Three Imaginary Girls

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It's hard to feel outraged 'round the holidays. I'd way rather be thinking about my favorite albums of 2004 or buying politically-conscious gifts for my pals than lamenting the state of the world. Yes, Christmas is a time to celebrate the winter solstice with trees, lights, feasts, merriment, music, wine, frolicking, and all those other madcap fun Pagan rituals that the Church co-opted in order to get the peeps on board for Christmas all those years ago.

Luckily in the week before Christmas, I've gotten another reminder about just how out-of-wack some of today's Conservative Christians are with their so-called moral values. And now I'm outraged – again. 2004 has been exhausting.

Yes, I recognize that there are plenty of loving, caring, cool Christians who actually live up to their beliefs and value all the religious meanings in Christmas, and I respect them. Please note that in the content of this rant I'm speaking of judgmental, FOX news-watching, antithetical-to-the-teachings-of-Christ, Republican Christian conservatives like our president.

Ahem. Here's the news story:

According to a recent study by Cornell University, forty-four percent – nearly half – of all Americans believe that the U.S. government should restrict the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans. The article continues that, "Republicans and people who described themselves as highly religious were more apt to support curtailing Muslims’ civil liberties than Democrats or people who are less religious."

Call me an agnostic secularist if you must, but would Mr. Jesus Christ have been excited to hear this news about his so-called followers? I'm not so well-versed about the whole New Testament thing, but I'm pretty sure he said something in there about loving thy neighbor? Turning the other cheek made the cut too, right? But I can't remember the part about "thinly veiling racism and oppressing those of different religious beliefs in the name of safety." But then, I never was much for religious studies.

Back to the article. Apparently, researchers also found that respondents who watched television news were more likely to fear terrorist attacks and support limiting the rights of Muslim-Americans.

Well duh, that's a shocker. Republicans, neo-conservative Christians, corporate-owned media: call these the three totems of the three unwise men. But just as I start to wallow in all my righteous, holier-than-thou indignation at the disastrous state of our media, I find this – a blogging community expressing the indignant voices of those who feel the media persecutes them for being Republican Christians.

Here's the blog:

Here are a few samples of blog discourse for those of you who don't want to raise their hit counter…

"I believe there are good Moslems (sic) and there are bad Moslems (sic). The perception problem with Moslems (sic) is that when the bad ones do evil things, the good ones don't stand up to denounce it. Silence means approval as far as I'm concerned"

Another blogger named "Texaslass3" replied with:

"Yes indeed. Muslims have THEMSELVES to blame that we do not trust them. We have heard virtually no strong support for America AGAINST THE NASTY TERRORISTS ever since 9/11. Any criticism has been muted and rare – and then only when questions continually are asked as to WHY their critique of evil beheaders of innocents never really denounced!"

This community of bloggers continued on in this vein, implying that Democrats don't seem to remember Sept 11th – as if by implication, those of us who bring up civil liberties at a time like this are somehow deluded, careless, reckless, unprotected, a menace. As if. As if these folks never read a history book, I mean. Remember Japanese interment camps, people? Remember what they say about what happens to those who don't remember? Are we proud of that part of our history to risk it happening again…?

Another happy blogger ("Fun One") thinks not only that we're deluded, but that we also have a political agenda for wanting to protect Muslims civil liberties:

"The Dems are not worried about them being here because they know they don't tend to vote Republican. Simple as that."

That's right, Fun One! It's simple as that – voting Democrat clearly means you're aligned with the terrorists. Oppose Bush, and you're probably harboring al Queda down at your neighborhood Trader Joes. C'mon. That's no fun, Fun One! How can we even attempt real discourse about how to protect our country rationally and competently, if you really think it's as simply partisan as that?

But let's back up a bit and ask: how would Texas Lass and her blogger buddies really know how Muslim Americans feel or think? When these bloggers speak about not hearing from "good" Muslims – where do they expect to hear from them? The Bill O'Reilly Show? Crossfire? Rush Limbaugh? I hate to blame media consolidation for all our nation's woes, but I think it's fair to put it out there that Texas Lass might be getting a not-so-fair-and-balanced world view.

Does she know many Muslims personally? Think she's been volunteering down at the Mosque? Has she done much to curb the rise in hate crimes against Muslims in the aftermath of September 11th? Why would any group facing a huge raise in hate-crimes come out to sing the praises of the country?

And more importantly, on the cusp of Christmas – shouldn't these good Christians be trying to show a bit more love their fellow man? A few steps lower in the thread, I read something that jarred even my jaded online eyes, when I read:

"A good muslim is a dead muslim."

No one on the bulletin board objected to this statement – in fact, other bloggers concurred. I know it's Old Testament, but surely these Christians should still believe in the whole "Now Shalt Not Kill" commandment. It's the basis of any moral code worth a damn.

I guess now it's up to us liberal/Democrats/secular/immoral folks to do onto others as we'd have them do onto us.

Merry Christmas, all – and here's to hope for peace on earth.


{This article originally appeared in igDana's weekly Music for America column "A Rush and a Push." Check out the column and feel free to comment on their message boards here.