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Tom Gordon's Blother

February 5, 2006

Cower On Your Knees, Men of the West!
A couple years ago, a friend and I were driving about town, talking up a storm. He'd come out from California to attend some familial ceremony, and had a couple extra days to kick around and squander upon the usual needless leisure activities. Anyway, at one point we'd passed a movie theater showing "The Passion of the Christ," which had just premiered a few days earlier. Almost immediately this galling sight set my buddy off into a tiresome anti-Christian ranting mode -- where he invoked everyone from the Spanish Inquisitors to Jerry Falwell as proof of the religion's illegitimacy, and broadly proclaimed anyone who actually believed the events described in the movie as rudderless sheep, too stupid to live. So to speak.

I said nothing, as I hadn't seen the film, wasn't particularly in a mood to argue with someone whose convictions were so clearly fixed and reinforced with concrete, and had assorted counterexamples -- from a brilliant Mennonite suitemate at Pratt to friendly-yet-devout relatives -- on the brain. Besides, there's a somewhat masturbatory air one affects when railing against them evil 'n vicious fundie Jesusland types. Their hyperbolic pronouncements to the contrary notwithstanding, such a Brave Voice of Rational Reason secretly knows a platoon of stone-brandishing jackbooted thugs with becrucifixed helmets won't be showing up to drag them out of their houses for their oh-so-irreverent blandishments anytime soon. Hell, in US culture, mocking them ign'rant Christers is practically a national pastime -- the fact that there've been at least three consecutive December 25ths now where public debate about the holiday's legitimacy have been called into question without mass death says FAR more about the tolerance levels of Christians than any of Bill Maher's self-aggrandizing fantasies.

But of course, mocking ANOTHER religion -- one whose similarly fundamental believers actually took it upon themselves to slaughter several thousand Americans not so long ago -- requires a bit more intestinal fortitude, there.

So when my companion started in on his desire to make a "Passion"-inverting movie, where every 'brave' and 'independent-minded' idea stolen from the pages of Garth Ennis' "Preacher" was explored in loving cinematic detail -- Jesus slept with whores! Ha! Choke on that, narrowminded Biblethumpers! -- I chimed in. "Hey, how about making a movie about the life of Mohammed, too? There's lots of saucy scandalous material to be found there, as well."

Then, he turned to look at me, with a contortion of disbelief on his countenance, and replied, "What do you think I am -- suicidal?"

Indeed.

And so here we are today, faced with the curious spectacle of a Transnationally Multicultural Secular Europe, wondering what the hell to do about the bloodthirsty hordes of frothing Islamofascist Orcs from England to Indonesia, now openly calling for genocidal war... over a few cartoons. Will their leaders 'suicidally' stand for the Western traditions of free speech and artistic freedom in the face of such a murderous theocratic mob? Or will they meekly penalize the offending voices of defiance fomenters of religious hatred, and take another capitulatory step down the death spiral that can only lead to Eurabia -- and a second Dark Age?

And if my friend's cowardice is any indication -- are WE here in America very far behind them?
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