Monday, February 1, 2010

Phide Phobia

Several Haitian kids were victims of an attempted 'rescue' mission by a Christian group from Idaho who sought to rescue the children to safety in bordering Dominican Republic. As of yet, no one really knows what the Christian groups intentions were. Time will tell. What we do know is that several voices have howled in protest claiming foul play by the Christians, convinced that they are only out to proselytize or inflict child abuse, or worse. After all, these jaded voices claim, they've seen it too many times before. Please. And I've seen war and destruction too many times before, and good people of all stripes do terrible things, and supposedly bad people do good.

These voices have seen what too many times before? The voices of dissent and phobia act as if the 'religious' are the world's primary source of injury. That we would all be better off as mixtures of existential/nihilist/humanists. What the voices do not care to realize is that we all have a religion. We are all followers of something or someone. We are also all imperfect, slotted somewhere along the index of imperfection.

"Agnostic", not knowing, would be, I assume, what most of these voices would readily claim in regards to their metaphysical conviction. They would be wrong. They have quite a strong conviction in their not knowing and so do the chosen leaders of the not knowing group who have their own deep-felt convictions.

Being an agnostic, or suspicious, or a humanist, steps you no nearer toward right action than a 'religious person'. Firstly, because we are all finite humans, and second because we are all religious persons - religious about different things. One man is religious about singing his hymns, another man is religious about taking a dip of chew, another man is religious about philandering, another is religious about going deer hunting in the fall. We are all religious, and each of these religions can be abused, and generally speaking each of these religions does not make you more likely to be a child-abductor, or intender of foul play. However, each of our myriad religion and ways of being is bound to rub off on those that we conduct life with. Sometimes this is in a good way and sometimes this is in a bad way, most likely depending on the 'religion' and the person doing the religion.

Now, I concede, a tobacco chewer doesn't typically try to recruit other tobacco chewers, especially not young kids (except for the company that sells the stuff). But then, tobacco is sure to give you gum disease and a life by example is the greatest influencer. By default this tobacco chewer is a passive proselytizer. Shame on him. How dare he proselytize in this country.

These Christian Religious may in fact be the active proselytizing kind, and if they are - so what? Isn't it a far cry better for these kids to work through and recover from the Jesus of a religious right group than work through the starving and desperate state of Haiti in rubble? And if the Christian religious aren't good enough to go in and help - are the humanists? If you say yes, why? because they are agenda-less save their good intent and won't infect with their religion? Sure they will, just a religion by another name.

I understand the very legitimate need to provide proper documentation when dealing with children or for that matter taking action of any kind, especially within the sovereign boundaries of another country. For starters this is simply respectful consideration, and treating others the way you would wish to be treated, namely, with dignity. If indeed this religious group did not have the proper papers and official blessing by the Haitian government, then they should be both criticized and prosecuted. For, religious organizations have an egregious track record of regularly acting as if they are above the law because they are ipso facto on the ultimate right side of the law. This self-righteous, self-aggrandizing attitude is narrow-minded and irresponsible and should be punished.

However, let us not be gobbled up by our cynicism of religion and Christianity in the face of desperate Haiti in a time of dire need. Rather, may we all pour what we can towards Haiti in brotherly and sisterly love, while not acting unilaterally or condemning out of a sense of self-righteousness.

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