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Slouchng Toward Zion III

Added: Tuesday, May 20th 2008 at 8:11pm by robertflynn
Related Tags: religion


Before Thurston and Elaine left Israel to begin a romantic desert tour, a man told Thurston that he liked Jesus but he didn’t like Jesus’ friends. They were mean. And not just to their own kind. "Wherever two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name," the man said, "you may have a lynch mob."

Brother Jerry said that Muslims were sore because the Crusaders had tried to rescue the Holy Land from the invading infidels. Regrettably, the Christians had lost.

"God’s side lost?" Thurston asked. Thurston was a student of American theology.

Brother Jerry explained that the Crusaders had tried to be Christian and you couldn’t ask WWJD and win a war. Kill them all. That’s what the Old Testament said. Well, kill all those who mistook a wall for a urinal.

"God wanted the Crusaders to kill male children?" Thurston asked.

Brother Jerry explained that the Crusaders didn’t kill women and children; they made them slaves, like the ancient Israelis did. Just like in the South, slaves did some cooking, a little light cleaning. Slave owners were more interested in the souls of slaves than in their bodies. Whites were all white and blacks were all black, and that’s the way they wanted it until the Yankees invaded the South bringing evil thoughts with them.

"God lost the Civil War because Robert E. Lee asked, ‘What would Jesus do?’" Thurston asked.

Brother Jerry sighed. Just as God used the Babylonians to punish Israel for idolatry, God had used the godless Yankees to punish the South for making cotton king instead of Jesus. Brother Jerry said that before the War Between the States there was no rape or miscegenation in the south. And there was no abortion, incest or pornography until the government gave women the vote and forced white girls to sit with black boys on the bus. What did they expect white males to do to get some respect? Real men went to church and put women in their place. Maybe the Congress couldn’t do it, the Pentagon, but churches could.

Thurston was thankful Elaine wasn’t there. Brother Jerry didn’t like discussion and Elaine tended to discuss.

Thurston was also glad that Elaine wasn’t there because Brother Jerry needed support from believers like Thurston to call America to repentence before it became just another country in God’s eyes. Thurston gave Brother Jerry the money that Elaine had saved to buy a rug. There would be a price to pay but he would tell Elaine that he did it for his country.

Reinforced by the lesson in history, Thurston and Elaine visited picturesque Arab countries. There were towers, turrets, minarets, latticed windows, and calls for prayers seemed to come from all of them. Women were covered from head to foot with only their eyes showing. Thurston liked Muslim women because they did deference so well, something Christian women had never been able to master. He thought covering their faces was probably a good thing but that the rest of them was covered overly much. In Chillicothe, Thurston fell in love with every woman he saw in a bra ad.

Jordan was like Israel without the guns, violence and divisions. In Egypt beggars or hawkers--it was hard to tell them apart--followed Thurston everywhere. Escaping them was like trying to remove a dog’s nose from your crotch, hard to look dispassionate while doing it.

When Thurston suggested that they could avoid the beggars and hawkers by staying in the hotel and watching soccer on television, Elaine said all men thought about was sports and sex. Thurston believed all women thought about was cooking and sex. And how to get out of both.

He kept the thought to himself and followed Elaine to the bazaar where he steadfastly despised every rug that Elaine liked. Elaine, who every day prayed that God would make her less compulsive, meticulously rearranged the rugs according to color.

In Morocco, their guide, Abdul, tried to explain Islam. "We believe Jesus, like Mohammed, was a prophet. We do not believe Jesus is eunuch."

"What do you mean, eunuch?" Thurston asked, ready to begin a crusade of his own.

"He’s trying to say unique," Elaine said.

Abdul explained that Islam required charity, prayers five times a day, a pilgrimage to Mecca, and a declaration of faith in a personal God.

"Christians believe Jesus is good for salvation, not so good for business and war," Abdul said. "Christians believe God loves only Christians and that he loves white Christians more than Christians of color. Christians don't believe God is love. Christians believe God is prejudice."

Abdul said America’s gospel was not the story of Jesus who renounced power and died for love. America’s gospel was the story of the Third Little Pig. Rather than building a nice home to live in, the Third Little Pig built a fortress to protect itself from the big bad wolf.

In Marrakech Thurston was fascinated by the snake charmers and wanted to take a picture of Elaine holding a cobra; it would make a great shot. Elaine reluctantly agreed. "If the cobra bites me, you have to promise that you will take care of Mother as long as she lives."

"Throw me the snake," Thurston said.

Thurston tried to buy wine. It was something he had never done, but there were few Baptists in the heart of Islam. In order to buy wine he had to sign a written statement that he was a Christian. Thurston would stand up in church and testify but he didn’t know about signing a government document. If they could make you register as a Christian what would prevent them from making you register as a gun owner?

Thurston declined to buy wine and felt a better person for it. He was pleased that it was hard to buy alcohol in Islamic countries. Like Baptists, Muslims didn’t use alcohol, not even in religious services, and they tried to deny it to others. Despite what Brother Jerry said, Muslims seemed closer to the Baptist way of thinking than Jews. Or Catholics. Catholics not only drank alcohol when folks were looking, they made wine for weddings, funerals, baptizings, fairs, feasts, festivities, ceremonies, celebrations, carnivals, contests, rites, revels and sprees.

Thurston noticed other similarities between Baptists and Muslims. Both believed that without guns they would be as powerless as doves. Or Quakers. He hadn’t observed Muslims dancing. Sex was for men, procreation for women. Their enemies belonged to Satan. Both Muslims and Baptists believed that using the name of God justified any means of seizing religious or political power. Muslims celebrated the holy month of Ramadan by avoiding sensual pleasures until after dark. Baptists celebrated Ramadan year ‘round.

Muslims took the Ten Commandments seriously. There were no images of any kind. They killed only those who disagreed with them or committed a crime. They chopped the hands off thieves. A woman who committed adultery was stoned. In the biblical sense. The Bible said Jesus forgave one adulteress. That was okay for Jesus but no one else had better try it.

Holy writ was taught in schools and written on the walls of public buildings. Praying five times a day was excessive but Thurston believed in prayer, especially at football games and in the public schools. Thurston believed the government should require children to pray. Especially if they didn’t believe in God. At least until the age of accountability, which was when they had to register for the draft. If they were required to pray five times a day they would have a lot less time for sex and violence.

Both Muslims and Baptists believed that only they should run the government. But a real Muslim or real Baptist, not Martin Luther King or Jesse Jackson. A black Baptist was an oxymoron, like an Israeli Muslim. Why would you want to go to church with folks who didn’t want you in their neighborhood?

Like Baptists, Muslims believed separation of church and state permitted the twin evils of secularism and diversity. The government didn’t allow disagreement about the multiplication tables; why did they allow disagreement about Columbus? the War Between the States? six days of creation?

In Morocco there was no fighting among religious groups. The Muslim bureaucracy wrote a sermon to be read in every mosque. Everyone heard the same sermon so there was no religious dissension with this preacher saying this and that preacher saying that. There were no heretics, no liberals who denied the divinity of the Holy Word, no Satanic interpretations. No arguments between church and state.

When Thurston mentioned his new found fellowship with Muslims, Elaine said she admired them for requiring charity of believers. Thurston, like other Baptists, disagreed. You couldn’t compel Christian charity. That would violate freedom of conscience. Charity had to come from the heart. And be subsidized by the government.

Thurston was touched by the Muslims’ devotion to Allah, but Allah was a God of war. Because Muslims wouldn't separate their God from their wars, if Christians couldn't convert them they'd have to kill them.

See Bob's Website:  http://www.Robert-Flynn.net

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