Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Happy Anniversary (The War is Over)...Are you saved?




On Sunday, I took part in my first demonstration. With a sign, even! On black posterboard, I glued big red letters with the message: [Bush] IS THE FRAUD [Jesus] WARNED ABOUT! In place of the names Bush and Jesus, I glued pictures of them to save space. On the back of the sign, I had another black posterboard with big yellow letters saying: "MATT. 7:15-16" and in smaller letters, I wrote the quote of that verse: "Beware of false prophets, who appear as sheep but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruits ye shall know them." And the final clincher: "End Bush's Immoral War!"

I got a lot of photos taken...or at least my sign did. I think it was the most blatantly religious sign among the crowd that I saw, and what a crowd it was too! My personal favorite signs included a dog which had a sign on one side of its body saying: "Dogs that pee on Bushes" and the other side said: "Impound the Bush war criminals" (with the "s" in Bush's name written as a swastika). I also liked a sign one goth chick carried: "My Bush makes love not war!"

The crowd was huge. News reports later said that it was 15 city blocks long. Included in the march was a scary group of mask-wearing anarchists carrying a sign that said "No gods, no country, no masters." They looked like they were on their way to rob a bank, and after the peaceful march was over, this group later clashed with the police.

Ah, it takes all kinds to make a march! But, it was one of the things I'm most proud of participating in. Though there were more marchers than spectators, I hope I got my message across...that Bush IS the one Jesus warned us about. Politicians who use religion to con sincere believers into supporting their evil deeds is what Jesus was trying to warn his followers about so they wouldn't be seduced or led into the kind of moral compromises that cause real spiritual damage, not only to other people or the planet, but ourselves.

I did get a few comments, all good. But as I marched, one guy marched up beside me. He had a sign of his own, which said "Blessed are the peacemakers." He asked if I was a Christian. Then we talked a bit. Then he asked me if I was saved. Uh-oh! As soon as he said that, it triggered a flash back to my adolescence where I hated being asked that question and judged accordingly. Thus marks my biggest conflict with evangelical types. Why is that?

Well...for one thing, my church as I realize it now, is a product of its Midwestern development. The Midwest is known for moderation in most things, and religion was considered to be a private matter. Evangelicalizing wasn't a big thing in the Midwest until the late 80s/early 90s. So, in growing up in this region and being a member of a church where asking if people are "saved" is not part of our vocabulary, it was baffling to me when I lived in Germany and my father made me attend protestant youth group meetings on the base since our church was too far away to meet frequently. So, the base protestant chapel became our religious home for 3 years (save for a few RLDS retreats a year). When someone first asked me if I was "saved", I had no clue what they were talking about. I told them I was baptized and asked if that counted. Then they wanted to know which church. As soon as they heard the "Latter Day Saint" part of our name, they said that it didn't. So, they were going to judge my salvation based on their ignorance of my church and their prejudice of the LDS church? Thus began my long dislike of evangelicals and their obsession with asking people if they are saved.

Now of course, that word makes me cringe every time. What does it mean to be saved? Our president claimed that Jesus is his favorite political philosopher because he was "saved." Well, if he was saved, why is he hellbent on destroying our planet? See...if being saved does nothing to make one a better person in terms of living a more Christlike life of nonviolence, tolerance of those of different faiths, and a desire to increase the spirituality of the planet, what good is it to be saved?

It is my view that asking such a question tells me the person asking the question is not spiritual enough. I'm a pretty spiritual guy and I can usually tell when I meet and talk with people how spiritual they are. I don't need to ask if they are saved or not, because I don't believe God condemns any human to a hellish afterlife unless they are truly without a spiritual light (cough, cough, Cheney, cough, cough). But like my sign said: BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM. I look at a person's fruits and I can tell if they are sufficiently spiritual enough for me to desire a friendship with them, or if they are bad news. Asking if people are saved is just plain stupid in my book. What would happen if I said no? Then I'd get a lecture from a person who doesn't know two bits about me. How can you really "save" another person anyway? Especially if you're only interested in proselytizing and not getting to know the other person as is.

So...the march was great, I got the message I wanted out, I got to be among people who share my view on this immoral war and the need to end it now...and I got a laugh when it was all over. I can't believe it...I went to a peace march and carried the most religious sign out there and still got asked the question if I was saved! All the more reason why I find evangelical types a funny breed. If they see one religious sign in a sea of signs that include sexual innuendos, anarchist slogans, and political wit...they are still going to ask the sign carrier if he is saved? What does that tell you? No wonder why evangelicals supported Bush in large numbers! They can't tell an authentic spiritual person from a group of craven materialists! Made my day, I tell ya!

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