Things that make me uncomfortable

As I approached the front door to my house (I share a 3 way entry with the cat lady and the chola) I set down my dirty clothes hamper and searched for my keys. I heard someone fiddling with the locks and door handle. Is it the cat lady, coming out to remind me to take out the trash cans tomorrow, or the ever elusive chola, slathered in liquid eyeliner and headed out to the bar? I was hoping for the latter, because then I would avoid the possibility of getting stuck discussing cat dander, or something equally pleasant. Turns out, it was a dude, exiting the dark interior of the chola's abode. As he stepped out of the door and pulled it shut behind him, he reached down, and zipped up his pants.

"Huh," I thought.

Then we made eye contact. He said, "Hey."
I said, "Hey."
Then I awkwardly moved me and my clothing hamper out of his way, and off he went. He definitely saw me see him do the zip up. Maybe next time he will remember to zip up before he takes off.


I was listening to some conservative talk radio yesterday. Because I forgot my Ipod, and have listened to the NOFX album "Coaster," about 175 times, because it is the only CD in my car for roughly the last year, and is therefore the default if there is nothing worth listening to on talk radio and I don't have an Ipod. I was tuned in to 105.7 KNRS, family values talk radio, home of esteemed queen of moral values Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and Lord of all assholes, Rush Limbaugh. Glen Beck used to be on around 4, but has recently been bumped by a local guy named Ron Arquette. When I tuned in, he happened to be talking to Terry Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach center in Gainsville, Florida.

The church over which this abominable shithead of an imbecile pasteurizes, plans on declaring 9/11 "National Burn a Quran Day." Bigotry and hate. Cool. So, Ronald asks Terry what message he, and his churches congregation of primordial sheep hope to get across, by burning Islam's most sacred book.
"Well, we want to send a clear message that sharia law won't be accepted here in America, and that radicals aren't welcome."
Ronald asked Terry if this was his own idea.
"Well, it actually wasn't my idea. A member of the congregation came to me with this, and after a lot of contemplation and praying, I felt like this was the right thing to do."
Ronald asked Terry if he thought that maybe this would be sending the wrong message to moderate muslims the world over, and further drive a wedge between Muslims and Christians/Americans.
"Well, we believe that it might, but that the message is too important not to send. And, more importantly, the radicals will get the right message."
Ronald asked Terry if he thought that, by burning the Quran, Islamic radicals would twist the footage and story, and use it to show that America hates Muslims.
"Well, we believe that they will do such things anyway, and again, that the message is too important."
Ronald asked Terry if he would be offended by Muslims burning bibles.
"Well, yes, I would certainly be offended. But, again, this is different. We are sending an important message here. This isn't a message against moderate Muslims (which, throughout, he pronounced mawzluhms, which was super annoying), but rather against the radicals, and it is too important. The radicals will get the right message."

I don't even know where to start with this. I don't know how anyone with even 1/8 of a brain could possibly think this was any kind of a good idea. That this is anything less than pure, unadulterated bigotry, carelessly "hidden" behind the claim of "taking a stand," or "sending a message." These people are just as bad as the nefarious "Christian" refuse that pickets soldier's funerals with "God hates fags" signs. I understand that there is a national conservative fear that "we have become dangerously tolerant of radicalism," and that people fear that political correctness enables terrorist cells to grow and fester to the point of horrendous, deadly acts. But if nothing else, this sort of behavior CREATES AND LEGITIMIZES these cells. It, simply put, provides endless fuel for the "American infidels hate Muslims, and therefore must be destroyed," fire. How can these people not see that? Well, because they are blinded by pure, unfettered hatred. By the absolute epitome of ignorance. The fact that he said that he had prayed about this was even more infuriating. Maybe I'm just naive when I think that Jesus isn't a Muslim hating queer bashing condoner of common Nazi tactics e.g. book burning.

Burning a Quran doesn't send a message that "America hates sharia law." Burning a Quran simply sends a message of hate. Pure and simple. And the worst part is, the media plays right into it. If the media would simply ignore what this horse's ass is doing, nobody would ever know about it, and it would be a completely benign publicity stunt. I mean, if a church in Nephi Utah decided to burn every Quran in Juab country (which would probably be fewer than 1), if nobody reported it, nobody would know about it. So the media is pulling an equally stupid boner.

About 2 hours later, I was heading somewhere else, listening to the same show. Apparently, according to a Gallup pole, Obama is less popular among Mormons than among any other faith. He dropped from like, a 48% approval rate, to around a 23% since election. Whatever. So Mr. Arquette opened up the phone lines with a question: In one sentence, tell us why you like, or dislike Obama.

The overall tone and outcome of this question, I think, is pretty obvious, considering the station and the demographic. Me, I don't love Obama. But I think it is pretty silly to open up a "call us and tell us why you don't like Obama" forum. Maybe embarrassing, is a better word.
"I like Barak Hussein Obama because he is hastening the return of my Savior."
Followed by, "I dislike Barak Obama because he is a Gadianton robber." Not, he is LIKE a Gadianton robber (which would be equally ridiculous,) but he IS. (For those of you not familiar with the Book of Mormon, the Gadianton robbers were a group of, well, robbers and thieves and murderers who made a pact with Satan, essentially, to overthrow righteousness/the government, through secret combinations, or clandestine, underground groups, as it were.)
Double sigh.
And it went on, and on, and on. It just seems like such cheap, pathetic radio, to have a "Let's all call in and say why we hate the president" forum.
Here is the thing. If you want to sit at home, in your private little Mormon cottage adorned with every Greg Olsen painting ever created, and all of the various vinyl lettering inspirational sayings that Seagull Book and Tape ever offered, and think that Barak Obama is a Gadianton robber, effecting the complete moral destruction of the united states, and is, in effect, causing Christ to have to come even sooner than planned...can you PLEASE just keep that thought to your self? If that is what you believe in your heart of hearts, then God love you. It's your prerogative. But just don't make the rest of us (Mormons) sound like back woods, ignorant idiots, hunkering down for the eminent apocalypse. I'm not saying for people not to stand up for what they believe in. But have you ever heard any of the quorum of the 12 say anything about Obama being a Gadianton robber, or hastening the coming of the Lord?


