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Archive for August 1st, 2007

Quran in the crapper – A Hate Crime – Part II

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 1, 2007


 

Hate-crime arrests in Quran desecrations at Pace University

NEW YORK (AP) _ A 23-year-old man was arrested Friday on hate-crime charges after he threw a Quran in a toilet at Pace University on two separate occasions, police said.

Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and aggravated harassment, both hate crimes, police said. It was unclear if he was a student at the school. A message left at the Shmulevich home was not immediately returned.

The Islamic holy book was found in a toilet at Pace’s lower Manhattan campus by a teacher on Oct. 13. A student discovered another book in a toilet on Nov. 21, police said.

Muslim activists had called on Pace University to crack down on hate crimes after the incidents. As a result, the university said it would offer sensitivity training to its students.

The school was accused by Muslim students of not taking the incident seriously enough at first. Pace classified the first desecration of the holy book as an act of vandalism, but university officials later reversed themselves and referred the incident to the New York Police Department’s hate crimes unit.

The incidents came amid a spate of vandalism cases with religious or racial overtones at the school. In an earlier incident on Sept. 21, the school reported another copy of the Quran was found in a library toilet, and in October someone scrawled racial slurs on a student’s car at the Westchester County satellite campus and on a bathroom wall at the campus in lower Manhattan. Police did not connect Shmulevich to those incidents.

Treatment of the Quran is a sensitive issue for Muslims, who view the book as a sacred object and mistreating it as an offense against God. The religion teaches that the Quran is the direct word of God.

What upsets me more than anything is the fact that this guy’s Jewish. I heard this story, without knowing this guys name or heritage, and I immediately saw images of the Nazis burning Torah Scrolls during WWII.

Desecrating another’s religious Scriptures is not what a Yid should be doing. His behavior is chilul Hashem. Regardless of civilian law, it’s not acceptable according to Torah.

Posted in Chilul Hashem | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

“G-d – Imaginary Friend for Grown-Ups?”

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 1, 2007


I was looking through my Favorite Blogs on Technocrati, and came across dC – de-conversion where Roopster blogged on G-d being an Imaginary Friend for Grown-Ups. I was so impressed and inspired by his (her?) Blog Entry, that I just had to Blog on his (her?) Blog…you know the way Bloggers usually do. This lead me to two other Blog Entries, both on the matter of Prayer. I have to hand it to you guys on De-Conversion – you are honest, diligent and extremely spiritual – if religious people took their relationship with G-d (or lack thereof) as seriously as you do, we would have a far better world than we have.

From God: An imaginary friend for grown-ups?

Have you ever had a conversation with God? Have you ever heard his voice? There was a time when I would have absolutely answered these questions in the affirmative. After all, modern day Christianity is all about having a “personal relationship” with God. As with all good relationships, this relationship includes regular communication.

In reflecting on my past relationship with God, I have to ask- How is this any different than my daughter’s relationship with her imaginary friend? I recall listening to long conversations between her and “Digget.” Well, the most obvious difference is I am an intelligent adult who can use logic and reason- and she was three. Needless to say, now as a teenager, she no longer talks to Digget. (Roopster)

From What’s the Point with Prayer?

Why pray to an omniscient god? After all, it by definition knows whatever you’re about to say already. There is absolutely nothing you can tell an omniscient god. There is no point in communicating your desires to it, because it knows already, even before you yourself are aware of them. (Simen)

From Prayer: Communion with yourself

However, as my life moved on and as I learned more about the philosophical problems posed by such a transcendent Deity and by the differing “Gods” offered us by scriptures and by theologians, I began to doubt not only the efficacy of prayer but even the very concept of “prayer.”

