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Saturday, April 2, 2011

An Eye for an Eye

Dear Afghanistan,

Some drooling imbecile in Gainesville Florida burned a copy of the Quran.

I'm genuinely sorry for that. That was evil, inappropriate, insensitive and frankly utterly un-Christ-like. But the person who did this was, as previously mentioned, a drooling imbecile.

I understand that you're upset about this. I would like to personally, on behalf of my mentally deficient countryman, make amends.

I, Captain Robert Reeder of Seattle Washington, will personally burn one King James Bible for you. I will post photos of the Bible burning here at SoM; if you'd like I can try to hook up a live video feed, but no promises. Once I have burned one King James Bible for your one burned Quran, we're done, even-Steven. And then perhaps you can stop killing people over it.

Pakistan, if you'd like, I'll be happy throw in a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, pre-emptively in case some Hindu might decide to burn a Quran as well. Palestine, if you'd like, I'll add in a copy of the Tanakh as a freebee. I'll even see if I have an extra copy of Darwin's Origin of Species lying around in case some atheist should decide to include a copy of the Quran in their recycling program.

Okay, we're cool now? No more killing?

I'm dead serious about this. I'm leaving my "comments" box open on this post. One single response from any individual anywhere saying anything to the effect of "yes Captain Robert, the burning of one Christian Bible would sufficiently avenge the burning of one Quran, so that I will not feel compelled to kill anyone else over it", and it will happen, and I will post it here.


Dear drooling imbecile in Gainesville Florida,

So many things I could say here, but they would fall upon deaf ears. Let me try this:

I have a young daughter. She happens to enjoy pinatas. For whatever reason, beating a large paper bag with a stick, while blindfolded, to see what might come out of it, is great fun for her. Her friends seem to enjoy it as well, so, at least for special occasions, we try to provide her with the opportunity to play pinata.

Where we live, we happen to have a species of insect called bald-faced hornets. They aren't really true hornets, more like very large and very aggressive yellow-jacket wasps. But they build a nest which strongly resembles the nest of a true hornet, which is to say, it is about the size, shape, consistency and elevation of a pinata. Even when my daughter was very young, she was quite capable of taking a broom-handle and whacking any of the hornets' nests which frequent our yard in the late summer.

But, she didn't.

Because, by the time she was old enough to heft and swing a broom-handle, she had figured out that beating a hornets' nest with a stick was a Very Bad Idea.

As of the last time I looked at CNN some 20 people are dead and another hundred or more seriously wounded, all because you thought it was a Very Good Idea to smack at a hornets' nest with a broom stick.

I won't have a King James Bible anymore after I burn the one I have, so please, if you could be so kind, remind me of where in the Bible exactly Jesus recommends burning the holy books of other Abrahamic faiths, specifically with the intent of inciting the followers of those faiths to violence? Because, Pastor, I thought I was pretty familiar with your Bible, but I seem to have somehow missed that passage.


  1. Maybe it's time to just burn all of the religious books and be done with it.

    I'm not sure that stone-age gods and nuclear age weapons can ever successfully co-exist on the same planet. One or the other of them needs to go away, now. Or better yet, both of them need to go away now. For the survival of our species. Let's turn our swords into plowshares and our Bibles into heating fuel. Today.

  2. The thing is, I really don't think religion, per se, is inherently bad. My sister, for example, is Christian. When our father passed away, her faith really seemed to help her come to an understanding of that, which gave her peace of mind that she might not have had otherwise. Whether what she believes about death and what happens after death has any validity or not really doesn't matter. Death is a reality, and her beliefs help her come to terms with that reality. That works for her, and she isn't the sort of person who would fly an airplane into a building, regardless of what her Bible or her pastor told her to do. Her faith causes her no harm, her faith causes others no harm, and it helps her deal with the everyday crises and triumphs that life typically gives us. It works, for her.

    Does that make it, in Marx's words, an "opiate of the masses"? Maybe. But in my sister's case, and the case of many people like her, it's a fairly benign opiate.

    I'm also not convinced that people who do evil in the name of their god wouldn't just do evil anyway. The Bible is used for justification to harm others all the time, but if the Bible suddenly didn't exist then people who wanted to harm others would simply find another justification. As often as not people who would use the Bible (or the Quran or the Upanishads or whatever) to justify harming others don't really care whether the Bible actually justifies their harming or not.

    For example, nowhere does the Bible say anything at all negative about abortion. It was a common practice during the time of both Moses and Jesus, and neither of them (or their respective followers) ever even mentioned abortion. But that doesn't stop people who advocate government regulation of other people's bodies from pretending that the Bible is somehow "pro life".

    Bad people will do bad things, with or without religion as an excuse. Good people will do good things, with or without religion as an excuse. But if, beyond all of that, a religion brings a little joy or comfort into into the lives of its followers, that's not a bad thing.

    Anyway, just my $.02.

  3. Good on you, Captain. I totally support this act. Also I agree with you, dipshits will be dipshits.

    On the abortion issue, I am amazed that those anti-abortion folks seem to miss the outright genocide commanded by God in the Torah. But then from what I can tell they tend not to read that portion of their book much, too much of that touchy-feely do good and be a decent human being parts to it, you know like take care of the widows, the orphan and the needy, which along with don't murder each other seems to be the thing God harps on the most.

  4. @ Craig--

    My father was also a Christian. His Jesus was wise, gentle and kind. His Jesus associated with tax collectors, lepers and prostitutes, and understood that a Samaritan could be a good and decent person even though they were a Samaritan.

    We create our gods in our own image.

    I have known so many good, gentle and kind people who have been adherents of so many different faiths. I count among my friends Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Wiccans, atheists, who knows what all else. The benefit of living in a seaport town, I guess. Good, decent, fallible human beings, trying to make their way in this world and make it a better world for their kids.

    And then, you get crap like this.

    I couldn't have said it better myself. Dipshits will be dipshits.