Religion What are they thinking? World at Large

Will Muslims now bow to Paris Hilton?

Grand Mosque
Grand Mosque (Photo credit: Jeff Attaway)

I don’t think so.

This will show you the kind of thing I do not pay attention to…  Paris Hilton.  On the other hand I like a little humor so, I was thrilled to see an article, online, that Paris Hilton, who knew she had stores, was opening a new store in Mecca.  It seems she recently announced the opening on Twitter, according to CNN.

Her announcement quickly prompted others to voice their displeasure and accused her of ‘insulting Mecca’. “It is unnecessary to have her shop here because we do not need it. If it was in our hands we would have closed all of her shops in Saudi,” said Sheikh Adnan Baharith, a conservative cleric, who preaches in Mecca.

He is redundant but, I get his point..  Nobody NEEDS Paris Hilton or her stores.  They don’t have to shop there.  It seems that she has opened a store next to the Grand Mosque and maybe they are afraid that the first “suicide bomber”/”religious warrior” to hit the store will damage the Mosque?  Maybe they are afraid that people going to the Mosque will be compelled by Satan to go inside and purchase the decadent products, probably made by Satan himself, and thus be corrupted.

Of course this leads me into the question of “free will”.  I don’t know about Allah but, Jehovah gave man free will.  All through history government bodies, whether it is tribal or a country, have passed laws that they saw as needed for the good of their group.  The first type of these were most likely put forth by the tribal shaman/holy man who gave them the force of religion in order to make it clear that there will be punishment.  The most widely known laws of this type are the 10 Commandments, which Jehovah gave to Moses.

Why bring up “free will’ in this context?  Free will means that each person has the ability to decide for himself about what laws he will go by, or ignore.  If there is no free will then each person would be set upon a course, life, that they do not control and therefore his decisions are made for him and what he does, either good or bad, does not really count.  How can a person be judged either good or bad if he does not have control of his own actions?

So, with free will each person is accountable for their own actions and, if they decide to purchase product from Paris Hilton, it is on them.  If there are enough devout Muslims then Paris Hilton’s store will fail.  If the store makes a profitt then maybe they, the clerics of Islam, should do a better job of teaching piety to their flock, rather than trying to stamp out their choice, which would mean nothing.  For good to matter there must be evil, and maybe the opening of a Paris Hilton store, next to the Grand Mosque, might be a good thing.  It would all depend on how fast it goes out of bussiness.

While I don’t particularly care about Paris Hilton, or her stores, it might be that a store with out customers would say more about Islam than a bombed out store.  One would speak of piety and tolerance, and the other would place them on the level of the Taliban, and others, who stone rape victims and hang 7 year old children for being CIA spies..  or who destroy ancient sculptures.


That Joe Guy.



Middle East Peace? is it likely?

US Postage Stamp depicting delegates at the si...
Image via Wikipedia

With the recent fall of Mubarak in Egypt I have fallen to wondering if it is possible that Peace could break out in the middle east.

Learned people will tell us that our problem is that we do not understand other cultures.  That may be true but, does that mean that we have to pander to them?   In about 1980 to 1982 I was stationed at MacDill AFB, it was NOT called Fort MacDill, and was on a mobility team aimed to deploy to Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia.  Every so often we would have exercises where we would play at going over.  This would include everything we needed to do up to the point of getting on an aircraft.  One of the things they would brief us on would be letting the ladies know that if they had dark skin they could ask to be relieved of this assignment.  The reason was that when they did deploy there they would be expected to follow the customs of the host country which included wearing the face covering like the women who live there.   It seems that, in an effort to respect local customs, our females would have to wear the scarves, even in UNIFORM, when they went off base.  That seems reasonable, to a degree, that we would respect their local customs, right?

So, how come, when they come here we still have to respect their local customs?  Makes no sense to me.

So, lets agree that there are things we don’t understand about other customs.  We shall just have to muddle along on what we do believe.

Mubarak is out of Egypt.. HU RA.  The madman of Libya seems ready to fall.. OH GOSH.

Does this mean that peace might break out in the Middle East?  Does this mean that DEMOCRACY might follow?  Those are good questions.  Democracies were not founded over night.  The American version, what we have grown accustomed to is a variation of the European idea, and was adapted to what our founders thought we needed.  They took a bunch of these ideas and put them into our constitution, a document that give legal structure to the United States of America.  This document that they finally agreed on was not the first.  First there had to be the documents that laid out the colonies, then there was OUR first document which was the Articles of Federation, then there was the U. S. Constitution.  This document was made up to replace the earlier Articles that were found to be unsuitable, due to the fact that the Federal Government could not make the states do what they did not want to do.  What we have now has been build on that idea.

How important is this?  The Constitution of the United States of America is just a document, it is the people in charge who have to follow it.  There has to be a means by which we can be sure that the rules it lays out are being followed, and we call it the Supreme Court.  This court has the responsibility for telling who is NOT going by the rules, and voiding laws that they believe are contrary to the rules established by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

What if we had not put in that third branch of government?  Picture how it could be with out some of the decisions that the Supreme Court has made over the years.  Consider what might have happened without the court telling the president that his actions were illeagal, or telling the Congress that a law was improper?

The make up of a government is very important but, a constitution is only a piece of paper and can not enforce itself.  In the 1960s, when I was in Junior High School, it was Webb Jr. H. S. in Tampa, Fl.  A history teacher by the name of Mathews explain this point to us.  He went on to say that surprisingly, one of the most freedom loving Constitutions in the world belonged to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  This is the USSR that under Josef Stalin killed millions of their own citizens, and had to build a wall around their area of influence, just to keep the citizens from escaping.  So, what was the deal there?

The deal there was that the Communist did not believe their Constitution and there was no one around to enforce it, so they just did what they wanted.

So here is where I start to get to my point…  Democracy in the west did not come about over a short period of time, it took gradual increments with many concepts added to the mix before a document like our Constitution could come to be, and still, even now, we have to keep vigilant in our efforts to keep the government honest.  We have over time become used to our rights.  How many times have you seen a movie where the American, overseas, says “I’m an American, you can’t do this to me!”  We get used to our rights, and sometimes forget that other people are NOT used to those same things.

There was an article, sometime ago, in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, in either the letters to the editor section and in the op-ed section where the writer went on about what the people in the regions were use to.  His point was that we could no expect people in that area to embrace a democracy for the simple reason that they were not used to the idea.  Look at Afghanistan or the area between Afghanistan and Pakistan and you will see TRIBAL areas.  These areas are ruled by tribal leaders who’s interest are centered around small areas.  Picture what might have happened if the 13 colonies had been made up of small tribal areas, all of whom had their own interest, and then ask them to give this up so that the power could go to some central authority that they would have little control over.  They would be a people who had not been brought up to respect the “rule of law”.  What would you get?  Most likely a middle east on our eastern shores.  It would have been much like what we see in the middle east now.  Rulers like Mummar Ghadafi, and the Mullahs of Iran have no respect for law, either their own or international, and just do what they want.  Some years ago there was a protest against Ghadafi outside the Libyan Embassy in London.  It was during the uproar with the protesters that one of the Libyan Security people shot, killing, an English Bobbie.  I am sure you remember how Iran kept the American Embassy personnel hostage for 444 days.

It would be really nice to think that Democracy and Peace will break out in the region but, if  this situation goes the way it looks, then we could be facing another Iran, or Somalia.

I hope not…  There are a lot of young people there who are in poverty situations, from a government that does not spend it’s oil wealth to better its population, much like Egypt, so we could also wind up with another Taliban type gang in power..

I guess we will just have to wait and see.