Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Jesus...was behind 9/11

Hmm. Interesting title. Makes you think, does it not?

I've spent most of my adult life with a conservative mindset. Don't have it anymore; gave it up for Lent. Now I'm a left-leaning moderate. But as a card-carrying member of the red states, it was part of my creed to disregard anything printed in the media as coming from "the biased liberals." Yep, the liberals were behind every criticism of Presidents Reagan and Bushes Sr. and Jr., they sabotaged Pat Robertson's presidential aspirations, they defend child pornographers, blah, blah, blah. There was always an enemy, always someone or something that we didn't have to engage, didn't have to have a conversation with; the label made the man.

It's easy to hate a label or a concept; it's much harder to hate a woman or a man.

It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over
---Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready To Make Nice"

A watershed moment for me came in 1997 when I started attending a fundamentalist Baptist church. Up until that time I had a concept of fundamentalists, an image; they spoke in a drawl, were narrow-minded, no fun, maybe even had sex with their clothes on :)

Then I actually met one. And another. And another.

What I discovered is that even though they had pretty rigid beliefs, they also had stories that made them unique individuals. One couple lost two babies to miscarriage and then had at least 8 children by adoption or the old-fashioned method. (Maybe I should ask them about the clothes.) There were kids who excelled in sports, there were parents who liked movies; in many ways my stereotypes began to be shattered. My next pastor had a daughter who died at the age of four after being born with Down's Syndrome and many health problems. This experience led him to get involved in the lives of special-needs children and adults. That's something most "fundies" don't bother with. Or so I thought.

Back to the liberals. I had a shift in political ideology when the Iraq War started. I became disgusted with the glee that Christians, most of whom were conservative, took in seeing Iraqis die. I'm not a dove; war is sometimes necessary, but it should be entered into soberly, not joyfully. So I started reading liberal books, listening to liberal commentators, seeing liberal movies (read: Fahrenheit 9/11). And what I discovered was that liberals were not the personification of the devil himself.

I'm trying to find middle ground now. I actively supported Howard Dean and then John Kerry in 2004, but if John McCain runs? I would think long and hard about that decision. It's important to me to see both sides now and weigh things out. Conservatives are not the personification of the devil himself either (although Ann Coulter sure makes a run at it).

So what's with the title? Do I really think Jesus Christ the Lord sent two planes into the World Trade Center towers? Notice the ellipsis, a journalists best friend. With those three dots a man or a woman can make someone say anything. Everyone has a bias, liberal or conservative. Everyone has a slant. News stations which boast of being fair and balanced are usually neither.

"Jesus...was behind 9/11." The quote could have actually read "Jesus, what kind of sick freak was behind 9/11?". Or "Jesus will send to hell the man who was behind 9/11". Maybe even "Jesus Alou was behind 9/11". Or the quote could have been exactly as it looks like. My point is that knee-jerk reactions usually end with you banging your knee on the bottom of the desk. Knee-jerk reactions are painful, whether your favorite part of the turkey is the right or the left wing. Further investigation should always be pursued in order to arrive at the truth.


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