It’s been an incoherent day, one that never gave me the opportunity for contemplation and writing. Instead, I’ve been bopping here and there, and dealing with one thing and another. Nevertheless, I have been tracking the news, so I thought I’d just write up a mish-mash of thoughts about current issues and events.
The top issue/event, obviously, is Gaza. By now you’ve all seen the hysterical headline about Israel having blown up a UN school, killing scores of civilians. At the exact second I read the words “UN school,” I knew it wasn’t a school at all but was, instead, a weapons storage facility and a headquarters for fighters. Why did I know this? Because the UN in Gaza is completely complicit with Hamas. In that part of the world, the two are one and the same entity. I also knew that the school wasn’t really a school because Gaza intentionally places fighters and weapons around children precisely so that it garner this type of scare headline. Michelle Malkin has a fact-filled post detailing all the many ways in which my instincts on this one were dead on the money.
Speaking of Hamas setting its children up as targets so that it can further vilify Israel in the eyes of the world, you really must read Ron Rosenbaum’s article explaining why, to the extent there are differences between Hamas and the Nazis, Hamas is infinitely worse. As part of that line of thinking, it’s worth noting that even the Nazis weren’t willing to sacrifice their own children merely to score propaganda points.
As is always the case, everyone in the world outside of America is urging Israel to back down. (In America, while Obama is ominously quiet, even Dirty Harry Reid has acknowledged Israel’s right to defend against the non-stop rocket attacks that have poured death and destruction on the land for years now.) In the past, Israel has listened. This time, I’m hoping against hope that she gives the world the middle finger and does what she has to do to defend herself. I’ve never understood why Israel, rather like the pathetic nerdy kid in high school, keeps twisting herself into damaging contortions to satisfy people who will despise her regardless. Eventually, the nerd just has to go it alone and the hell with the critics.
Incidentally, although the world doesn’t deserve good fortune, if Israel is wise enough to give it the finger, it may just get good fortune anyway — the good fortune in this case being that an Israeli victory against Hamas in Gaza is also an Israeli victory against the mad Mullahs in Iran. As has been the case for decades now, Israel is our proxy, and we should be grateful that she’s putting her bodies on the line so we don’t have to.
And one last word on the subject: Reader Lulu send me an email pointing out something interesting, which is that Hezbollah is doing nothing right now. You’d think that this would be a perfect time for Hezbollah to force a two-front war on Israel. That it’s not doing so might be a good indication that, all propaganda to the contrary, Israel may have inflicted serious damage on it back in 2006. Iran can replace the arms, but maybe she can’t replace the men.
In England, the atheists have launched an ad campaign encouraging people to abandon religion so that they can be happy. One of the brains behind this initiative is Ariane Sherine. She decided to launch the ad campaign because “she became angry after noticing a set of Christian advertisements carrying a website address which warned that people who reject God are condemned to spend all eternity to ‘torment in Hell.'”
I’m perfectly willing to admit that trying to scare people into religion may not be the smartest way to go about things. I do find the ad campaign peculiar, though, because I was under the impression that polls show religious people are more happy, not less happy, than the average atheist (putting aside the fact that the average vocal atheist always seem to be a pretty darn angry person).
As you all know, I’m a big believer in the many virtues of religion, although not particularly religious myself. Aside from liking the core moral aspects religion brings, I’ve also always appreciated (and envied) the way religion brings meaning to life.
In a religious world, man is not just a random collection of atoms, molecules, cells and organs, put on earth to procreate and scrabble for food until he dies. Instead, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition with which I’m familiar, man’s life has meaning and purpose. Whether God used evolution as his tool or instant creation, man exists in God’s image. His corporeal body may not necessarily be the mirror image of God’s being, but he is in God’s image to the extent that his mind and spirit are attuned to justice and a higher purpose. We’re not just meaningless bugs. We are something special and our time on earth has meaning, whether we emphasize that in our own lives or not.
All of which is to say that it strikes me as mighty darn peculiar to advertise an absence of religion as the answer to the search for happiness. You might as well say, “You’re a meaningless bug. Get used to it.”
While the first wave of hysteria following the passage in California of Prop. 8 has finally died down, hard feelings continue. A Catholic Church in San Francisco was covered with offensive graffiti, likening the church and its parishioners to Nazis. The beautiful irony of this story is that this particular church, located near the Castro district, has always been a welcoming place to gays.
Aside from the fact that vandals, by their very nature, can’t be expected to be intelligent (I guess), I find it strange that we live in a world in which hewing to unexceptional traditional values that span all cultures and all times is an invitation to vandalism. As you know, I’d be perfectly happy to see the state get out of the marriage business, leaving that to religion, and instead get into the domestic partnership business, with an emphasis on encouraging stable behaviors that strengthen society. Pending that unlikely situation, however, I can’t help but wonder if the gay marriage advocates realize that offending ordinary people who support ordinary values is not likely to advance their cause.