Friday, April 17, 2015

The Uncivil War to End All Wars

There is a war taking place in the Middle East that pits Muslims against Christians, Jews and those Muslims who belong to a different cult.

Here in America, there is a war taking place that pits liberals and homosexuals -- to the extent there exists a smidgen of difference between them -- against Christians.

One merely has to look at every situation in which Christians attempt to defend their religious rights. Whether it’s companies that don’t wish to provide birth control in the form of contraceptives or provide funding for abortions; or devout individuals, who are even willing to accept homosexuality as an optional life style, but draw the line at playing any role in a same-sex wedding, the gays and their journalistic, corporate and political, henchmen will unite to put them out of business.

If you don’t feel that Christians are singled out for attack, why is it that Muslim florists, photographers and bakers, are never pressured to act in opposition to their religious beliefs? There is ample evidence that one would be hard-pressed to find a Muslim who would agree to provide any of the same-sex wedding wares or services that Christians are condemned for not providing.

Wouldn’t it make for a nice change if just once the gays gave the business to Muslims? Or are they simply terrified that they, who so love to label those who are put off by anal sex “homophobic,” would suddenly find themselves hoisted upon their own petard, tarred as “Islamophobic”?

The question that comes to mind is what makes homosexuals, lesbians and the transgender crowd, so heroic in the eyes of liberals, while devout Christians, who are far likelier to be numbered among their friends and neighbors, are so casually dismissed, written off as bigots and haters?

Furthermore, when it comes to haters, it is hard to get any nastier than the creeps who lit up social media threatening to kill or mutilate the Connors, the family that owns Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, simply because the daughter, when questioned by a reporter, said they would happily sell pizzas to anyone, but they would draw the line at catering a same-sex wedding. Apparently nobody thought to ask the reporter when he or she had last heard of a pizzeria catering a wedding.

The good news is that of this writing, the Connors have received over $800,000 in donations from Americans who appreciate their standing by their convictions. The bad news is that I, who also stand by my convictions, can only look on in envy, salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs.

Speaking of money, hardly a day passes that my wife and I don’t receive fund-raising appeals from Ben Carson, and he hasn’t even said he’s running yet. Frankly, I hope he doesn’t. As columnist S.E. Cupp recently spelled out, there is nothing to recommend him as a president. I mean, unless you think that what the office requires is someone with absolutely no political experience, what are his selling points? That he had the opportunity to tell Obama what’s wrong with the Affordable Care Act merely means that he got to attend a prayer breakfast where millions of us who would have said the same thing weren’t invited? That really isn’t much to go on, especially when the Supreme Court will have the opportunity this June to make it a non-issue in 2016.

As Cupp wrote, “Carson thinks the Second Amendment should be applied, well, selectively.”

Furthermore, he has suggested that the Israeli political system should be changed to the one we have. Well, the best argument against that simpleminded notion is that their system has given them Benjamin Netanyahu and ours saddled us with eight years of Barack Obama.

Cupp pointed out Carson told Chris Christie that homosexuality must be a choice “because a lot of people go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay.” Now if he had pointed out that a great many felons are non-violent when they enter prison, but come out as committed jihadists because we foolishly allow Islamic imams to act as prison chaplains, he’d be on far steadier ground.

Carson also decided that Obama must be a psychopath, not because of the things he says and the things he does, but because he is so well-dressed. I know Carson was supposed to be a hell of a doctor, but did he make a habit of diagnosing a brain tumor by looking at a patient’s shoes?

What Ms. Cupp neglected to mention was that one night on Fox, when Dr. Carson was supposed to debate some issue or other with Jesse Jackson, he spent the first few minutes praising Jackson as a great civil rights leader. No mention of Jackson’s being a world-class adulterer and extortionist.

A reader, taking notice of the fact that, even when praising the religiously oriented, I tend to mention I am secular, wondered if I was agnostic or atheistic. I replied that I tend to be repulsed by those whose sole mission in life is to deny God’s existence, and who then take the next step and deride those who are believers.

For my part, I would like to believe that God exists and, if so, how He sees His role. As I understand it, in the old days, He seemed to take an active part in human affairs. At times, He flooded the earth, He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, He turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, He parted the sea, He passed along the 10 Commandments, etc., etc. But He seemed to lose interest along the way, and who can blame Him? So I am left to question if He truly exists and, if so, whether His patience has simply run out and He has decided give up on us in pursuit of other interests, the way a child will eventually lose interest even in the toy he believed he couldn’t live without.

One major fact that emerged from the events in Ferguson, MO, was that all of the black witnesses who initially claimed that Michael Brown had his arms raised in surrender when Officer Darren Wilson shot him later recanted their testimony. When asked why they had lied in the first place, they said they felt intimidated if they didn’t promote the false narrative. Frankly, I don’t blame them.

When you see the amount of violence blacks commit at every resort area they visit on Spring Break – and that’s when they’re having fun! – you can easily imagine how frightened their neighbors must be of young, well-armed, black thugs, who are no more reluctant to kill other blacks than Shiites are to kill Sunnis.

Recently, I have made fun of people who spend their lives critiquing such things as music and art. After all, we are all prone to say something along the lines of, “I may not know what art is, but I know what I like.” And when you do that, the professional critic will dismiss you as an ignoramus, if not a barbarian.

But as far back as 1958, I found myself wondering how it was decided at the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition that a 23-year-old from Texas named Harvey Lavan Cliburn was the greatest pianist in the world. But the judgment call was made and, calling himself Van Cliburn, he went on to enjoy a great career playing to packed concert halls and for every president until he passed away in 2013.

But what about the guy who came in second? Was he really inferior to Cliburn? It was a question I found myself wondering about for several years. Then one day, I had occasion to interview classical violinist Itzhak Perlman. Perlman, who was born in Tel Aviv, in 1945, developed polio at the age of four. He recovered, but walks with crutches, and went on to perform while sitting down.

I asked him, a world-renowned soloist, if he can tell fellow soloists apart if he’s not looking at them, but merely by their technique. He said he often could, but one day while riding in a car he heard a violinist on the radio. He recognized that the fellow was quite good, but he had no idea who it was until the piece ended and the violinist was identified as…Itzhak Perlman.

I felt myself vindicated. But, then, as you may have noticed, I usually do.

©2015 Burt Prelutsky. Comments?