Birding, fun. Photography, fun. Walking outside while doing both…fun.
War…not fun. ISIS…not fun. Paris attacks…not fun. When I “rebranded” my blog a while back, deleting old material and focusing only on birds, science, and photography, it was partially for my own sanity. Blogging about politics and the ridiculousness of humanity isn’t fun. But the last few days have been depressing, seeing the reaction of Americans to the Paris bombings. Can’t help but break rank here and go off topic…
Several weeks ago, the world was shocked by a photo of a 3-year old Syrian boy, a refugee, who washed up dead along the Turkish coast. It put a face on the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and for a moment, provided world-wide sympathy for what the Syrian people are going through.
That’s gone. A terrorist attack in Paris, conflicting reports about the origin of the attackers, and now Syrian refugees are being characterized as being nearly as bad, nearly as EVIL, as ISIS themselves. In the last few days, 23 Governors have decreed they will ban any Syrian refugees from entering their state (even though it’s quite clear they don’t have that power). The Republican presidential candidates have fallen all over themselves trying to out-do each other in promoting hatred and bigotry towards Syrian refugees, with Bush and Christie even both suggesting that refugees pass a “religion test”, with Muslims denied entry to the U.S. and Christians admitted. Nothing screams “AMERICA!!!” to me more than making political hay out of a tragedy, and Republicans are certainly doing their damnedest to squeeze every last bit of political capital out of the Paris attacks.
What I find even more disheartening is the general reaction of Americans in general. It’s absolutely disgusting to go online right now, either to social media or in reading comments on mainstream news stories. The bigotry, the outright HATE that’s being spewed by so many every-day Americans is shocking, even to a cynic like myself.
In World War II, we let our fear and bigotry control our actions, and we placed thousands of Japanese Americans in interment camps, as black a mark as there is in U.S. history. Evidently we haven’t learned our lesson. When we look back at what’s happening right now, we will look back with disgust, we will look back with SHAME. Or at least we should.
The worst component to me is the complete and utter disregard for “Christian” beliefs. What I’m seeing on Facebook…”Friends” (now former friends) posting meme images such as “One nation under GOD…NOT Allah!!”. The states whose governors wish to ban Syrian refugees are almost exclusively “red” states, with conservative politicians and conservative constituencies. EVERY STATE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S. has had their governor proclaim they wish to ban Syrian refugees. In other words…the entire so-called “Bible Belt” of America is turning its back on its OWN religion, making a mockery of Christianity, and choosing instead to be led by their own fear and bigotry.
I’m an atheist, not because of any disdain for religious belief in general, but because as a scientist…I need proof! I need evidence! However, I have no problem with people practicing whatever religion they desire, so long as it doesn’t directly cause harm to others, and so long as it isn’t force-fed down the throats of “other” religions. Islam is NOT a violent religion…it’s perverted by a very small minority, to obvious evil and violent ends.
I’m sorry, American “Christians”, right now you are guilty of the same kind of perversion of your religion. When people self-identifying as “Christian” deny assistance to a group of people undergoing the most unimaginable horrors…it’s a perversion of your religion. When self-identified “Christians” direct hateful language towards Muslims and Syrians…it’s a perversion of your religion. It’s absolutely shocking…absolutely DISGUSTING…to see what people are publicly saying in social media and elsewhere right now, and that includes some people I personally know and had thought highly of.
Nothing brings out the true character of a human being than fear. And the Paris attacks have certainly brought out that fear (and thus, the hideous nature of far too many human beings).
It’s not just religion that’s been perverted by both Muslims and Christians though, it’s the foundation of the United States itself that is being perverted. We were founded in the name of freedom, freedom to believe what you want, freedom to practice whatever religion you want, without fear, without consequence. We are a nation of immigrants, as much of a “melting pot” as any nation on the planet. Suddenly, conservatives who have long pointed to the Constitution, who have long pointed to the ideals of our Founding Fathers…are trashing it all, all in the name of their own cowardice, fear, and bigotry. Suddenly we are NOT a nation of immigrants. Suddenly we are NOT a nation of tolerance. Suddenly we are a fearful nation, a nation of COWARDS, a nation where anyone who doesn’t share your skin color or religion is suspect.
The Paris attacks themselves were obviously shocking, an act of pure evil. Our reaction to those attacks has been every BIT as perverted and evil.