The human race appears to be running a full-on race to see how fast it can officially be called “screwed.”

I’m seeing more and more bumper stickers floating around as I make my way along streets, highways, and freeways with one word — “Coexist” — on it.  The word is spelled out by using symbols of other faiths from around the world with a circular peace sign making up the “O” in the word, and a cross making up the “t.”

Leona's bumper sticker.
Leona’s bumper sticker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve looked up the bumper sticker at a variety of sites.  The ones who are upset by it make the claim that the peace sign replaced some evil symbol from a previous rendition of the sign.  Well, for that matter there are a few American corporations whose symbols have been purported to represent Satanic symbols as well, but those corporations are still thriving and celebrated as being essential to the American way of life.

What the “Coexist” bumper sticker and the people sporting it on their vehicles are trying to get across is that people of all beliefs should try to get along with each other.  It’s pretty much that simple.  The funny thing is that Christians are displaying the stickers themselves, and Christians are also decrying them as just another threat to America’s Christian values.

Even Christians can’t all agree with each other.  So is it any wonder that right now in the Middle East we’re seeing an outbreak of violence, including the death of an American consulate in Libya?  If Christians can’t see eye to eye with other Christians on something as simple as a “Coexist” bumper sticker, how in the world are we supposed to get along with Muslims who some Christians claim are all “evil?”

And while some Christians get all up in arms over some Muslims’ chants of “death to America,” or “death to Christians,” let’s not go fooling ourselves that all Christians are pure as freshly driven snow when it comes to their hatred toward Muslims.  If you can fool yourself into believing that, then you can honestly claim to be a fool.

I’m reminded once again these days — with all that’s going on in the Middle East with violent uprisings against America coming from Libya, Egypt, and Yemen — of a local pastor at a non-denominational Christian church who was once on my Facebook friends list and put in a request to get on my friends list for the simple reason that he was friends with my church pastor.

As time went on and Barack Obama was either close to becoming or was shortly into his presidency, this non-denominational pastor started posting some of the most inflammatory anti-Muslim propaganda — yes, I said propaganda — that I had seen in quite some time.  There was one old Looney Toons-type video that he put up that was talking about the threat to the American way of life, pointing the finger of the threat at Muslims.

A pastor.

And that wasn’t all.  Many of this pastor’s posts became politically charged, much of it raging against Muslims.  It reached a point where I finally asked the pastor a simple question and, damn it, I wanted an answer.

“Do you preach this stuff from the pulpit?”

I kept insisting that this pastor give me an answer, and he never did.  His politics were coming out from every Facebook pore he chose to share with his “friends,” and if it wasn’t slamming Muslims it was slamming the “Muslim Obama.”

“Do you preach this stuff from the pulpit?” I kept asking.

No answer.  I went the rounds with this pastor and his church members, with one of them stating to me that it was obvious that I “hate God.”

I had to inform that individual that I was head deacon at my church, so there must be some kind of love there between me and my God.

I was blocked on Facebook by that pastor after that.  Mainly because I demanded an answer to a simple question:  “Do you preach this stuff from the pulpit?”

He was pretty touchy about that.

This is not meant to condone or excuse the violence and senseless brutality that we’re seeing from some Muslims — note that I said some Muslims — in the Middle East.  All that shows is that religious zealotry comes in all forms and fashions, and it needs to be condemned wherever and whenever we see it.  It takes cojones to do that, and sometimes it seems as though the ones who do have the cojones are in the minority.

Sometimes it can be found in a simple question:  “Do you preach this stuff from the pulpit?”

Ask that question to a zealot who probably does preach that kind of hatred and see what kind of reaction you get from them and their more fervent followers.

The true cause of this latest uprising against America in the Middle East by a few of its own zealots isn’t clearly known yet.  Some sources say that it was planned to mark the anniversary of 9/11, others say that it’s happening to protest the anti-Muslim video “Innocence of Muslims.”

If it’s to protest the video, for what it’s worth, I would personally reach out through this blog to any and all readers in the Middle East (and there are readers of this blog there) and ask you to spread this message from me:  “I apologize for this piece of trash of a video.  Please do not think that this steaming pile of dung represents all Christians’ beliefs, because it doesn’t.  I am as offended by it as a Christian as you are as a Muslim.”

If you’ve never seen any of the “Innocence of Muslims” video, you’re free to search for it.  Personally, I won’t waste the bandwidth to display that festering stew of elephant droppings here.  You know it has to be bad when the actors who were involved in the making of it seem to be universally speaking out against it, saying they were duped into making something they didn’t intend to make.

It’s pretty easy to see why those actors would be ticked off.  There’s massive editing with overdubbing throughout.  If they were going to do that much overdubbing, the producers could have at least made the overdubbed voices at least somewhat close to the actors who started to speak the lines.

It’s cheaply made with “green screens” galore.  Outside of “Battleship Earth,” it will go down as one of the worst pieces of “filmmaking” to ever garner a wide audience.  Beyond the lack of quality, it’s just downright offensive to anyone with a modicum of common sense, whether they’re Muslim or Christian.

Pastor in Black Leather
Pastor Terry Jones in black leather (Photo credit: M.V. Jantzen)

It’s fitting that Pastor Terry Jones — the one who’s stirred up a hornets’ nest himself by calling for a worldwide burning of Muslims’ holy book — has himself supported the video.  It’s common sense that he lacks.

I’m proud to say that I served on a Christian church board that once approved a Muslim ministry in our congregation, one that was meant to cooperate and communicate and educate about each others’ beliefs.  It was designed to say that we would like to “coexist.”

We as Christians can look upon Muslims as an “evil enemy” if we blindly choose to do so.  However, sometimes we as Christians also need to realize that “the evil enemy is us.”

Copyright 2012, Daddysangbassdude Media


10 thoughts on “If a “COEXIST” bumper sticker can raise a fuss, well …

  1. John, this post really got me riled up. Intolerance, in any form, is one of our most threatening social diseases. A simple word, “Coexist” can ignite such prejudices and bring out these dark and dangerous beliefs – that manifest into evil actions. So many folks who claim to be following God’s commandments, who then terrorize their fellow man based on a difference of perception. There are so many twists and turns in our history regarding religion, and symbols have been used and re-used. What’s important is not the symbols used, but the actions taken.

    So much more to say….

    But, I will end with this — I’m so grateful for your voice in the darkness. As a Christian, you stand for the real basic values of the faith.

  2. I am a Christian. My God says I have to love you. The god of Islam says believers must kill the non believer. I like my God better.
    I have seen Christian churches split over something as silly as the color of the hymnal. Christians are human and there will be disagreements between them, just as with everybody else. Your suggestion that because Christians do not agree with each other is the reason why our ambassador and three others were murdered in Benghazi is absolutely ludicrous. You are really reaching with that one.

    1. I appreciate your comment here, Jim, but if what you got out of this was a “suggestion that because Christians do not agree with each other is the reason why our ambassador and three others were murdered in Benghazi” then I’m left scratching my head as to how you came to that conclusion. It’s been a while since I wrote this, and I’ve gone through it again a couple of times now, and I’m still scratching my head as to how you could come to that conclusion.

      The main point here is that there are zealots no matter what religion you look to, and THAT is the reason our ambassador and three others were murdered in Benghazi, along with all the people who died in similar attacks during the Bush years that don’t get mentioned much. The zealots bring out the worst in the zealots. I’ve studied, worked, and sat through religious services with Muslims, even shared meals with them. I’m still alive.

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