Monday, September 18, 2006

Outrage of the Week

The gift of humor is a great salvo in times of trial. Humor clears the air, and makes troubles seem smaller. I often find that spotting an element of the absurd in something leads to greater understanding. When I write here, I often highlight the absurd (which some doubtless find annoying.) This isn't even something I do consciously, most of the time--I'm not sitting here over the keyboard wondering, "Let's see, how can I spin this so it's funny?" More often than not, funny finds me.

Funny isn't finding me today. There's plenty going on in the world that is absurd, but none of it is funny.
--It's absurd, but not funny, when public figures cannot speak their minds without violent mobs gathering all over the world to threaten, insult, and intimidate.
--It's absurd, but not funny, when churches are burned because of one sentence in a speech of several pages--some of them not even of the speaker's denomination.
--It's absurd, but not funny, when innocent servants of God are viciously gunned down on the grounds of a children's hospital because in someone's sick mind they represent one with whom they are offended.
--It's absurd, but not funny, that after a sincere apology has been proffered and a number of Muslim associations have accepted it, this is still not enough for those who seek any excuse for their murderous rampages. What would be enough? Grovelling and a conversion? The handover of the Vatican? What?
--It's absurd, but not funny, that the practitioners of Islam regularly demean and oppress practitioners of other religions, but cannot stand the slightest scrutiny of their own.
--It's absurd, but not funny, that anything less than rhapsodic treatment of Islam is a resurgence of the Crusades, when it was Islam's own bloody legacy of conversion by the sword that launched those Crusades in the first place, and Islam's continued bloody legacy of control through terror that has foreign troops on 'Islamic' soil today.
--It's absurd, but not at all funny, that the "Religion of Peace" turns to uncontrolled violence at the mere turn of a phrase.
--It's completely absurd, but not funny, that large numbers of secular, nonreligious or antireligious people still can't seem to get over their own Schaedenfreude to the realization that in actively or passively supporting these barbarians they sow the seeds of their own destruction. We Christians may be annoying, but we don't execute you for your sins and there's nothing in our theology that makes that likely to change.

If it isn't patently obvious, I'm in no condition today to deal with the fallout from His Holiness Pope Benedict's remark--one brief medieval reference in a long address on the subjects of faith, reason, and the lack of reason in violence--in "a hard intellectual light." Fortunately for me, others have already addressed this matter with reason, good sense, and perhaps even an intact sense of humor. Father Stephanos of Me Monk, Me Meander has been posting on this situation over the past week and has been a font of excellent articles and astute commentary. A Catholic Londoner who took and published pictures of a demonstration outside Winchester Cathedral this Sunday is also well worth the read.

I will post more when I've calmed down, and gotten some real work done.

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