Tag Archives: Religion

How Be a Friend

It’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day. And so, of course, Putin’s President, with the irony born of someone without a soul or a keen eye for history, chose today of all days to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

Naturally, that means anybody who “looks” Muslim will become even more of a target than they have been since Trump took us all down the gold escalator into hell.  It is now open season on “others” here in our nation of immigrants.

So what can we do about it?

I will admit that the safety pin movement left me feeling decidedly unhelpful.  It’s a nice thought, but it never made me feel like I was actually standing up for anyone.  Or like I was doing something to help people being targeted.

But a while back I saw this article that offered some practical suggestions that have some meat on the bones.  Really!  Click on the link.  Cause I’m not going to tell you everything it says.

Anyway, I like to think that I would be the kind of person who would stand up in any situation to protect those in need.  But frankly,  I’m overweight, slow moving, and cowardly.  They don’t make superheroes who look or act like me.  So the odds are NOT in my favor.  Besides, when something happens around me, I never have a clue what’s happening.  I generally stand there, looking around, confused.  Immobile.  Saying “WTF” with my mouth hanging open.  Quick witted I may be with words, but actions?  Not so much.

But the Vox article showed me a way to help when someone is being verbally assaulted, in situations where I am most likely to see it happen.  It’s brilliant.  And relatively safe.  Win-win.

Here’s an example.  Say you’re in Target, passing by the children’s section, when you hear a man harassing a woman in a hijab.  He’s big and burly, and you want to help. You also don’t want him to target you.  Still, you can’t just walk away, turn a blind eye.  You’re a good person!  You wouldn’t be able to look yourself in the mirror if you didn’t help.  But how?

Why, act like an idiot, of course.  Me, I’m a natural!  At acting the idiot, that is.  Not being one.  That’s the role of the racist.

You interrupt the jerk.  Wander in between him and his victim as if you’re looking for something, and can’t quite find it.  Request his help.  Be totally oblivious.  Give the poor target the opportunity to get away.  Think Roseann Rosanna Dana.


Gilda Radner as Roseann Rosanna Dana.

Or, in an equally ditzy way, pretend to be the friend/shopping buddy of the woman being mistreated, and in an oblivious way whisk that woman out of the children’s department and into the table linens.

“Sylvia!” said in the most nasal tone imaginable, “THERE you are.  You were supposed to meet me in the shoe department … you come with me right now before they’re out of the size 7s…”

Read the article.  Learn steps you can take to help folks who may really need your help.  Because it’s a Brave New World out there.  And it helps to be prepared.

Today of all days, it’s important to recall these words, from the U.S. Holocaust Museum:

The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words. The Museum calls on all American citizens, our religious and civic leaders, and the leadership of all branches of the government to confront racist thinking and divisive hateful speech.


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Sinking Deeper

Some days I am overwhelmed with awe at how brilliant people can be.  I read about new discoveries and new science every day.  And it is amazing.

And then there are days like today, when I am astonished at how willfully and intentionally ignorant some folks can be.  And I realize that the lengths to which some folks will go to remain and reaffirm their ignorance is merely the tip of the iceberg.  The icing on the cake.  The snow on the mountaintop.

Yesterday, while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, I saw this billboard:

It doesn’t mention what happens in the end, though.

And I have to honestly say, I don’t get it a whole lot of things about this billboard.

First, I don’t get why folks are bound and determined that I am going to think just like them.  And that they will keep hitting me over the head with their crap until I agree.

Second, do they really think that someone is going to be driving along the New Jersey Turnpike and need religion?  (Well, sometimes it does seem like hell, but still.)

Do they think that, while sitting in gridlock, paying exorbitant tolls or avoiding stupid drivers, people will suddenly “see the light” and say to their spouse:

“Honey, I understand it now.  God created the universe in seven days.  Period.  Seven twenty-four-hour days.  And science had nothing to do with it.  But you know, Dear, what I can’t seem to figure out is why God let us think up all this science stuff to begin with.”

My mother used to say “you catch more flies with honey.”  And it’s true.  Especially with people’s deeply held beliefs.  Christianity became such a dominant religion by incorporating much of the beliefs and traditions of the pagans.  Not by saying “nannie, nannie, boo-boo, I’m right you’re wrong.”

Even seeing stuff like this billboard and a thousand roadside signs I passed, well, sometimes I can still be surprised by the lengths to which folks will go to try and tell me, to prove to me, that my beliefs are wrong.  But today I read an article that has me still shaking my head, hours after seeing it.

Loch Ness monster cited by US schools as evidence that evolution is myth

Nessie, in the famous “Surgeon’s Photograph” from 1934 that is widely believed to be a hoax. (Thanks, Google.)

THOUSANDS of American school pupils are to be taught that the Loch Ness monster is real – in an attempt by religious teachers to disprove Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Pupils attending privately-run Christian schools in the southern state of Louisiana will learn from textbooks next year, which claim Scotland’s most famous mythological beast is a living creature.

Thousands of children are to receive publicly-funded vouchers enabling them to attend the schools – which follow a strict fundamentalist curriculum.

The Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) programme teaches controversial religious beliefs, aimed at disproving evolution and proving creationism. (Emphasis added by me.)

Me, I don’t understand why evolution and creation cannot co-exist.

The existence of God and belief in a higher power does not mean that the universe was created in a week and man in a day.  Man and woman, however we were created, have minds and a curious nature.  That’s what makes us unique.  That is also how we discover cool things, like how to photograph pretend monsters.

But public money is going to pay to teach religion.  I will repeat.  Public money.  Whatever happened to the separation of Church and State?  The founding fathers will have something to say about this at the Reckoning, I’d bet.

As a nation, and as living, rational human beings we are walking a tightrope.  Backwards.

Inherit the Wind should be required viewing.


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