No matter what you’re told by the preacher, the pastor, the priest, the imam, the ayatollah, the teacher, the choirmaster, the saffron-robed monk or the civvies-clothed nun. Not a one of these faith-based organizations out there really wants to promote peace, goodwill, love, and charity. Not. One. It’s not the fault of the religion. It’s the fault of the followers.
Some of whom I grieve with today in the aftermath of a shooting rampage in my home state that left, at last count, thirteen dead and thirty wounded, including the guy who apparently started it.
Some of whom we’ve all — those of us alive for 11Sep01, or 4Nov79, anyway — heard about as far back as we can remember.
Some of whom I heard about last night listening to the BBC.
The next day, a local organizer of the pageant, Stella Din, is devastated and embarrassed, telling Bloom that the rioting and the collapse of the event have “sent strong signals out to the international community that Nigeria is not a country to be taken seriously.” Nigeria’s newly democratic, pro-Western government had hoped that hosting Miss World would be an opportunity to showcase the country as it emerged from decades of military rule. Says Din, “We have blown our chances.”
A Christian from southern Nigeria, Din also expresses outrage that Muslims in the North plan to execute Amina Lawal. “Where I come from — I mean, any civilized nation — you don’t stone a woman … let alone a woman who has a little baby.”
Amina Lawal’s case is splitting the country. While the North holds fast to its intent to carry out her sentence, the government in the South insists that she will never be stoned. Bloom and Herrman restart their journey to the North to find Lawal and to explore the Islamic regions of the country where sharia, the Islamic code of law based on the Koran, has been embraced.
Some of them adopt a fairly proactive live-and-let-live point of view, and they’re usually derided as “backsliders,” “liberals,” “lapsed,” “fallen-away,” “lukewarm,” “agnostic,” or “inactive.”
Some of them adopt a fairly proactive do-good-for-others point of view, and they’re usually put down as “not following the inerrant scriptures.”
Some of them get right up in everybody’s grill preaching, and they’re usually showered with money.
They get to be rich and powerful members of their societies, by not just their social standards but eventually so much above the norm they get noticed outside their communities.
Some of ’em start wars in the name of their version of God.
They wind up sainted, venerated, damn near worshiped in their own right.
You know what? They’re no holier than any other dictator, no more pious than Stalin.
They’re no more devotees of peace than Nikolai Ceaucescu was, or Francisco Franco.
They don’t care any more their fellow man than did Bull Connor or Mao.
Based on yesterday’s news out of Killeen/Temple/Copperas Cove / Ft. Hood, they have another fellow in their clique.
Thirteen dead, two handguns. Mental illness can come out of anywhere, anytime, and take down anybody.
Army Lt. General Robert Cone talks to the media about the shooting on base at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009. Cone said there were 12 dead and 31 wounded. Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Joyce Marshall.
There are real heroes on that post, and in its hospitals and those of nearby communities today.
Phlebotomist Sumer Mosley, second from right, takes a blood donation from U.S. Army Pfc. Jose Estrada, with the 411th Military Police Company at Fort Hood, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009, at Scott and White hospital in Temple, Texas. Estrada, said the he was prompted by the days events at Fort Hood near Killeen, Texas, after a mass shooting, to drive to Temple from the post to donate. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
I hope the death toll holds steady, and the shooter recovers enough to stand trial.
No, I don’t want the suspect waterboarded.
No, I don’t want the suspect tortured.
Yes, I want to know what the hell set him off on this … rampage.