Guns and Religion: Giddyap!

So here  am in Maine over the Labor Day holiday.  Trying to withdraw from my normal daily stresses, I find that creating a mental retreat only serves to bring reality even more into focus.  Guns and religion.  President Obama was correct in his campaign faux pas when he said, and I paraphrase, that guns and religion always run the show during hard times.  His comment might have been impolitic and not appropriate (vis-a-vis getting votes) for a Presidential contender to utter, but nevertheless, it was the truth.

When I am in the car here, I tune into a Boston news station on the radio.  Now, I am talking about Boston, one of the cradles of our nation’s freedom and well-known for its “Boston Brahmin” air of being.  Over the past week, all I have heard on this station is about shootouts.  Did I misinterpret something?  Is Boston really an outpost of the wild west?  When did Beantown become Cimarron City?

Boston, like any other American city, is a microcosm of our nation at large.  But listen to this: a shootout in Lawrence where four people were shot, another armed melee in Malden where three people were tagged and finally, an eight-year-old girl shot in the leg by a stray bullet in her back yard in Dorchester.  So far, a good number of the victims have died.

Do you think our liberal gun laws might have anything to do with this lawlessness?  Sure, we will always have crazy, violent people.  We cannot prevent them from being born or developing their angry, outlaw mentality.  What we can control are the deadly weapons that are so easily available to them.  “No”, you say, as that would violate our constitutional right to bear arms.  So be it.  I guess our right to own and use guns is more important than protecting our citizens from those that use these weapons so recklessly.  So why are we complaining about our economy?  What difference does it make that 10% of our people do not have jobs?  They have guns, the great equalizer.  All is well in America.

Likewise, a church in Gainesville, Florida is planning a mass burning of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  Pastor Terry Jones is aiming to build a bonfire using as many Korans as he can get his hands on.  Never mind that such actions are bigoted and, literally and figuratively, incendiary.  Many politicians and leaders believe this act would increase the danger to our troops abroad and also negatively impact our reputation throughout the world.  Just what we need, no?  In fact, even the White House has requested that this church table its plans.

Freedom of religion means freedom for all religions.  Period.  I do however, have an easy fix for this proposed protest.  The pastor has described this plan as “not peaceful or loving, but a warning.”  Last I checked, it was not the church’s role to present a warning to any political faction.  The answer is simple.  Disallow Pastor Jones’ church their tax-exempt status.  Clearly, this church is planning a political strategy that violates the separation of church and state.  Money talks, and this pastor and his congregation will turn tail and cry “Uncle” in the blink of an eye.  Trust me.  Nothing makes people see the light of day as quickly and as deeply as money does.  This church wants to make a political statement?  Fine and dandy.  No more tax-exempt status  Watch how fast they return to their message of peace and love.  A veritable miracle.

In the meantime, Pastor Jones has taken to carrying heat.  Yup: he now totes around a pistol in response to the hundred death threats he has received.  Aaaah.  Guns and religion.  Such an explosive, but common mix.  We need only to turn to the Queen of Giddyap, i.e. our very own Sarah Palin, to find the consistent message of using a wedge to foster camaraderie.  What is her favorite saying?  “Don’t retreat, reload.”  In the same breath as she spouts this divisive, destructive philosophy, she proclaims her total devotion to the Almighty.  The mix of guns and religion certainly rivals that of scotch and soda, peanut butter and jelly and tar and feathers.  How ironic, but definitely iconic as well, that intolerance is being used to foster common purpose and progress.

All the guns in Boston and intolerance in the religious community of Gainesville are a sign of the times.  This phenomenon is as old as the hills.  When people get frustrated, have a hard time from day-to-day, how better to lash out than by using violence and prejudice?  Being in Maine this week, supposedly removed from all the world’s trials and tribulations, has only made me see this insanity for exactly what it is: unadulterated lawlessness, vigilantism and America’s idiotic, desperate way to get even.  Shoot: we need to get smart, not even.

Giddyap!

POSTSCRIPT

Wowie zowie!  Go to my DailyKOS diary page and read all the comments:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/9/8/900091/-Guns-and-Religion:-Giddyap!

People are dead set on embracing their right to bear arms.  It is shocking how deeply this runs through our society, clearly cutting across party lines.

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