So shut your mouth, and keep it to yourself. Stop making me feel embarrassed to be a Utah Mormon. Don't get me wrong-I feel like I need to rephrase that. I'm not embarrassed to be a Mormon. I'm not embarrassed by my religion. I am, however, embarrassed to be culturally and intellectually lumped in with people pulling crap like the aforementioned...crap. You may think Obama is destroying America with his policies. But to compare him with a group of murderers who made a pact with Lucifer to effect the destruction of all that is good and holy, is simply ludicrous. Maybe think about what you are really saying there, before you open your stupid mouth and word vomit all over the Utah airwaves.

Maybe, just maybe, this illustrates a little tiny fraction of what moderate muslims feel, when their radical brethren pull shit like explosive martyrdom. It's a shaky comparison at best, but I think there were a whole lot of Muslims cringing when those towers went down.

I guess we all cringe sometimes because of those with whom we share a faith, a political party...or a front entry way.


Taren said...

Thank you.

MEG said...

I usually read your posts through reader, but this time I actually hit your blog to see what kind of reactions you were getting. Looks like I'm too early. This post was REFRESHING. Not only that, but it applies to most everything politics and religion related. Here are two of my personal recent faves and then I'll get off my rant:

"I love being a stay-at-home mom! Nothing in this world is worth sacrificing my time with my children."

"If my son was gay I wouldn't let his boyfriend come into my home".


Thanks for this post.

Jenna said...


Dave said...

“Mr. Jones [the Quran burning preacher} is hijacking Christianity just as Al Qaeda hijacked Islam.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/us/26gainesville.html (last three paragraphs are poignant)

That's probably giving Mr. Jones too much credit, but I agree with the idea that he is only damaging christianity with his little stunt (can any good come from this? Will one single extremist give up a life of extremism because some d-bag in America burns his holy scriptures?).

This is the state of our religious and political discourse. It has fallen from people sharing and discussing ideas and philosophies that they believe will improve things, to people simply cursing those that disagree with them and damning them to hell for their wicked ways.

Some people probably think this guy should be stopped from burning Qurans. I don't think he should be stopped -- that would play right into his hand. He would LOVE the media circus that would prompt (anyway, he almost certainly can't be stopped legally). Rather, as you have suggested, I think the media should just stop giving him airtime.

Mindy said...

I love reading your blog.

Amy said...

You totally don't know me. Is it okay that I still comment? Well here I go in any case. I totally agree. I am Mormon, not ashamed of it, but so ashamed of how ignorant and stupid some people with whom I share my faith with are. I do however love Obama. I know, that automatically discredits me with most people I go to church with. I am also sure Jesus isn't a Muslim, queer hater who would abide by Nazi practices. It's amazing how these same people with have "Follow The Prophet" or "As for Me and My House, We Will Serve The Lord" in vinyl on their walls but then they also spout hatred.

Thanks for showing the more reasonable side of members of our faith. And giving a compassionate voice to Christianity.

Fish Nat!on said...

Mindy: thank you for loving, thank you for reading. Please keep reading, I'll try to keep making it worth loving.

Dave: there seems to be a certain digression back to, oh say, the 1800's with a lot of these extremist christian churches. Lot's of disagreeing, (which is fine) but then a whole lot of cursing and damning (and apparent book burning, funeral protesting, etc.,) for disagreeing.

I love the argument "We can't build churches in Saudi Arabia, so they shouldn't be able to build one there until we can." Well, assholes, we aren't Saudi Arabia. We are America. I agree that is sucks, and it is fundamentally unfair that we allow freedom of faith and religion here, while they are completely intolerant there. But that isn't important. What IS important, is that we aren't THEM. So what they do is irrelevant.

Meg: If your son was gay, I wouldn't let him into my home. Not because he was gay, but mostly because he is a stranger.

Jellybean said...

This was awesome. I completely share with you in the embarrassment of being associated with the extremists in our faith (broader Christianity for this one). I don't like that there's a shred of anything that connects me to the likes of the God Hates Fags people or Sarah Palin, but there it is: the cross around my neck. I also think it's important that we continue to speak, as the non-crazy variety of Christians, so that maybe someday we'll have the kind of voice in public dialogue that Jesus could be proud of.

I also heard that "We can't build churches in Saudi Arabia" business. I was watching some show with a politician who commented on that exact quote. I can't remember whether it was Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart, or Rachel Maddow, since I've watched all 3 this week, but I suppose it doesn't matter. He said that that is what makes our country better, and in denying people the rights to build religious buildings and practice their faiths. We become more like those countries whose people come out all crazy and hijack planes and kill people when we do stuff like that.


Adhis said...

I'm confused by this comment in your, uh, comments section:

Here are two of my personal recent faves and then I'll get off my rant:

"I love being a stay-at-home mom! Nothing in this world is worth sacrificing my time with my children."

"If my son was gay I wouldn't let his boyfriend come into my home".

Meg, what does the "I love being a stay-at-home mom" comment have to do with extremists?

Thanks in advance for the clarification.