…Or, “My god can beat up your god.”

Bush is falling apart in front of the White House press corps now, look­ing a lot more and more like a three-​​year-​​old who’s up past his bed­time and told he can’t have one last cookie before it’s lights out. Spoiled and petu­lant, the “leader” of the “free world” is no longer capa­ble of com­ing up with remarks that are not rooted deeply in anger — or, more likely, frustration.

Have you ever had the expe­ri­ence of say­ing the same thing more than once to some­one who doesn’t seem to get it? People like that are truly annoy­ing, aren’t they? How can they be so stu­pid as to not under­stand what’s so obvi­ously true…

Well, prob­a­bly at least half the time, the fault isn’t with the other per­son; it’s with you. You’re the one inca­pable of mak­ing a cogent case for your­self, you’re the one inca­pable of bridg­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion gap, you’re the one who might be inflex­i­ble and set in your ways.

I don’t think that’s the case with Bush.

I’m pretty sure he’s an idiot. And I’m absolutely cer­tain he’s wrong.

But then you get other dis­putes that just seem to get stu­pid so fast there’s no way to keep them down. Islam is a noto­ri­ously thin-​​skinned lit­tle group given their cer­tainty that some god or other is on their side; you’d think they didn’t have an all-​​powerful cham­pion back­ing them for all the fuss they make when a car­toon­ist draws a sketch or some ex-​​Nazi in a dorky hat opens his mouth.

The back­story is that Ratzi the Nazi dri­v­eled some ancient crit­i­cism of Islam, quot­ing a musty source (not that this should be sur­pris­ing, given the Catholic church is pretty much built up entirely on musty text sources) and inflam­ing a wound that’s been around for more than half a dozen cen­turies. Ratzi seems to be gen­uinely baf­fled that his com­ments would have pissed any­one off. Did no one stop to remind him of the his­tory between Muslims and Catholics? It’s not exactly a mutual stroke-​​fest.

Well, now we’ve got Iran’s reli­gious lead­er­ship claim­ing Ratzi’s com­ments are ‘the “lat­est link” in “the chain of a con­spir­acy to set in train a cru­sade“‘. Khomeini seems to believe that car­toons depict­ing Mohammed and inane dri­vel being spouted by some dod­der­ing old fool some­how are part of a larger plot to dis­credit Islam, per­haps, or pos­si­bly even to turn it into a whip­ping boy for the 21st Century.

Hey, Ayatollah: We really don’t need to do any­thing to your PR; the extrem­ists who call them­selves Muslim are doing that quite well on their own.

CAIRO, Egypt — Al-​​Qaida mil­i­tants in Iraq vowed war on “wor­ship­pers of the cross” and pro­test­ers burned a papal effigy on Monday over Pope Benedict’s com­ments on Islam, while Western church­men and states­men tried to calm passions.

Yet, inter­est­ingly, it’s not the Qaeda that get slammed by Islamic lead­ers; it’s the West. Unfortunately while the Koran con­tains pas­sages that clearly state judg­ment of the unbe­liev­ers is to be left to god, such as

And those who dis­be­lieve shall be dri­ven to hell in com­pa­nies; until, when they come to it, its doors shall be opened, and the keep­ers of it shall say to them: Did not there come to you apos­tles from among you recit­ing to you the com­mu­ni­ca­tions of your Lord and warn­ing you of the meet­ing of this day of yours? They shall say: Yea! But the sen­tence of pun­ish­ment was due against the unbelievers.

(Koran 39:71, from “The Companions”, which I think might also have been a Star Trek episode)

there still seem to be calls among Islamic extrem­ists for revenge, here and now, in this life. Fundamentalism like this isn’t new, of course; we’ve had it here in Christian America for decades. (And, in fact, in the UK too — any­one remem­ber the lit­tle tiff that was going on in Ireland for a while?)

For his part Ratzi is just as clue­less as ever, apol­o­giz­ing for the prob­lems his com­ments caused, but not for the com­ments themselves.

Speaking to pil­grims at Castelgandolfo, his sum­mer estate, he said he is “deeply sorry for the reac­tions in some coun­tries to a few pas­sages of my address … which were con­sid­ered offen­sive to the sen­si­bil­ity of Muslims. These in fact were a quo­ta­tion from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my per­sonal thought.”

Well, then, why the hell did you repeat them, you old idiot?

But before we snig­ger too much at the broad­side swap­page and other gen­eral fool­ish­ness here, let’s remem­ber that this is pretty much the his­tory of all reli­gion in a nut­shell. Spew mind­less hate and dogma, foment as much loathing, fear and ter­ror as pos­si­ble, get the sheep good and angry, and then start beat­ing down your oppo­nents. Whether they’re Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Protestants, gays, les­bians, athe­ists, anar­chists, lib­er­als, Communists, Socialists, roy­al­ists, Democrats, some Republicans, biol­o­gists, pale­on­tol­o­gists, geol­o­gists, astronomers — actu­ally, any­one who has an evidence-​​based per­spec­tive on life — Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, employ­ees of women’s health cen­ters, abor­tion clin­ics, or any­one else who can pos­si­bly be labeled, vil­i­fied or iden­ti­fied as being even remotely dif­fer­ent and there­fore dan­ger­ous, reli­gion (and here I’m obvi­ously tar­get­ing Christianity by its buga­boos, but every reli­gion is guilty of this in one way or another, includ­ing Buddhism) is the pri­mary source of grief, strife and loathing for those who dare to not con­form to the stric­tures of the dom­i­nant res­i­dent cult.

Sinéad O’Connor was right. The Pope is full of shit.

But then again, so is Khomeini. Let’s not for­get that. The real enemy, the real breeder of intol­er­ance, is religion.

All reli­gion.

Abolish the source and end the strife.


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