I was asked to write about:
What Do You Think of the USA?
here is what I think:
Great America, you, who is seen by some
as a liberator, a helper, the one that does good unselfishly.
I think of the Great War, when the clothes and a doll in a parcel brought sparkles and joy to the eyes of a child, where your money helped building new towns out of rubble,
where your words of encouragement and freedom were listened to.
yet later, the child grew up , understood more
of the cynical way politics work, of the greed ,of corruption
of power by money.
Then again, we have seen it how men and women,
the simple folk, showed courage in adverse conditions,
when terror struck your homeland, a man named Todd Beamer
gave his life to save others.
We have seen the lighting of candles, the blood spent for victims,
heard the prayers in English, Hebrew, Arabic,
In a terror that struck overnight and attacked freedom.
A terror that struck your prosperity, but not your hard work,
not your creativity, not the enterprise of your people.
We, outside your borders, we cried with you and for you.
We still hold you dear, all the good things, yet are wondering
about all those other things. You ask: Why are we hated?,
when you stand for the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion,
the freedom of democracy, the freedom of a single man to rise into one
greater and better?
You say your ways are disrupted and your way of life threatened
by terror, that wants the Americans fearful, retreat from the world
and forsake their friends.
You say,they stand all against you because you stand in their way.
Let me say there is more, not outside your borders, but inside, that makes
us outsiders wonder about your own ways, for instance:
when the Rev. Timothy McDonald arrived at a Red Cross shelter to serve baked chicken, collard greens and macaroni and cheese to hurricane evacuees, a Red Cross volunteer told him they could not accept his food.
McDonald, shocked and disappointed, approached a man who was serving food and asked him what group he was with.
"I'm with God," the man said."So am I," McDonald replied.
"What organization are you with?"
"We're with the Southern Baptists," the man said, explaining that the Southern Baptist Convention has a partnership with the American Red Cross. McDonald's First Iconium Baptist Church, a modest African American church in east Atlanta, does not.
"That's the reason they didn't want my chicken," said McDonald, pounding his fist on the pulpit.
He is chair of African American Ministers in Action, an advocacy group representing 5,000 clergy in 20 states. McDonald's story, told at a forum on race last week in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, illustrated a rising concern. A veteran activist and community leader, McDonald expected to have a big role in the hurricane relief effort. Instead, he said, he has been locked out of the process, except as a critic.
Or that nine members of the East Waynesville Baptist Church in western North Carolina were excommunicated because they did not support President Bush in the election, and we read the following statement by the American Way Foundation:"What have we come to when the doors of a church are closed to longtime members because of their political beliefs? When a pastor equates political support for the wrong candidate with a sin before God?"
I would say to Senator Frist and Karl Rove that this is what comes of attempts to manipulate religion for political gain. Americans simply will not accept the claim that unless you accept my political beliefs, you cannot be a good Christian.
"This nation was founded on respect for religious belief, and tolerance for religious diversity. Men and women of faith have every right to advocate for their political beliefs. While churches, of course, can set their own membership standards, no one should punish people of faith for their political beliefs."
Now your president Bush has decided to revisit the topic of teaching evolution,
by voicing his support for so-called "intelligent design theory."
We somehow love you, but we do not like you, America,
your patronising president,
who thinks himself above other men,
who leased religion for himself,
who wants to force his belief upon others.
What happened to tolerance, freedom of religion?
Now we see everywhere your so called "evangelists",
who outrageously claim paradise for themselves and the hell to the "non believers"
Bush insisted that "both sides ought to be properly taught" so that "people can understand what the debate is about." However, for the vast majority of scientists, there is no "debate" over the centrality of evolution.
John Marburger, Bushs top science advisor, told The New York Times that "evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology." He added that "intelligent design is not a scientific concept," a fact echoed by the National Science Teachers Association, , among many others.
Although the Supreme Court has ruled that teaching creationism as science in public schools was an unconstitutional establishment of religion, the anti-evolution movement has countered by developing what the National Academy of Science calls "creationism in disguise." As Chris Mooney details in The American Prospect magazine, rather than arguments grounded explicitly in religion, the anti-evolution movement has focused on "teaching the controversy" by exaggerating a supposed "debate" over what is in fact fundamental and accepted in the scientific community. But the central idea of "intelligent design theory", that the world is so complex that there must be a "designer" is based on faith, and is not a scientific theory.
There is a confusion between scientific theories and other kinds of theories. If you're going to teach the Darwinian theory as evolution, teach it as theory. And then teach another theory that has the most support among scientists. Students deserve the chance to hear both sides of the debate and then draw their own conclusions.
Some states are already moving towards teaching phony "alternatives" to scientific theory putting America's schoolchildren at risk.
Church members were told, if they did not vote for Bush they could either repent or get out.
Those are the dangers of your Evangelists, one man from India writes:
"My God is superior to your God. My religion, my culture, my way of thinking, and finally even my name is superior to yours. This attitude make these Evangelists so intolerant towards other religions and make them convert people to Christianity. If they can't understand our polite refusals, we have to evict them by force. India cannot be allowed to take the path of the Phillipines or Korea.Let me add that at a time when shelter, food and clothing are still the basic necessities for a huge majority of Indians and other lesser mortals of the third world, religion is a luxury. Remember, a human like any other animal is a "sucker" for these basic needs. To these converts "religion" has has long ceased to hold any meaning. If we Indians choose to ignore them, no wonder they are vulnerable to so many other things. It is utter poverty and wretchedness that has driven them to accept something else. Given a choice they could have picked up any other religion with equal probabilty because it is the basic need that attracts them. For a change, why dont you talk about their susceptibilty and vulnerability to so many other things like being a drug peddler, a prostitute, a child worker or all that together. I will never bring that up, because that will expose me and everyone who is wasting time reading and responding to their articles rather than actually walking up to that naked child in the street and offering a future (not a rupee)."
Just some examples, great America, while we, the outsiders are uneasy about you. May be you should stop and think about the old values, be critical with power and not worship it.