Blasphemy Day

CNN posted an article today about the first organized observance of “Blasphemy Day”. What a joke.

Ronald Lindsay, an atheist who is behind the wheel of this new adventure, is apparently an ex-Catholic who at one point was planning on entering the priesthood.

I’m not offended by this. I actually understand this guy’s motive. I agree that people should be able to say whatever they want to say about any religious group. I’m a pastor at a Christian church, and I see firsthand a multitude of things that SHOULD be made fun of (enter Benny Hinn video clip here). Religious people do and say all sorts of moronic things. But comedy is a tough gig, and I don’t think Ron has what it takes.

Being offensive doesn’t make something funny. Something offensive CAN be funny, Dane Cook proves that sometimes, but painting stupid pictures and giggling with your atheist buddies doesn’t make you funny. It makes you a jerk. It makes you a burnt out ex-Catholic who gets mad at fire-breathing religious people. I don’t like those religious nuts very much either (and Jesus wasn’t a big fan of over-the-toppers either).

I’m pretty sure that an infinite God has infinite patience for this sort of thing. I’m pretty sure that a God who has witnessed orgies and self-castration festivals can handle a few pot shots from some atheists. I’m pretty sure that a God of any worth must be a little bit frustrated that we don’t spend more time caring about things that matter… like the fact that 30, 40, maybe 50,000 people died on “Blasphemy Day” from preventable diseases.

So go ahead and make your jokes. I get it. You’re fighting for the right to speak irreverently about religion.

Such a noble cause…

protesting Sheriff Joe

Thousands of people are marching against Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio tomorrow, including Zack de la Rocha of “Rage Against the Machine” fame. They are protesting Arpaio’s treatment of undocumented inmates, claiming that he has “subjugated and terrorized” them while they are under his custody.

I’m definitely not proud of this, but I spent some time in the tents back in the day. It was pretty nasty, which I think was the point.

tent-city

I was there a handful of times for stints of a few days to a few weeks. During all of those visits, I never witnessed anything like what the protesters are claiming. I’m not saying that the claims are false, I’m just curious to hear what they’re going to claim.

The processing and placement of inmates seemed pretty standardized in my experience. We all went through the same hell-hole called “The Horseshoe”, where everyone in Phoenix gets processed. We all got tents, crappy blankets and nasty chunks of some sort of wonderbread. There was plenty of racism, but that was on display between the inmates, not the sheriff and his crew. I’m not defending him… I’m just curious what has changed since then.

The New Times quotes de la Rocha saying,

“To witness what is happening in Arizona and remain neutral,” De la Rocha is quoted saying in the┬ámedia statement reprinted below, “is to be implicated in human rights violations that are occurring right here on US soil against migrants. History will not be kind to Joe Arpaio.”

Some pretty bold words… I’ll be tuned in tomorrow.

broken

I have loved this Christmas vacation of mine, but I’ve also been haunted by a couple of tragic stories in the newspaper; stories of brokenness and pain that I can’t imagine witnessing. Stories of men dressed up as Santa murdering people… and kids playing in the park becoming victims of brutal attacks… sad, sad, sad stuff.

The more broken we are, the more grace we need… and I’ve experienced a truckload of grace.

Those men that did those wicked things were very, very, very broken… I just believe that they weren’t broken beyond repair. I’ve learned that God is not only good, but that He can actually renew, rebuild, and restore that which is broken.

greek riots

Riots erupted over the weekend in Greece after police shot a teenage boy to death after an altercation. You can read all about the incident and see some remarkable photos all over the web, especially here. Apparently the initial mob formed soon after the shooting as text-messaging, email, and instant messaging were used to spread the word quickly.

Why burn and loot shops to express your frustration with injustice? Isn’t burning someone’s shop or car an act of injustice? I get fighting the police (sort of), but I don’t get destroying your own city and robbing your neighbors.

riots