Thursday, September 21, 2006

The R word

"Bush is the Devil."

"Saddam is evil."

"The Pope is the Anti-Christ."

Whatever the charge, it is all Pure


Superstition, otherwise known as the R- word: Religion, is the true root of all evil.
The Pope's quotation from a Byzantine Emperor could easily be expanded to include all religions:

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The man Benedict quoted was Manuel II. He was one of the last emperors of Constantinople. The Byzantine Empire finally fell to the Turks 28 years after his death. Manual II failed to convince the West to save Byzantium. He was himself, at times, a prisoner of the Ottoman Turks and was involved in various failed intrigues with them.

Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos

Met Home

The ultimate irony is that Manuel II-- and Benedict by referring to him-- argued for the use of reason. Reason over blind faith. Reason over irrational and violent zealotry. It is just such reason that should have inhibited Bush. What the Christian Fundamentalists say about Islam is just as true of themselves: Use of the sword (and bombs) to spread ideology and religion is wrong, no matter the religion and no matter the ideology (We can't force freedom).

And so, let's take the Pope at his word:
Let's use our reason, use our heads.
We are all Hamlet's Yorick.
We are all this daughter of Lucy --
half ape, half human,
far from being angels.

Reread Sailing to Byzantium.


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