07. June 2005 · Comments Off on Memo: The Virtues of Religious Toleration · Categories: General, GWOT

To: Ambassador Atta El –Manan Bakit
Of the Organization of the Islamic Conference
From: Sgt Mom
Re: When $%*#ing Hell #*%&!ing Freezes over!

“The Official Spokesman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Ambassador Atta El-Manan Bakhit, has stated that the confession by the southern command of the United States army on the occurrence of cases of desecration of the Holy Qur’an in Guantanamo prison was a confirmation of the practices that had been reported ….This disgraceful conduct of those soldiers reveal their blatant hatred and disdain for the religion of millions of Muslims all over the world and throws into doubt the nature of the instructions given to the American soldiers on religious values and principles of tolerance. ….The OIC Spokesman urged the United States Government to live up to its responsibilities and not be lenient with the perpetrators of the desecration. He also demanded that those responsible for this despicable crime should be brought to justice immediately….”
—-Official Press release

1. My dear little Ambassador El-Manan, that will happen when Christians are allowed to practice their religious beliefs openly in Saudi Arabia, when they are freed from persecution and desecration of their shrines, relics, holy books and persons in Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt and Iran… just to name some of the most notorious perpetrators of blatant hatred and distain for the religion of millions of others.

2. And speaking about destruction and desecration of a volume sacred writing, what about all those Bibles, prayer books and Korans confiscated from visitors to Saudi Arabia, that shining temple of tolerance and free thought. Does that old reference to glass houses and stones translate to Arabic?

3. BTW, your Ambassadorness, the UCMJ, the Constitution of these United States, and the penal codes of most states and localities do not address the peculiar matter of what specific charges should be leveled at the perpetrators of “this despicable crime” Come to think on it “desecration of a sacred text” might turn up in some of the more amusingly backward rulings left over from the century before the century last, but my bet is that it’s called something like “vandalism” or “willful destruction of private property”. A book is a book… mass-produced, or elaborately ornamented, it is a thing, not an object of worship. It is not ennobled, or made sacred of itself, by virtue of the ideas expressed in it somehow leaking into the ink, the paper and the binding. The value of it is to the one who reverences the ideas, and to insist that everyone else must pay reverence too… well, I thought the Prophet had something to say about idolatry.

4. And about “the nature of the instructions given to the American soldiers on religious values and principles of tolerance”? Two-way street, your Ambassadorness. You want toleration, respect, and consideration of your religious values and practices? Try doing the same for other people’s religious beliefs: treat as you would yourself wish to be treated— it’s a whole new taste thrill.

5. Finally, I think I will go home tonight, and as an experiment, take my paperback translation of the Koran, an illuminated version of the Book of Common Prayer, and a copy of the Book of Mormon…and put them in some sort of disrespectable place. Say, a windowsill above the cat’s litter box, or on a shelf in the bathroom, next to the toilet paper. Somehow, I don’t think the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Council of Elders will be troubled for a moment. I would suggest you cultivate a similar spirit of serenity about the disposition of the printed sacred word. In confident anticipation of a fatwa leveled against my happy, defiantly non dhimmi Lutheran self, I remain

Sgt. Mom

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