Until through our consumptive excess we no longer fit into Earth’s plans, religion will reign as the most destructive force on the planet.
So much suffering: so many moral precepts stamped by – and corrupted by — mortals.
Consider the war raging in which many more will die today – civilians of all ages, soldiers with much living to do.
I know which raging conflict is on your mind today. First, however, consider Vladimir Putin’s holy war.
“Holy” is not clever coinage. It’s for real. The butcher of Moscow, who’ll imprison any enemy he can’t give a balcony drop, frames Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in religious terms.
Yes, Christian terms.
For the Russian Orthodox faith, he has called Crimea the Holy Land. We can’t be sure what his scriptures assign to the rest of Ukraine and the 43 million inhabitants he would kill or enslave and indoctrinate, but you can bet his rationale fits with God’s plan.
Putin freely plumbs the Bible for the evil he does. Of those who fight him, he’ll even quote Jesus: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
If you haven’t noticed, quite a few hard-right Republicans have come to realize they and Putin are on the same woozy wavelength. Putin’s principal war cry is that Russia’s chief enemy is Western decadence, with its permissive values. His values, of course, are heaven-ordained.
When Putin uses the Russian Orthodox Church as a backdrop for laws to ban expressions of LGBTQ identity and gender transitions, he preaches to a choir on these shores and knows it. No doubt he offers this right-wing chorale sustenance for the bleaching of school curricula and the banning of books with “permissive” social views.
Now that choir wants this country to yank support from Ukraine in the face of Putin’s righteous incursion.
As acknowledged, I assumed you had another war in mind at the start of this missive. So did I. I wouldn’t be writing it otherwise.
Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel is one more example of where everything can be justified by religion and nothing can be excused by it.
That said, none could expect anything but brain-fried, death-wish acts of resistance to the conditions faced by the people of Gaza and occupied territories.
And no one could expect anything but what Israel is doing right now with all its awesome military might.
The question is what comes next. But first:
Speculate away about why Hamas chose this time to attack. I’ll suggest that the moment was right in the minds of full-time militants who were watching Israel reel from an unconscionable effort by its hard right to undermine the rule of law and the judiciary.
Hamas saw mass protests in Israel’s streets. It saw resignations from Israeli defense forces — blowback to the power grab by a political minority whose leader faces criminal prosecution. What a good time to attack.
Destabilization pays for those who don’t trust — in fact, who detest — democracy.
Now because of Hamas’ attack, hard-liners have a license to come down harder on civil rights and all else a representative government should honor, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going to have full-throated, broad-based support.
After Netanyahu dodges accountability for the security lapses that led to Israel’s own “9/11 moment,” it will be hard to moderate his extremist zeal, as with other extremists in charge.
Of course, none of this will bring peace, which presumptively is what matters of faith are about. Indeed, every religion of which I know.
But it’s always easier to build walls, cast aspersions, construct enemies based on lifestyles, rituals and languages, denounce “them” to make “us” feel holier than the “others.”
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: email@example.com.