November 14, 2013

When it comes to Religion, we Americans are Spoiled Rotten

by Larry Peterson

When it comes to religion we here in the United States of America are spoiled rotten. We can worship unencumbered anytime we choose and we do not even give it a second thought. "C'mon, let's go. We don't want to be late for church."  How many millions of times has that been said in America on a Sunday morning? And why not? We have had a powerful friend protecting us and it is called the Constitution. It reads in simple language: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. But now, the winds of change are in the air.

It seems that our days of simply taking this cherished freedom for granted are being legally 'amputated' by secularists, atheists and agnostics who, armed with cooperating attorneys, seem to attack not only all things Judeo-Christian but anything that even mentions or uses the name of God. Two examples are The Pledge of Allegiance or our motto, "In God We Trust". Don't they realize that we ALL have the right to worship or NOT worship if we choose? Don't they realize how precious a gift this is to ALL Americans, believers and non-believers alike? Do they have any idea where their self-absorbed arrogance might take them if they succeed in their selfish quest to dismiss God from our lives? Have they ever once opened a history book?

 In other parts of the world these 'amputations' have become bloody and deadly as thousands of believers in Jesus Christ are being tortured and murdered because they are Christians. It is hard to believe that people in the "civilized and sophisticated" world of 2013 are being murdered because they believe in a Man who taught people to "love their neighbor". This is reprehensible yet it is nothing new. For crying out loud, in Maccabees (Old testament--7:1-2, 9-14)  a mom and her seven sons were arrested and tortured because they would not eat pork. Then they killed all of them. That was a few thousand years ago. The landscape of history is strewn with the mutilated corpses of millions of people who have been slaughtered because of religious beliefs. The 20th century alone has seen the Islamic Fundamentalists kill over two million Armenians in Turkey from 1915 to 1918. Hitler, during the 1930s and through 1945 vanquished over six million Jews in his twisted quest to accomplish the "Final Solution".  Many millions more were exterminated under his sick "watch". In Bosnia, Orthodox Christians slaughtered over 100,000 Bosnian & Croatian Muslims from 1992 to 1995. Today, as I peck away at this keyboard, Coptic Christians in the middle-east, especially in Egypt and Syria, are being killed and persecuted because of their faith. From the Book of Maccabees and earlier nothing  has changed except the efficiency of killing and the plethora of cameras and recording devices capturing it all for our viewing "pleasure". It is all in our collective faces. Where is the outcry, especially from the main-stream American media?  I don't think they even care. The anti-God people in America and around the world obviously do not care. What is wrong with the God believers? Where is their voice? What fools we can be.

Seventy-five years ago on November 9 & 10, 1938, the nation of Germany,  under the rule of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi henchmen, initiated the infamous two day reign of terror on the German Jewish people which came to be known as Kristallnacht or "Night of the Broken Glass". This pogrom (a series of government sanctioned coordinated attacks against the Jews in Germany) had been ready to go and those in charge had been waiting for a catalyst to justify it. It came at the hands of a 17-year old German-born Polish Jew who lived in Paris. Herschel Grynszpan, seeking revenge for the treatment given his parents in Germany, assassinated a German diplomat by the name of Ernst vom Rath. Upon hearing this the German propaganda machine, under Josef Goebbels, elevated vom Rath to "German martyr" status and Hitler himself attended  the funeral. The final piece was now in place to foment the "Final Solution". The German people, having been primed with Jewish hatred  over the previous five to ten years, were ready to turn their backs on the Holocaust.

Somewhere around 10:30 p.m on November 9, sanctioned 'mobs" began ransacking Jewish  homes, temples, schools, and hospitals throughout Germany and parts of Austria. Within two days at least 91 Jews were killed and over 30, 000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps. German authorities turned their backs as  over 1000 synogogues were burned and over 7000 Jewish businesses were trashed. The name "Kristallnacht" developed because of the the thousands upon thousands of windows that were smashed and broken throughout Germany. The world was outraged at the reports of the vicious assaults on innocent people. It did not matter. The German press simply ignored it. The "Final Solution" and the impending Holocaust were now unstoppable.

The hatred and violence being expended today seems to be directed mostly at the Christian and the Jew. The Muslims hate Israel and want the Israeli nation with its Israeli people to disappear from the face of the earth. The Islamic Fundamentalists hate the Coptic Christians who have been in Egypt and the middle-east for almost 2000 years. The first Christians in Egypt were mainly Jews and the gospel, writer, St. Luke, mentions them in his gospel introduction. Even a part of St. John's gospel was found to be written in Coptic. It follows that Egypt and the Coptic Christians are part of the cradle of Christianity itself. Why are we Catholics and other Christian denominations not screaming our heads off at the violent and debasing way they are being treated in the present time? Maybe because we can sit around and watch "The Kardashians" or "American Idol"  free from such unspeakable, upsetting circumstances. Maybe we have, like the German people of 75 years ago, been conditioned to shrug off  the blood being spilled by those of our brothers and sisters who are being killed and tortured because they love their Savior, Jesus Christ?

Could this hateful bloodletting based on one's religious beliefs ever move onto the shores of the United States of America?  I fear that we have become so spoiled rotten in our comfortable "do what you want" free nation it may be possible. Maybe we have become Pinocchios, taken in by Stromboli's promises and enjoying life with the Lampwicks at Pleasure Island. But never forget that Pleasure Island was a fraud and they all turned into Jackasses. Maybe we are primed for our own Kristallnacht to set it all in motion. Fortunately for Pinocchio, the Good Blue Fairy from above came down and saved him. Fortunately, we still have the First Amendment. We all need to start lifting  our eyes more. We need the ONE from above to come down and save us too.