My devotion time changed from simply receiving pre-chewed information from Christian sources into a rich time of personal thought, journaling, and a more careful selection of reading material, ones from a vast variety of sources, not just from Christian ones. Once I abandoned those preconceived notions about how we are supposed to pray, I began to trust myself again and realized that I had never really taken it too seriously from the beginning. In fact, I don’t claim to ever have communed with “God,” but I got to know myself pretty well! I think THAT alone is what scares Christian leaders the most. (-Mystery of Iniquity)

Ever since I joined a 12 step Program back in the 90’s, the idea of “G-d as we understood Him…” has been one of my lead themes. I still remember when I was having trouble with my image of G-d – having spent most of my adolescence in a charismatic branch of Xtianism, I was badly damaged, as you can imagine – and my image of G-d, or “A Higher Power” was dark and vengeful. Anyway I sat in a meeting and was just meditating on the Topic, when I had this cartoony like (I often see life in cartoons before my inner eye) image of a Big Burly Leatherman (Tom of Finland style) on a Harley coming at me – crashing through a thick brick-wall. On his leather cap the word “Bear” stood out in white. At closer analysis of this image, I realized that the image fit very well with my Inner Kids’ need for a Big Brother they could take with them everywhere. Someone that would definitely be able to defend them if they were in trouble.

For several years I called my Higher Power “Bear”. I still do at times, and I still see that Burly Guy on a Harley when I am really scared. Talk about Imaginary Friend for Grown-Ups…:-)

So what is the purpose of Prayer – if G-d (or Bear) already knows everything I am going to say? For starters – G-d is not Co-Dependent. He isn’t mind-reading us (that would be extremely unethical). One of the things we humans seem to have big trouble with is asking for help, admitting that there are actually things we cannot or do not know how to handle – practicing this skill on G-d (who won’t be offended) is a good way to start…

Then there is the matter of “Do we know what we need?” – sometimes prayer is actually discussing with ourselves to sort and crystallize things, so they become clearer to US, not to G-d (Bear). So that we know how to proceed in giving ourselves the best we can.

The last Blog entry quoted here illustrates this very well – Pagans call it “Grounding and Centering“, and that is essentially what Prayer is – whether it is directed at G-d (Bear) or just focused on “devotion time”, because we enjoy spending time with ourselves and our favorite books, music, journal.

“Prayer” is a tool for focusing, for centering ourselves, for unloading what troubles us or for simply being – the recipient is of less relevance.

I Pray Therefore I am

Posted in G-d, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

“G-d – Imaginary Friend for Grown-Ups?”

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 1, 2007


I was looking through my Favorite Blogs on Technocrati, and came across dC – de-conversion where Roopster blogged on G-d being an Imaginary Friend for Grown-Ups. I was so impressed and inspired by his (her?) Blog Entry, that I just had to Blog on his (her?) Blog…you know the way Bloggers usually do. This lead me to two other Blog Entries, both on the matter of Prayer. I have to hand it to you guys on De-Conversion – you are honest, diligent and extremely spiritual – if religious people took their relationship with G-d (or lack thereof) as seriously as you do, we would have a far better world than we have.

From God: An imaginary friend for grown-ups?

Have you ever had a conversation with God? Have you ever heard his voice? There was a time when I would have absolutely answered these questions in the affirmative. After all, modern day Christianity is all about having a “personal relationship” with God. As with all good relationships, this relationship includes regular communication.

In reflecting on my past relationship with God, I have to ask- How is this any different than my daughter’s relationship with her imaginary friend? I recall listening to long conversations between her and “Digget.” Well, the most obvious difference is I am an intelligent adult who can use logic and reason- and she was three. Needless to say, now as a teenager, she no longer talks to Digget.

From What’s the Point with Prayer?

Why pray to an omniscient god? After all, it by definition knows whatever you’re about to say already. There is absolutely nothing you can tell an omniscient god. There is no point in communicating your desires to it, because it knows already, even before you yourself are aware of them.

From Prayer: Communion with yourself

However, as my life moved on and as I learned more about the philosophical problems posed by such a transcendent Deity and by the differing “Gods” offered us by scriptures and by theologians, I began to doubt not only the efficacy of prayer but even the very concept of “prayer.”

My devotion time changed from simply receiving pre-chewed information from Christian sources into a rich time of personal thought, journaling, and a more careful selection of reading material, ones from a vast variety of sources, not just from Christian ones. Once I abandoned those preconceived notions about how we are supposed to pray, I began to trust myself again and realized that I had never really taken it too seriously from the beginning. In fact, I don’t claim to ever have communed with “God,” but I got to know myself pretty well! I think THAT alone is what scares Christian leaders the most.

