist”.
Consider this: two men walk into two separate workplaces and commit the same horrific acts.  One man says “Praise Jesus” as he does his bloody deeds, while the other says “Allah Akbar”.  Would these both count as acts of terrorism?
No, they wouldn’t.  Because while the “Allah Akbar” murderer would be instantly branded a terrorist, the “Praise Jesus” murderer would be written off as a “lone nut-case”.
How about the parent that quotes Scripture to justify killing their child versus one that quotes the Quran?  Again, the Quran-quoting “honor killing” parent would count as part of that religious violence, while the Bible-quoting parent would again be declared a “lone nut-case”.
That doesn’t really help out in the “wager”, does it?
And that, I believe, is the point.
Let’s get brutally honest here… I firmly believe that the so-called “#CrusaderWager” is a sucker’s bet.  Despite having a seemingly huge radio of 100-to-1 in your favor, there is no real way that you can prevail against Mister Graham’s assertion simply because there is this ongoing double-standard that negates violence committed by Christians and other religions and highlights those committed by Muslims.
Imagine what would happen if one of the TV stations – never mind a network news program or cable news channel – dared called acts of Christian terrorism for what they are like they do for acts of Muslim terrorism.  That station would be besieged by angry phone calls and letters from every church group out there, from every old lady with a crucifix and rosary clutched in their hands, from every C-Street office and political action committee from the Catholic League to the American Family Association, and from every politician owned by C-Street.  They would be told in no uncertain terms that the acts of Christian terrorists are “not those of true Christians”, and that “no true Christian would ever support or condone actions of violence”… even when there are biblical passages from both the Old and New Testament that say otherwise.  They would be badgered into supporting the lie that “no true Christian” can do what Muslim extremists have done.
This ongoing double-standard is what fuels the continual diatribe by people like Mister Graham in their fallacious assertion that “only Islam” has a problem with violence.  It not only conceals the past sins of those of other faiths, it also encourages even more Islamic extremism.  We come off as pompous and hypocritical, which only inflame those that know our actual history.  “Do as we say, not as we have done,” is the message we give.  To borrow from the New Testament, we try to remove the plank from the eyes of our neighbors, while ignoring the whole woodshed that has been long nestled in our own eyes.
Oh there is a chance that Mister Graham could lose, but it’s extremely slight.  If the Coptic Christians in Egypt are riled up enough, or if the tift between India and Pakistan heats up again, or if some religious group here in America decides to go nuclear over the film release of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, maybe then they will do enough damage to make Mister Graham lose.  But it would take a lot.  And it would also take the media identifying these incidents for what they are, which I doubt would happen.
Of course if there are no takers in Mister Graham’s “wager” – and I do hope that is the case – he will use that as his assertion that he is somehow “right”, and his associates and myrmidons will follow suit.  “Take the challenge,” they will demand.  “Prove him wrong.  Put up or shut up.”
They can go to hell and take their rigged games with them.  Their terms are not acceptable and they will not prevail in shutting people up who will remind them of the actual truth and of reality.  They will only result in having two separate enemies against them instead of “only Islam”.

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