|4th C. depiction of Christ, one of the earliest. He looks so Middle Eastern, he could be related to Osama bin Laden. But then, all men are brothers, Christians believe. Don't they?|
All over the Internet, people are rejoicing that Osama bin Laden is dead.
Whether he is or not―and burying him at sea with no more than government assurances (worth the paper they’re printed on?) that due diligence in confirming his identity has been done―the reaction of so-called Christians to the death of this man is more frightening than the idea of Newt Gingrich in the White House, another bit of news we can’t use this morning.
What, one might ask, has happened to Christianity? Did not the hero of that sect, Joshua ben Joseph of the royal House of David not forgive his tormentors, whether Roman or Jew? Did he smite anyone for bringing about his death? Did his early followers smite anyone for killing leaders among their number―St. Stephen, St. Paul, etc.? The answer is, as far as we can tell, absolutely not.
Religions of vengeance
So what has happened? While there is little doubt that Islam has become more a religion of vengeance than one of peace, Christianity, while it does not carry out raids and killings in its own name, i.e., the Vatican, Christians are at the base of fomenting everything thing the US government has done since George W. Bush took (emphasis on took) office, and actually long before. Since, in fact, John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts against his Christian will. The government has been on a slippery slope toward hypocrisy ever since.
A modern Crusade
The US government, despite the claims to the contrary by modern Christian fundamentalists, has pursued a program of militant Christianity of a sort Joshua ben Joseph would never have countenanced, and more than Mohammed would have countenanced the terrorist attacks of the modern age. One can, if one wishes, trace the conflict back to the Crusades, which were started by Christians, not by Muslims, although the Muslims prevailed. Christians have no claim on purity, none at all. There were the Crusades, there was the Inquisition. There were pockets of horror up until the current generation, directed mainly, however, at Christians themselves. Recall the movie The Magdalene Sisters? It was based on fact, and I have an Irish friend who knew all about it at the time. Consider the current Pope, an apologist for Nazi atrocities in a subtle way.
Royal wedding overshadowed by animus
But all that is another story. What’s under discussion here is the unseemly glee with which Americans, especially, greeted news of the death of Osama bin Laden. One wonders whether those same nominal Christians would greet their long-awaited Second Coming with as much glee. If one considers Joshua ben Joseph to be as much a state of mind and condition of spirit as an historical figure, then one would have to conclude that modern American Christians are about as far from Joshua ben Joseph as it is possible to be. They decried―many of them―the lovely, kind and hopeful nuptials of Prince William, a descendant―as a member of a European royal house regardless of specific nation of origin―of Joshua ben Joseph. (Please see work by Laurence Gardner and one of my previous columns for more on the Holy Grail, i.e., Jesus and Mary being married and having children in France.) And yet they dance in the streets, hard on the heels of that hopeful event, at the death of another of God’s children.
I am not a believer in any part of the Christian mythology. It’s an interesting parable, though, for the way people ought to live. Indeed, if the actual words of Joshua ben Joseph were to be heeded―if indeed one could figure out what those words really were, what with delay in reportage, translations, interpetation―no Christian could possibly rejoice in the death of another human being, regardless of who that other human being was or believed. Of course, I am hardly the first to have said this. And I doubt I will be the last. What I bring to the discussion is this: America and its Christians have sought a new low and they have found it. They are bottom feeders in the banquet of life, and if misery rains down again from the skies, or the fields blow away in the wind…it will be only because they have failed to uphold the freshness of each new day and have awakened with the smell of death and revenge in their nostrils.
As for me, I will affirm the good, because at this point, it’s all I can do.