by Gerard Donnelly Smith
(Swans - January 17, 2005) Even though Bush has apologized for using the phrase "bring it on," that term has become more firmly entrenched in the American vernacular. For example, this morning I read our campus newspaper, which quoted the cheerleading squad's motto as "Bring it on." Yes, there was that cheerleading movie from 2000 titled "Bring it On." Maybe the squad really means that; perhaps that's where George W. got the phrase. Unfortunately, now the term has acquired a new meaning.
When Bush used the term, he didn't mean bring on the dancing girls, but bring on "terrorists" with machine guns, armor-piercing missiles and car bombs. For that is now the term's connotation: a challenged to the "enemy" to "take your best shot!" Bush wasn't cheering back at Yale, but cheering to soldiers in uniform who would have to dodge the bullets he challenged the "insurgents" to fire at those same troops.
Well, thanks for the apology, George. Hope you included the same sentiments in the form letter you sent to the soldiers who were killed in Iraq. Have you considered why the Muslims in SE Asia don't trust the military presence now aiding the tsunami victims? Perhaps you agree with the Christian woman who told Howard Stern that all those victims deserved god's wrath because each was a sinner because they were involved in the child-porn industry? Did god "bring it on"? Was this particular woman an aberration or do other fundamentalist Christians share her view? On the FAQ of "god hates fags," a Web site supported by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, the following information can be found:
The tsunami was an adumbration of the wrath of God, a harbinger of things to come: that Great Day of Judgment. Amos 3:6 "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?" That word translated "evil" there is means distress, misery, injury, calamity. The answer, of course, to the rhetorical question posed in this verse is a resounding "NO!" See also Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;" And you wonder if this is the wrath of God?
Now, isn't that the most "Christ-like" homily you've ever heard? The FAQ continues, "As far as God killing children in His wrath, have you ever heard of the great flood? God destroyed billions of people in His wrath, including billions of children." These "flood victims" now include innocent Asian children who were not saved from the sex industry -- which the FAQ claims was the reason for god's wrath -- but destroyed right along with all the other "sinners."
Why are such attitudes tolerated in the Christian Church? Perhaps the world's most prominent religious politician has set the stage? "Bring it On" says George W. Rather than negotiate a peace at the end of major combat operations, he calls for more violence, more righteous wrath, because his America has "god on its side" and he believes he was chosen by god to lead his country in the fight against religious intolerance, in the name of freedom. Is anyone else confused?
Is it any wonder that the governments of SE Asia told a Christian organization who wanted to adopt Muslim children that they were afraid the Christians would convert them, thus denying the god who created them?
According to Andreas Harsono, in his "bias-free" essay "Narrow Minded Nationalism in Aceh Aid" (IPS, January 11, 2005):
They warned Indonesian Muslims that Christians were adopting Acehnese orphans, presumably to be taken out of Aceh and then converted to Christianity.
In the capital Banda Aceh, activists of the Muslim-based Prosperous and Justice Party later put up posters in public spaces with this warning: "Don't let Acehnese orphans be taken away by Christians and their missionaries." The party also printed their telephone numbers, encouraging the public to hand over orphans to Muslim child-care centers instead.
Since the tsunami, Christian organizations have fielded questions concerning adoption of children orphaned by the tsunami. While such humanitarian efforts should be applauded, one must understand the Muslim reaction. Would Christians allow their orphaned children to be adopted by Muslims? Or would they also be afraid that the Muslims would try to convert those Christian children away from the god who created them?
That's the world we live in. A world in which the leader of the most powerful country can lie, can wage an illegal war, can commit impeachable offenses, can shout "Bring it On," and get away with it. A world in which world leaders still use propaganda, use the language of hate and intolerance to manipulate the public.
Imagine that Jesus, a true insurgent, used the term "Bring it On." Would he have meant it as a challenge to kill him, as a call to bring on "god's wrath" or would he have meant "bring on the suffering" and "bring on the sacrifice?" Would he have met that challenge with violence, with the condemnation and the murder of children, with arrogance and hatred? Somewhere Mr. Bush and "some" of his Christian supporters have wandered off.
About the Author
Gerard Donnelly Smith on Swans (with bio).
Please, feel free to insert a link to this work on your Web site or to disseminate its URL on your favorite lists, quoting the first paragraph or providing a summary. However, please DO NOT steal, scavenge, or repost this work on the Web or any electronic media. Inlining, mirroring, and framing are expressly prohibited. Pulp re-publishing is welcome -- please contact the publisher. This material is copyrighted, © Gerard Donnelly Smith 2005. All rights reserved.
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