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Faith and Foolishness

(Letter to local NPR station’s call-in show, The Jefferson Exchange, regarding Columbus’ and Bush’s faith)

Two weeks ago this Thursday I heard the “click of no return” during Stephen Mansfield’s answer to whether a sense of faith is necessarily a good thing, Columbus being an example of deluded faith. He replied that Columbus did things “contrary” to his own faith.

Not so. My point was he did those atrocities because of his faith – a god-ordained, self-righteous pillaging, raping, and murdering. Because I couldn’t differ with his first pious fiction he then went into a worse second one: that Bush was in Iraq to “eradicate the militant wing of Islam.”

Not so. Iraq was one of the only secular states in the Muslim world. The radical militant Islamisists who attacked on 9-11 were from Saudi Arabia, a fundamentalist Islamic theocracy, long our corrupted ally, now decaying and being abandoned by the U.S. for its new base of war making – Iraq.

Far from eradicating the militant wing of Islam in Iraq, Bush’s war there attracts it. Far from the front lines, Bush bravely said, “Bring it on!” So that’s what they’re doing. The same radical militant Islamic forces we earlier recruited to Afghanistan (to fight the Soviets) now pick off our men and others daily (as we do to theirs too).

Americans had faith in their president when he rushed us to that war, using massively murderous actual weapons to “defend ourselves” from imaginary ones. We bragged that we dropped MOAB, the Mother of All Bombs, just short of a nuclear blast in power. We attack and occupy with sanctimony, forgetting we are foreign invaders to them – and infidels to their faith.

Whether fueling jihad or crusade, faith can be deceptive. Suicide bombers have great faith. Piety protects the power it plies. Should we have faith in our pious pied piper president – and that we citizens are absolved of our complicity? Oh, the trouble we sow, though we go there with great faith.

Byron has been using his writing and public speaking to engage, challenge and inspire audiences for over 40 years. Reverend Carrier's mission is to rescue and revive our earthly Eden, including our human worth and potential. If you enjoy his work, consider supporting him with Patreon.

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