Our humble Doctor has just returned from a working vacation
in Hawai’i, and is feeling both rested and disturbed.
The disturbance came from a nature walk I took. The guide
pointed out a low-growing thorn bush. It was, he said, introduced
to the islands by missionaries, he said, to force the native
Hawai’ians to wear shoes.
I was, of course, horrified by such an act on the part of
evangelists. I was horrified, but I wasn’t surprised.
I have always maintained that religion frequently brings
out the worst in people, and the past several years have
unfortunately borne out that thought. The evidence
is in: the more religious an industrialized society considers
itself, the higher will be its rate of crime, as well as
therates of things that religion is supposed to discourage,
like abortion and divorce. While the media has concentrated
its religious criticism on Islam, the Christian world has
little to learn from Muslims in the application of religious
, by all accounts a God-fearing
, was responsible for the single greatest act
of terrorism in the US up to that time. While Fox News warns
us of “eco-terrorists”, Christian activist Eric
Rudolph single-handedly killed more people than Earth First!,
the ELF, the ALF, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the League
of Conservation Voters and the Nature Conservancy all put
together—and he’s just one operator in a movement
that includes the Army of God, the late Paul
Hill , Rachelle
Salvi III , Michael
and Operation Rescue/Rescue America.
Not that you’d hear any of that watching the news:
most outlets are busy giving spooky accounts of the doings
of “Islamofascists” (a misreading of what fascism
really is) in an attempt to make the current administration’s
military adventure smell like World War Two (see also: Axis
When not busy inciting violence, religious leaders seem
to enjoy preventing the teaching ofscience
and reason (usatoday.com),
disrupting funerals (msnbc),
and calling for the assassinations of
people in other countries
. Meir Kahane’s
body lies a-mold’ring in the grave, but his politics
keep marching on.
I have nothing against religion, nor religious faith, nor
attempts to gently spread one’s religious beliefs.
It’s impossible, however, to overlook the damage done
in the name of religion. It’s past time that all religious
communities took their eyes off the metaphysical and start
examining their effects in the physical realm.