Monthly Archives: August 2010

Mosques and the First Amendment

So apparently Nancy Pelosi believes that Congress should look into who is behind the opposition to the mosque (or community center or whatever it is) that is proposed to be built 2 blocks from Ground Zero. Now, if Congress looks into something it must be for the purpose of eventually passing laws dealing with what they’re looking into…because that’s really the only power Congress has–to pass laws. So what should Congress be looking into so it can pass laws on. Pelosi apparently thinks that Congress needs to investigate when people assemble for a common cause and try to petition the government over their concerns; she believes Congress needs to investigate and possibly do something when people try to express themselves through speech and the press. After all, it’s not like this thing (assembly, petition, speech and press) are guaranteed anywhere (at least not in any document she has ever read). She then followed it up by saying Congress should look into who is funding the mosque…because the practice of religion isn’t guaranteed in any document Nancy is familiar with either.

Before I get too far into this, let me state my opinion on the Ground Zero Mosque (which by the way is the only honest and rational opinion). As a capitalist, I say that if they own the land they have an absolute right to build whatever they want on that property. It is an unalienable right to do whatever you want with your own private property. And guess what else is a right…my right to say that it may be your right to build a mosque there, but you’re a complete bunch of assholes to even suggest it. That’s right you have the right to be a moron and an asshole in this country (our president seems to exercise that right on a daily basis) but just because you have the right to do it, doesn’t mean you should. And if you exercise your right to be an ass regardless of tack and decency then I have a right, and likely a moral obligation, to call you on it. And like it or not, it wasn’t radical Judaism, Hinduism or Zorasterism that has a rally cry of “Death to America”… that would be radical Islam (…and maybe China’s economic policy, but that’s really not relevant right now).

It’s their right. But they’re assholes. (I’d love to vary my choice of insults, but really, what other word applies?)

But then a lot of people like to add hypocrisy to the mix. Like saying the mosque is there to further understanding between cultures. 1. If you think culture here is primarily determined by religion, well then you really missed the point of America. 2. You can’t claim to want to foster understanding when everything you do has no understanding for everyone else. 3. You can’t claim to foster understanding and demand tolerance for your beliefs when you have an Iman who claim America is at fault for 9/11 and who represents a religion that still to this day puts women as inferior to men. Your call for tolerance to your limited and fundamentalist interpretation shows you to be quite hypocritical and…well…an asshole.

But the bigger hypocritical asshole here is certainly Pelosi. Even if you didn’t agree with opposition to the mosque, you can see and understand why a reasonable person could see this as just an utterly tactless thing to do. This is one of those things it is really easy to understand where your opposition is coming from. It doesn’t come from bigotry or irrational hatred, it comes from the fact that 3,000 people died at this spot, killed by 19 people who did it in the name of Islam (whether that’s a correct or incorrect interpretation of Islam is irrelevant). When Republicans do stupid shit, I feel shame for being the same party. When pagans do stupid shit, I feel shame for being roughly in the same religion. When teachers act like morons I feel shame for being in the same profession. When people in whatever group you’re in do something completely asshole-ish I expect that you feel some level of shame to be associated with them. And it’s not too much to ask that the people behind this mosque feel some decent human shame for being in the same religion as 19 people who committed genocide in the name of their religion. That’s not bigotry, that is asking for a basic human reaction. And when they don’t show such shame, it causes righteous (emphasis on the righteous) indignation on our point. So for Pelosi to suggest that there is something sinister and wrong behind this opposition either means she is an idiot without compare (which given some of the things Pelosi says, Sarah Palin may very well be a Rhodes Scholar in comparison) or Pelosi is just trying to intentionally depict normal rational human beings as bigots. Asshole doesn’t even begin to describe trying to define a normal, understandable, and moral human reaction as evil…”evil” might begin to describe it, but, again, that may be giving the void between Pelosi’s ears too much credit.

And don’t even get me started on our gutless wonder of in the White House who tried in 48 hours to appear as if he was on both sides of this issue.

But what’s most frightening is that the Speaker of the House seems to think she has some kind of power to investigate, and possibly legislate, how people express their displeasure. What if a boycott of whatever construction company does build the mosque is organized (which by the way should be done)? Will Nancy pass legislation banning the publication or organization of such a boycott (which would be in violation of the 1st Amendment)? Will she fine people for assembly to express their displeasure? After all, she’s already fining you if you refuse to buy health insurance in clear violation of the Constitution. If she feels comfortable doing one, why wouldn’t she feel comfortable doing the other.

Let me end with a question here. How is opposition to the mosque any different from the opposition to those psycho Christians who picket soldier’s funerals because they think the deaths are God’s punishment for the fact that we have homosexuality in this country. They’re not that different. They’re both groups that like to show this lack of consideration for other people’s suffering at gravesites. Liberal and Conservatives alike are more than willing to critique the nutty Christian Church (not primarily because of their shit-for-brains beliefs) but because they’re just assholes for the way they want to express their beliefs. Why do liberals have such a problem critiquing Muslims for essentially doing the exact same thing?

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New Age Movies: The Air I Breathe

“Sometimes risking everything is the only choice you have.”
So I’ve tried to get back to writing those New Age movie reviews but the last month has been a bit taken up with real life…and I tried to get movie reviews finished in that time….4 different ones, in fact…each one matched to my emotion of the week…seemingly going from pleasure to love to happiness to sorrow…and I was about to get down to finishing at least one of those 4 when looked over the pattern they provided and realized a very different movie was calling to me. “The Air I Breathe” A 2007 film that was fairly ignored and even less understood. I have found the film is a great barometer for whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. I find the ending hopeful and inspiring…a lot of people I know find it utterly depressing…I find something like that a wonderful reflection of how hopeful your inner soul is.

So before I ruin the movie, go rent it. Do not read the rest of this…go rent the movie.

No really.

I’m serious here.

Go rent it.

Okay, you’ve been warned.

So if you listened you’ll find that I’m only going over some of the most cursory observations as this movie has volumes of meaning. If you didn’t listen and just kept reading you’ll find some of these observations a little trite, but trust me they’re not.

“Sometime being totally fucked can be a very liberating experience. Today I see things in a new light.”

The movie follows four otherwise nameless characters: Happiness, Pleasure, Love and Trista (which if you translate that into English means sorrow). This comes from some old Chinese proverb that states that life is made up only of moments of happiness, pleasure, love and sorrow.

And while none of these characters live up to their names in the way you would think, through the course of the movie they each teach you, in a very New Age way of thinking, what the true nature of their names.

Happiness is a moment of living totally in the moment, not the future or the past, but the complete and total present.

Pleasure is found in those unexpected moments. Pleasure is knowing that you and you alone control your fate and that nothing is predetermined.

Sorrow is only temporary. And the sorrow that comes into your life is often what will in the end lead you to where you should be.

Love is often unrequited. Not always, but often. But requited or not, it should be given freely and completely without any attempt to possess or coherence.

“A new day dawns and I have no idea what to expect. I can change someone’s life if I want to. Make it worse. Make it better. It’s up to me.”

As I said before you can find volumes in this movie if you look for it….at least if you’re an optimist. If you’re a pessimist you’re going to miss that this miss quite explicitly states that there is a higher order to the universe and what appears to be a moment of sorrow is really only the beginning of something else. If you can see the brighter side of things it is an especially hopeful movie that reminds you, when you’re down, that happiness is always at the end of journey if you try to find it (which is why I don’t understand how people can find this movie depressing as every character ends finding happiness).

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Filed under New Age, New Age Movies, The Air I Breath