Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Church and State

Two religious leaders are in the media this week. Each has had a colourful past and both have affected politics in their regions and possibly the world.

The Dalai Lama, a much loved and revered figure, normally honoured around the world for his peaceful resistance to tyranny, is being shunned this week in Australia. China’s value as a trading partner seems to influence our politicians on both sides more than its disregard for human rights. Rudd may be our knight in shining armour, riding to save us from John Howard’s arrogance, but if you fear increasingly closer ties with China, he’s not your man. He is a China-file, if that is even a word. He’s traveled there, studied Chinese culture and language and has a real affinity with the place. That would be fine if they really were a “people’s republic” but we all know they are a totalitarian regime hiding behind communist ideals.

If it offends them to speak with real representatives of “the people” such as the Dalai Lama and the leaders of Taiwan, then offend the bastards.


Now to my favourite religious news story. Co-founder of the influential Christian Right-Wing Moral Majority (later the Moral Majority Coalition) Jerry Falwell has finally died. There must be a God after all. Segregationist, Zionist, Homophobe, you name the flavour of bigotry and he’s in there. I fear that the only reason he was a Zionist and not anti-semitic was because of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians – he simply had to pick a side.

There are many, many things Falwell didn't like for whatever reason, but lets remember him through some of his narrow minded comments. I like this one from the Christian television program "The 700 Club," in response to the attacks in New York on September 11 2001.

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

His rationale was that God protects a nation that reveres Him and that He ignores or shuns one that mocks Him. Falwell thought that homosexuality, abortion etc., mock God.

He later apologised for his comments.

I couldn’t find the other favourite quote, though having recently heard it replayed on the radio, I know that Falwell recently, quite arrogantly, compared himself to the king of Judah, Hezekiah from the book of Isaiah in the Christian Bible, asking God for 15 more years to continue doing his work.

Again, there must be a God for such a short time to have passed since this wish. From memory, Hezekiah didn’t have to ask. The arrogance of some people!

And, who can forget Falwell taking on Penthouse and Hustler magazines in the 80s failing both times. Watch the movie The People Versus Larry Flynt for the Hustler angle on this story. Falwells defeats in these cases strengthened freedom of speech laws in the US, so maybe he did contribute to society after all.

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