Archive for the 'United States' Category

Savage Christians CelebrateThanksgiving to Mark Mass Slaughter and Conquest of American Natives

With Bible passages in their hands to justify their every move, the Puritans began their march inland from the seaside communities. Joined by British settlers, they seized land, took the strong and young Natives as slaves to work the land, and killed the rest. When they reached the Connecticut Valley around 1633, they met a different type of force. The Pequot Nation, very large and very powerful, had never entered into the peace treaty negotiated by Squanto as had other New England Native nations. When two slave raiders were killed by resisting Natives, the Puritans demanded that the killers be turned over to them. The Pequot refused. What followed was the Pequot War, the bloodiest of the Native wars in the northeast.

An army of over 200 settlers was formed, joined by over 1,000 Narragansett warriors. Because of the lack of fighting experience, and the vast numbers of the fierce Pequot warriors, Commander John Mason elected not to stage an open battle. Instead, the Pequot were attacked, one village at a time, in the hours before dawn. Each village was set on fire with its sleeping Natives burned alive. Women and children over 14 were captured to be sold as slaves; other survivors were massacred. The Natives were sold into slavery in The West Indies, the Azures, Spain, Algiers and England; everywhere the Puritan merchants traded. The slave trade was so lucrative that boat loads of 500 at a time left the harbors of New England.

In 1641, the Dutch governor of Manhattan offered the first scalp bounty; a common practice in many European countries. This was broadened by the Puritans to include a bounty for Natives fit to be sold for slavery. The Dutch and Puritans joined forces to exterminate all Natives from New England, and village after village fell. Following an especially successful raid against the Pequot in what is now Stamford, Connecticut, the churches of Manhattan announced a day of “thanksgiving” to celebrate victory over the heathen savages. This was the 2nd Thanksgiving. During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets of Manhattan like soccer balls.

The killing took on a frenzy, with days of thanksgiving being held after each successful massacre. Even the friendly Wampanoag did not escape. Their chief was beheaded, and his head placed on a pole in Plymouth, Massachusetts — where it remained for 24 years. Each town held days of thanksgiving to celebrate their own victories over the Natives until it became clear that there needed to be an order for these special occasions. It was George Washington who finally brought a system and a schedule to thanksgiving when he declared one day to be celebrated across the nation as Thanksgiving Day.

America: We Are All Hindus Now (Newsweek)

We Are All Hindus Now
By Lisa Miller, NEWSWEEK, Aug 31, 2009

America is not a Christian nation. We are, it is true, a nation founded
by Christians, and according to a 2008 survey, 76 percent of us continue
to identify as Christian (still, that’s the lowest percentage in
American history). Of course, we are not a Hindu-or Muslim, or Jewish,
or Wiccan-nation, either. A million-plus Hindus live in the United
States, a fraction of the billion who live on Earth. But recent poll
data show that conceptually, at least, we are slowly becoming more like
Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about
God, our selves, each other, and eternity.

The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: “Truth is
One, but the sages speak of it by many names.” A Hindu believes there
are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur’an is another, yoga
practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The
most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think
like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and
others are false. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No
one comes to the father except through me.”

Americans are no longer buying it. According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey,
65 percent of us believe that “many religions can lead to eternal
life”-including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely
to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people
who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of
Americans call themselves “spiritual, not religious,” according to a
2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005. Stephen Prothero,
religion professor at Boston University, has long framed the American
propensity for “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” as “very much in the
spirit of Hinduism. You’re not picking and choosing from different
religions, because they’re all the same,” he says. “It isn’t about
orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great-and
if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass
plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”

Then there’s the question of what happens when you die. Christians
traditionally believe that bodies and souls are sacred, that together
they comprise the “self,” and that at the end of time they will be
reunited in the Resurrection. You need both, in other words, and you
need them forever. Hindus believe no such thing. At death, the body
burns on a pyre, while the spirit-where identity resides-escapes. In
reincarnation, central to Hinduism, selves come back to earth again and
again in different bodies. So here is another way in which Americans are
becoming more Hindu: 24 percent of Americans say they believe in
reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll. So agnostic are we about
the ultimate fates of our bodies that we’re burning them-like
Hindus-after death. More than a third of Americans now choose cremation,
according to the Cremation Association of North America, up from 6
percent in 1975. “I do think the more spiritual role of religion tends
to deemphasize some of the more starkly literal interpretations of the
Resurrection,” agrees Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion at

So let us all say “om.”

Loving Christian Pastor Arrested On Child Pornography Charge: Christian persecution in America

Pastor Arrested On Child Pornography Charge

updated 3:54 a.m. ET Sept. 26, 2008
FORT WORTH, Texas – A North Texas pastor was arrested Wednesday and charged with transporting child pornography, authorities said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents took Steve Richardson, 36, the pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Royse City, Texas, into custody after searching his home and church.

