Hate, Lies, and Chain Emails

Posted: February 17, 2015 in New Post

Today I received one of the most offensive emails one can ever receive. It was addressed to “Christians” and urged everyone to pass the email along to other followers of Jesus. In the email, a “Christian” minister, Rick Mathes,  tells the story of a confrontation with a man who he claimed was an “Imam”. It allegedly took place at a training seminar for religious diversity at a correctional facility. Mathes claims that during the confrontation he got the Imam to admit that the goal of Islam is to kill everyone who does not believe in that faith. You can read the entire text here.

This email was offensive on so many levels, but two screamed at me louder than the rest. First, why do people who know me very well send me trash that is designed to offend reasonable people, and spread hate among the ignorant. Second, why is spreading lies and hate such a priority in their lives?

It is no coincidence that this ten year old piece of trash has been resurrected. The recent right wing hair burning over President Obama’s recent remarks at the prayer breakfast has reached bonfire proportions. I find it ironic that the right wing, so outraged that the president would remind us of the past atrocities committed in the name of Christianity, send emails like this that prove his point. As Snoopes.com points out, the piece is inaccurate on many counts, the highlights of which are:

  1. According to two independent sources, the confrontation never took place.
  2. The person whom Mathes claimed to be an Imam was in fact a prisoner who was a Muslim. He was asked to represent the Muslim faith since the organizers were unable to secure the services of an Imam.
  3. Mathes tries to present the religion of Islam as a monolithic entity with one central authority. Anyone who has read the headlines during the last ten years know that nothing can be farther from the truth.

What this proves is that the right’s vision of America is one where we must have a constant enemy (Communism, Islam, immigrants, etc…) and prove our self-conceived exceptionalism through a common expression of hatred and bigotry. And better yet if we can turn this hatred and bigotry into an everlasting military action everywhere and anywhere our hysteria takes us.

This is not only a perversion of what our country is supposed to stand for, but of the very religion in which they claim to seek shelter. After all, their devotion to all things Biblical should remind them of the 9th Commandment “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor”. It seems Mathes had that one erased from his tablets.

For our country to be exceptional, and for any religion to claim to be righteous they must first live by the ideals they espouse. I fear, however, that instead of “the land of the free and the home of the brave” the right would like to transform us into the “land of the sheep and the home of the afraid”.

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