Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An Open Letter to Marc Theissen and the ‘Torturers of Freedom’

The following is an open letter to Marc Theissen and the ‘torturers of freedom’ whom he blindly supports, aids and abets. I invite the reader first to view the website of this conservative apologist: But read with caution, and consider what it truly means to be a Conservative in the modern age and how that differs from times long gone. Mr. Theissen supports the torture meted out by representatives of the U.S. Government since 9/11, as being both necessary to ensure our freedom and security as well as being heroic.

Is it heroic to torment the body of a supine individual who cannot move or defend himself? Was it heroic for the Spanish Inquisition to torture and murder thousands of Jews and dissenting yet faithful Christians for their disparity of belief? Did this protect the sanctity of the Kingdom of God? Was it heroic for the Romans to torture our Christian ancestors for fear that their beliefs would cause the ruin of the Roman Empire? Was it heroic for the Nazis to torture Jews to ensure that their “filth” would not contaminate Germany and Europe any further?

Numerous people have died under torture by American hands over the last three decades alone, and these numbers are increasing. Can we be sure that these folks were indeed guilty of the crimes that they were being accused of or investigated for? Many have been shown to have been innocent. Even still, our Constitution - the document that guides us morally in our American experiment - is very clear about "cruel and unusual punishment". Our assent to the Geneva Convention is central to America's moral position as "the good guys". That we did not torture in previous wars and centuries is crucial to our identity as morally superior. Even if they had been guilty, has not torture been shown to create erratic and unreliable results? Perhaps we can say that the program of torture is not so much for the purpose of gaining intelligence but for two other reasons - very nefarious and devilish reasons - 1) to strike terror into the hearts of any potential adversaries, effectively creating an American junta in various countries and even in our own, in which the authorities may not be questioned or challenged. The loss of freedom is one step away. 2) To allow those personnel (be they military or spies such as the CIA) to exercise their blood lust, thereby funneling the Satanic urges of these erstwhile sociopaths into more "efficient", "acceptable", and “sociable” channels of behavior.

I did not ask to be the beneficiary of this evil. I did not ask to be protected by Devils and Demons. I do not wish to be kept safe in my bed while others, either in my back yard or a half a world away are twisted and gouged, nearly drowned or choked. Our children, nestled safely in their beds, while someone else is systematically deprived of sleep, food, medical attention, dignity, and legal counsel—guilty or innocent, merely “accused”—are not safe from the tyranny that is perpetrating these crimes against humanity; they are being nursed by its cold, dead teat and being weaned in a world where true conscience is rarely found.

The bottom line: I see the smug, smiling face of Marc Theissen, barely out of his diapers, still bearing the baby fat of his privileged youth, preaching to us from his Ivory Tower of safety that we should be grateful for the torture that is being committed in our name, for our “safety”. I remind this un-American buffoon that he must re-read the words and opinions of our founding fathers, such as Ben Franklin who counseled us that those who would trade a little security for a little liberty deserve neither security nor liberty. Perhaps one day, those like Marc Theissen and his ilk - the John Yoos and Jack Bybees of the world - will be deemed enemies of the state, while they protest that they are prisoners of conscience as they writhe and bleed in agony of the torture that is necessary to silence them for the sake of the safety and sanctity of our "free" state.

My America doesn’t torture. My America fought against the Nazis, against the Fascists and the Empire of Japan, all regimes that tortured and committed countless crimes against humanity without a second thought. And we won without having to resort to torture to meet our goals. This is what made us the good guys. I do not relish the thought of dishonoring my forefathers by resorting to torture, having erroneously convinced myself that the laws which governed their wars, and the morals that guided our founding fathers, are obsolete, not good enough for our modern world. Stand up, America, and count yourselves among the good guys. Do not emulate your enemies, or you will become like them. You will become them.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Belief, a delusion?