The agents confiscated Richardson’s computer, which he is accused of using to send pornographic and erotic images of children using Google’s “Hello” software program, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Richard B. Ropers’ office.

The First United Methodist Church has put Richardson on suspension, NBC 5 reported.

An Indian Woman’s Brush With Christian Fundamentalism

An Indian Woman’s Brush With Christian Evangelists
Commentary, Sarita Sarvate,
India Currents, Jan 30, 2005

When I first came to America, people would ask me why my native country couldn’t get along with its neighbor. After all, memories of India’s three wars with Pakistan were still fresh in American minds then. I would try to explain a millennium of history, but my audience would soon lose interest, saying instead, “Well, what’s the big deal about religion anyway; Hinduism, Islam, they are all the same, right?”

I wanted to ask them, “How do you explain the abundance of churches around the Berkeley campus then?”

“Haven’t you heard of the missionaries in Africa who persecuted the natives until they converted to Christianity?” I wanted to say.

But looking askance at people’s hypocrisy, even among the elite in Berkeley, where I was then a student, I would shut up.

That summer—my first in America—I drove across the country with a Jewish friend. I got a lesson in geography, history, and civics along the way. What I discovered was that Berkeley was an anomaly; that elsewhere in this country people eyed me as if I was a native from the reservation, avoiding addressing me directly.

In Georgia, another surprise awaited me. My relative, who was studying at Georgia Tech, experienced overt racism at the university, so much so that the student lounge in his department was only used by white students. The campus had few non-white students then, and the only people he could make friends with were Southern Baptists out to recruit pagans.

I remember vividly a Sunday morning when two white men and two white women arrived at his studio apartment near campus to escort us to an outing. Before I had a chance to protest, I was huddled into the front pew of a brick church, dressed in a fine sari, facing a pale priest clad in scarlet robes. The reverend looked us straight in the eyes that morning, and spoke of “foreign guests” he hoped to enlighten with Christ’s message.

I have not felt more embarrassed in my entire life. Afterwards, the congregation posed for pictures, marveling at my gold-bordered sari, my red kunku, my glittering earrings.

That was my first taste of American Christian fundamentalism. The Southern Baptists, it turned out, were innocuous compared with their mutations to follow; like Billy Graham and the evangelists, Newt Gingrich and his Family Values crusaders, the Christian Coalition, and now George Bush’s Faith-based Initiative.

We are told today that it was the religious fundamentalists and their passion over issues like creationism, abortion, and gay marriage that defeated Kerry.

So I want to ask all Americans a question: What is the difference between your fundamentalists and ours? What is the difference between a Christian zealot who fights over the ownership of a woman’s uterus and an Islamic fundamentalist who fights over his land in the Gaza? The way I see it, at least the Palestinian in the Gaza is fighting for something far more crucial, namely the very survival of his people who have been relegated to the confines of a concentration camp called a refugee settlement. At least the insurgents in Kashmir are fighting over a magical valley where they have lived for hundreds of years. At least the Taliban, born in a land ravaged by Russians and Americans, are incited by a passion for a lost culture.

On the other hand, it is hard to understand the passion of a Budweiser-swilling, Walmart-shopping Joe Blow, who argues that the world was created in seven days just because some ignoramus dressed in a robe tells him so from the pulpit.

Perhaps human beings need something to be passionate about, be it the rites of marriage or a piece of land. But what I don’t understand is why Americans, elite or otherwise, fail to understand the religious fundamentalism of a Muslim or a Jew or a Hindu or a Sikh, while practicing it themselves. It seems to me a classic case of “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Half a century after my first visit there, I was back in the Bible belt recently, to attend a convention in Nashville, Tenn. Flicking the channels on television the first evening, I found what I thought was a PBS documentary. My jet-lagged brain took a few minutes to realize that this was no PBS, but a Christian fundamentalist program discussing the evil effects of the Kinsey sex studies, complete with made-up facts. There were in fact four evangelical channels and not much else on television, I soon discovered, and the city’s one attraction was the Andrew Jackson Plantation where visitors were told only about the seventh president’s devotion to his wife and her guitar, but not of his removal of “savage” Indians to the west of the Mississippi, causing a “Trail of Tears.” At the nearby Opry, one white musician after another played the banjo, while not a single African American appeared in the line-up, even though the instrument originally came from Africa, and was introduced to America by slaves.

It dawned on me then that Christian fundamentalism had its roots in greed, hunger for power, and cruelty towards those who are deemed “different,” and I experienced once again the panic I have felt ever since Nov. 2.

Sarita Sarvate writes commentaries for Pacific News Service and KQED

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