Sunday, July 22, 2012

Always Perplexing

A long time ago I shared a story about holding up and Egyptian flag during our village's scheduled day of protest (every Sunday).  Today was an interesting development, the type of which, always confuses me.

In the center of our village, where two main roads intersect, every Sunday at 12 PM there is a scheduled protest. The largest and loudest crowd is on the NW corner. It is the "Pro-America, Pro-military, Pro-God (Christian God)--and oddly--Pro-war" group. On the SW and NE corners are peace protesters. Part of the peace protesters on the SW side are "Veterans for Peace" which is juxtaposed to the pro-military and pro-war group just across the street.

The day I went out, I took the neutral SE corner, where different views are represented. In my heart I felt like I should be on the NW corner with the pro-Americans because nothing could be more pro-American than a group of oppressed people wanting the same freedoms as the Americans.  But I  knew better.

The timing was at the beginning of Arab Spring in Egypt, when Mubarak was still in power and the people were amassed in Tahreer Square.  I stood with (in spirit as there was only one Egyptian with me) my Egyptian brothers and sisters, wanting a peaceable transition to freedom.

While I was standing on my corner, waving my Egyptian flag, on the opposite (NW) corner they were playing patriotic songs such as "I'm proud to be an American." They also played some patriotic Christian hymns.  Once, the leader of that group (and I sort of know him) took the speaker and broadcast for the whole town to hear, speaking directly at me 100 Yards away, "Put that flag down asshole and get an American flag."  He repeated it a couple of times as the group laughed.

So today I was driving by and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The same man was putting up an Israeli flag on his corner. WTF?

I'm sorry but I find this so mind boggling. The way that I see life is this. If God is there, and I think He is, then He created all people (and all of creation) in his image and created them with tremendous value. Whether or not someone is Arab, Israeli, Black, White, Hispanic, Gay, Straight, man, woman or child . . . or whatever doesn't changed their value and how God has intended freedom, justice and dignity for all.

When you see God's people (created people) through political, bigoted glasses (brown ones with less value than white ones) . . . everyone looses.  If the 50+ men, women and children who are being massacred in Syria almost every day, were Israeli or American children, there would out-rage.  But instead, there is silence, apathy and I sense this rare, and stupid, view that somehow these innocent children of Syria, somehow, deserve it. Warped thinking.

True Christianity must shed its political entanglements and cultural mores to be what it was meant to be.

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