Ever since I joined a 12 step Program back in the 90’s, the idea of “G-d as we understood Him…” has been one of my lead themes. I still remember when I was having trouble with my image of G-d – having spent most of my adolescence in a charismatic branch of Xtianism, I was badly damaged, as you can imagine – and my image of G-d, or “A Higher Power” was dark and vengeful. Anyway I sat in a meeting and was just meditating on the Topic, when I had this cartoony like (I often see life in cartoons before my inner eye) image of a Big Burly Leatherman (Tom of Finland style) on a Harley coming at me – crashing through a thick brick-wall. On his leather cap the word “Bear” stood out in white. At closer analysis of this image, I realized that the image fit very well with my Inner Kids’ need for a Big Brother they could take with them everywhere. Someone that would definitely be able to defend them if they were in trouble.

For several years I called my Higher Power “Bear”. I still do at times, and I still see that Burly Guy on a Harley when I am really scared. Talk about Imaginary Friend for Grown-Ups…:-)

So what is the purpose of Prayer – if G-d (or Bear) already knows everything I am going to say? For starters – G-d is not Co-Dependent. He isn’t mind-reading us (that would be extremely unethical). One of the things we humans seem to have big trouble with is asking for help, admitting that there are actually things we cannot or do not know how to handle – practicing this skill on G-d (who won’t be offended) is a good way to start…

Then there is the matter of “Do we know what we need?” – sometimes prayer is actually discussing with ourselves to sort and crystallize things, so they become clearer to US, not to G-d (Bear). So that we know how to proceed in giving ourselves the best we can.

The last Blog entry quoted here illustrates this very well – Pagans call it “Grounding and Centering“, and that is essentially what Prayer is – whether it is directed at G-d (Bear) or just focused on “devotion time”, because we enjoy spending time with ourselves and our favorite books, music, journal.

“Prayer” is a tool for focusing, for centering ourselves, for unloading what troubles us or for simply being – the recipient is of less relevance.

I Pray Therefore I am

Posted in concept of prayer., devotion time, G-d, Imaginary Friend, Prayer, Religion | Leave a Comment »

Quran in the crapper – A Hate Crime?

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on August 1, 2007


Quran

You know, there’s a fine line between trying to get people to be sensitive and legislating in favor of people to avoid offending them. I could understand if someone beat a Muslim with a Quran. That’s a hate crime. Desecrating it? That’s hateful, but it’s not a crime. We can burn flags, we can piss on a statue of Jesus, we sure as hell can put Qurans in the toilet. I don’t care if it was intended to “intimidate” someone. There was no threat of violence, it was just a Quran in the crapper.


We cannot turn a blind eye to the message sent by a Quran thrown in the toilet, and pretend that it’s just a prank or doesn’t have meaning. Because it does, especially if there is an over all presence of religious or ethnic prejudices and phobias being circulated in society in general.“Where they burn books, they soon start to burn people…”

Throwing a Quran in a toilet might not be a violent hate crime, but it is certainly an expression of hate, and that is how it is understood by Muslims. It cannot be understood any other way in the Anti-Muslim climate that is prevalent in the US after 9/11. Hell, hating Muslims is almost a requirement to be considered a patriot.

One of the comments on the blog entry I quoted above reads:

“A hate crime is, partially, an act of terrorism.

Just wait and follow me a minute.

Let’s take your stereotypical hate crime. Klan members take cross, burn it on black family’s lawn. What happens? It sends a message to the family in the home, and the black families around that home: “You’re not welcome, we hate you, and we can very well do very bad things to you.”

Terrorism by its nature is meant to strike terror into the hearts of others who are similar to the victims who get hit. It’s to send threatening message to mess up their way of life and intimidate them.

Putting a holy book in a toilet is not intimidating. It’s immature.”

It’s very interesting that this commentator doesn’t draw the logical consequences of what she is saying – using one message to say:”We hate you…” is a hate crime, but not another, hm – how is telling someone “We hate you…” not intimidating, especially if the holiest item to them is used to say “We hate you”? If someone decided to burn Torah scrolls or throw tzitziyot in the toilet, I sure would read that as message that I as a Jew is hated for simply being a Jew.

Unless this is seen as a hate crime and dealt with as such, what will it be next – throwing Muslims in the toilet?

These two people need a couple of lessons in empathy and imaginative thinking. They also need to have their Liberal Cards revoked, because they are a shame to Liberals all over.

Posted in Islamophobia | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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