In God’s Name?

The seemingly religious father of Omar Mateen, whom we can now add to the list of those committing murder and mayhem during religious holidays as one of God’s delusional messengers, said that his son was “doing God’s work” when he took automatic weapons into a gay bar in Orlando and opened fire.

As is usually the case, anyone and everyone claiming they are performing some service to God, whether it is shooting innocent people in a club or winning an election in the Knesset cannot possibly be doing so with God’s assistance or acquiescence. To assume that God speaks to someone directly is how folks end up with “Jerusalem syndrome,” wandering around half-naked on the streets of Tel Aviv and babbling incoherently.

You won’t like what I am about to say, but I am going to say it, anyway: God does not need you to act for Him (or Her). If there is a supreme being, He or She does not want violence committed against His (or Her) other creatures, be they animal or human. To kill another human being and say “God told them to” is how someone ends up in a rubber room at the nearest medical facility behind locked doors or in the local jailhouse. It is the ultimate cop-out. I believe mentally unstable people who commit acts of violence and claim God as their instigator are cowards who will not own up to their own insecurities and inability to live peacefully in society. If you remove God from their justifications for violence and tell such individuals: “Who said there was a God, anyway? What if no such being exists?” Then their mental competence and lack thereof is a little easier to comprehend.

The religious types who truly believe that we were made in God’s image seem to likewise forget that God also made homosexuals, transgenders, bisexuals and lesbians. The only mistakes we can attribute to God if we believe He (or She) was the creator of all life on earth are mosquitoes and flies. And perhaps, the platypus. If God endows us as His special beings on earth, He (or She) made a profound mistake in elevating us above animals and amoebas because there is no other creature on earth that kills just for the hell of it or kills because “God told them to.”

Since it is the month of Ramadan, shall we look at occurrences of violence committed by men against others humans and their physical presence on earth in just the past week because of religion? Nineteen women and girls were burned alive by Daesh because they did not want Daesh fighters for husbands; The Sarona pigua was carried out; an Afghanistani mother burned her daughter to death for daring to choose her own husband and Daesh destroyed yet another ancient temple in Nineveh province which dated back to Assyrian rule. Everyone who carried out such attacks, whether against humans or historical structures share one undeniable fact: they all believe God wanted them to do it.

Muslims are the first to step up and claim that acts of violence do not represent the Quran. But here’s the undeniable truth about such efforts: Muslims rarely report other Muslims when they hear them disparage other ethnic groups in violent terms of expression. They attend weekly mosques. Those mosques have preachers and imams and teachers. Many lectures and sermons from those pulpits contain violent content and open threats. You can watch your fill of such diatribes on MEMRI’s or PALWATCH’s website or any other forum which translates such sermons accurately. Be prepared to see yourself described in such offensive terms as “pig” or “donkey.”

Muslims appear loathe to turn in their co-religionists to the authorities. That is why Shabak or the FBI “attend” services nationwide in an effort to root out extremism. Sometimes, they get lucky and stop an attack in its planning stages. Many times, they don’t. Still, though, if you think about it, it is very difficult to stop someone from having violent thoughts, much less acting upon them. References to “lone wolf” attacks do not begin to answer the question about religious extremism in the service of God. Whether it is the act of several or one, the outcome is just as deadly.

Unlike Israel, America has a serious and profound problem with its own brand of violence. In a technical sense of the word, the government sponsors terror on a daily basis. How do they manage this feat? By allowing anyone and everyone to carry weapons and by permitting a powerful lobbying group, the National Rifle Association, to dictate Federal and state and local laws. Why blame God for the violence carried out in His (or Her) name when you have Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s perennial president running around loose and not in jail where he belongs for incitement to violence? When he gets started during his numerous public speeches, he literally foams at the mouth like a rabid dog.

It has been said that the FBI interviewed the attack perpetrator on three separate occasions and decided not to pursue further action against him. And then they did not report his name to the database that gun sellers use to determine if someone should or should not have access to guns due to mental instability. This was a much-sought after provision nationwide after the hideous shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 that resulted in the deaths of 32 students and professors and the injuring of dozens more and the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012 that resulted in the murder by assault rifle of 20 children and their six teachers.

In no way do I condone violence of any type. Politicizing it in any form should likewise be shunned. As the news spread yesterday of the horror in the same city where Disney has its theme park, I counted the minutes until the news services heard from the candidates for president. One response was measured and reassuring and the other was from the foam-at-the-mouth types who, oddly enough, seem to come from the same political party who take millions of dollars annually from the NRA. Coincidence is stranger than fact in American politics and international terrorism.

About the Author
Rachel Grenadier was an olah from the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2003 who returned to the United States in 2015. She really wanted to stay in Israel, but decided that having family members nearby was better for her health than a bunch of devoted, but crazed, Israeli friends who kept telling her hummous would cure her terminal heart condition. She has her B.A. and M.A. from George Mason University in Virginia and is the author of two books: the autobiographical "Israeli Men and Other Disasters" and "Kishon: The Story of Israel's Naval Commandoes and their Fight for Justice". She is now living in Virginia with her three Israeli psychologically-challenged cats and yet, denies being a "hoarder".
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