I pity those like Richard Dawkins and those like him who have no sense of faith and convince themselves – using only empirical evidence and corporeal senses – that belief in God is a delusion, irrational. It does not matter to me what your faith is. I do not believe that without faith you will go to Hell or be eternally punished. To me it is punishment in and of itself to be without a belief in a higher power.

I have no empirical evidence for the existence of God, but I know that I am not wrong. Through noetic means, through very ancient and inherent senses beyond the five that we count, through knowledge that is gained by observation of the world – the entire universe and its deeper and innermost working – through these senses, I have come to a deep and sublime knowledge of a God that surrounds us, binds us, and sustains us. It is not merely around us, nor is it merely our matrix, it IS us.

My primary misgiving is that I am not able to convey this in any intelligible words to those around me, that they will not be able to share in the knowledge I have gained in my search. It is easy for those who seek God to write seemingly empty words, talking about sublimity and ineffability and transcendence. Until one has truly experienced this, through noesis, gnosis, the direct experience of the Divine, it is nothing more than trite language, inspiring more boredom than interest. Once again, I do not worry that those who do not know this will be punished; it is punishment enough to be without God, to feel alone in the universe, without higher purpose, without a sense of unity with the Divine.

To say that God is in the clouds of a sunset is cliché. To say that God is in the experience of aging and seeing those around you getting younger is cliché. To say that God is in the love between spouses is cliché. To say that God is in the love of a grandparent is cliché. To say that God is in the experience of watching one’s parents become aged is cliché. To say that God is in the reminiscence of youth and the remembrance of sacred time, nostalgic and formative moments, more fiction than history, is cliché. To say that God is in the death of a friend, taken far too young – or in the deaths of two friends taken far too young – is cliché. To say that God is in anything, and is real to us in any way…is cliché. But it is no less true.

I hope that you, the reader, can find God a little bit more in your life every day. It is what will unite us more than anything else, more than any other common experience. I give you my brotherly love and wish you the presence of mind to breath in God’s breath at least once every day.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Christmas Creed?

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to watch Disneyland’s Christmas parade (held nightly inside the park during the Christmas season), and was intrigued to hear Santa Claus inquire of the audience several times, shouting from the back of his sleigh like a tent-revival preacher, “Do you believe in the magic of Christmas?” While this is surely just a folksy expression of seasonal merriment mixed with shameless self-promotion by Disney, I cannot help but think that the ubiquitous appeal to “the magic of Christmas” is a popular expression of faith that has somehow missed the mark. Children everywhere are taught from an early age to believe in folk myths which are not at all supported by the doctrine of their religion, and are fully expected to discover their untruth, almost on schedule, much like a rite of passage. And adults are even enjoined to maintain some semblance of belief —in the “spirit of Christmas”—not so much to promote the charitable and pious spirit behind Christmas, so much as to buoy their purchasing proclivities through the holidays.

In the end, it is almost as if the insistence of belief in the "sacraments" of Christmas has become somewhat like a Christian creed, more important than the piety that the historical Saint Nicholas tried to spread. And so in succumbing to this [speaking tongue in cheek of course], I urge you all to accept, memorize, and recite yearly this creed, much like the “Apostles’ Creed” that many of you remember from your Sunday school days. If you do not accept this creed, you will all be condemned to an eternity of stockings filled with lumps of coal. And if you do not believe in the magic of Christmas, you will all be damned to a life without Rankin-Bass animated television Christmas specials.

Christmas Creed

We believe in one Santa Claus, All-knowing,
Maker and bringer of toys,

And in Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,
Who was born to Donner and Mrs. Donner,
Rejected by the other reindeer,
Traveled with his friends to the Island of Misfit Toys,
And suffered under the Abominable Snowman;
But returning to Christmas Town one foggy night,
Was redeemed by Santa,
And now guides the sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer, delivering gifts in only one night,
To those deemed worthy by Santa, who judges the naughty and the nice.

We believe in the magic of Christmas,
The residence at the North Pole,
Entry through the chimney,
The role of the elves,
Flying reindeer,
Frosty the Snowman,

And in the twice-checked list, infallible.