Tuesday, April 03, 2007

When the minion of Satan comes visiting BYU...

I was going to write about the return of "The Bachelor" reality show on TV, as there was so much to make fun of...but then I discovered in my daily digest of the news through the truthout.org and commondreams.org websites that BYU had invited none other than VICE President Dick Cheney to speak at this year's commencement. And to think that I did consider attending it (a few months ago) to receive my long delayed degree! This news is all the more reason why I love my church (the Community of Christ) and not the LDS one. In 1999, at the commencement ceremony of my church's college, Graceland in Lamoni IA, it was none other than Vice President Gore who gave the address. Of course, the more conservative members of my church didn't like it and a few complained in our church's magazine...but maybe they should switch over to the LDS Church, which skews conservative (though, thankfully, my fellow BYU friends, all active, good-standing, Temple-worthy LDS members AND liberal...well, except for one possible exception).

When I was a student, I remember the fuss about Clarence Thomas making a visit to the Law School. I seriously contemplated showing a picture of Anita Hill through the window on the door of the room that Justice Thomas spoke in. The big controversy around that time was the Clinton sex scandal and allegations of sexual harassment by the president on interns and other ladies. So, while BYU made clear that Clinton would not meet BYU's honor code requirement to be a guest speaker, they looked the other way for Clarence Thomas because he was a good personal friend of Utah Senator and LDS member Orrin Hatch. It was one example of holding a double-standard, which seems to have continued to this day. Why is it so easy to believe all the negative stories about Clinton and his womanizing ways, but not when it's about Clarence Thomas? Especially when one of the conservative political operatives to have helped smear Anita Hill's reputation had a "road to Damascus" experience and revealed all the things he had done to serve the cause of conservative Republicanism. The person's name? David Brock, who revealed in his book "Blinded By The Right" that Clarence Thomas did have a huge collection of pornography.

I also remember at the time when I was at BYU that the bookstore made a big fuss on how they would not sell Monica Lewinsky's book (as written by Andrew Morton), yet they sold George Stephanopoulos' memoirs, which had a few profanity words sprinkled among his prose and reveals a lot more about Clinton than Monica's book did. Monica's book was a love story seen from the naive eyes of a troubled young lady. However, it was conservative Republican Ken Starr who wrote the most salacious account of the affair, with plenty of the kind of detail that would make a viagra pill unnecessary in even the most impotent of men who read his government report. To BYU's credit, they didn't sell the Starr Report either.

Now we get to Cheney, who is perhaps the most evil man on the planet. Last year, I had a debate with a fellow churchmember over Cheney. He didn't think Cheney was evil for the simple fact that Cheney loves his lesbian daughter. Anyone who could love didn't qualify as "evil" in his book. But then I thought, even Hitler loved his mistress, and his dog, and his secretary. What does that prove? It's easy to point the finger at who is evil...Stalin, Saddam, Hitler...and turn them into cliched characters from history. But that idea is dangerous. Because we are so used to thinking of evil as these giants in history, it doesn't prepare us for the evil that hides in the shadows, an evil that Jesus warned his followers about, time and again.

Jesus warned "by their fruits, ye shall know them." And anyone who isn't blind or in love with the Bush regime can see what kind of fruits Cheney has wrought on the world. To look at everything that makes Jesus (and even the Buddha) a spiritual leader, one can clearly see that Cheney is the exact opposite. Jesus did nothing in secret. Cheney relishes secrecy. Jesus hung out with the poor, the afflicted, the outcasts of society, the sinners. Cheney hangs out with the rich and the powerful. When Satan appeared to Jesus in the desert, one of the temptations he tried to use was that if Jesus would bow down and worship Satan, that the entire world would be his dominion to do as he wished. Jesus rejected that offer and asked "what does it profit a man who gains the whole world but loses his very soul?" When Satan appeared to Cheney sometime between 1993 and 1998, Cheney said, "where do I sign?" The question is not is Cheney evil, but how much did Satan buy him out for?

I know that some people still want to believe that there is goodness somewhere in Cheney, that he hasn't completely turned to the dark side, but the man is so heartless, he's had 5 heart attacks and still won't die! Is that not a clue that Satan has kept him alive for a purpose? And he was able to shoot a man in the face and that man miraculously lived and apologized to Cheney for the inconvenience he caused! I was truly baffled by that apology, but figured that it was another sign that something truly evil is at work in the mechanical and cold heart of Cheney. He signed off on torture, totally okay with the use of waterboarding. Jesus was tortured (to this day, I still can't believe how any Christian could watch Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" and still support the Bush Administration. The contradiction is so baffling!). Cheney is a wealthy man, made even wealthier by the war in Iraq and all the no-bid contracts his company Halliburton got. Jesus was poor. Cheney has no compassion. Jesus died for it. There's no doubt about it...Cheney is one evil mo-fo.

Which brings up my final point. Why would BYU allow someone that transparent to speak at commencement? There is nothing in Cheney's personality, behavior, or life that would give any evidence at all of being a Christian. There is no light of Christ shining through Cheney's body. He is undoubtedly the most evil, vile man who has ever disgraced our government. He is the dark cloud our Founding Fathers feared would one day end the noble American experiment in democracy. Though I dislike Bush, I don't believe he is an evil man. He is simply an ignorant man suffering from a complex family dynamic, egotism, and lack of understanding how the world works to be an effective leader. But Cheney is another story altogether. He is one person who better enjoy all his days on earth, because after he's gone, he will come to hate everything he has ever done on earth. The boomerang of karmic justice will come back to him. I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up in the same holding cell with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. They are three peas in a nasty pod.

It's a shame about BYU, though. That they lack the good sense not to invite such a vile man is surprising. It makes me doubt whatever spiritual claim they ever had. The honor code was something I took seriously when I attended there. Now, it means nothing. That they would turn a blind eye towards a man who embodies everything Jesus had warned about; while showing judgmental attitudes towards another government figure's personal failings (think King David)...I simply don't get it. It's just another case of conservative Republicans not knowing where they stand. They speak of family values and honor when its against a liberal Democrat, but conveniently overlook it when it's one of their own. That's politics, not how a spiritual person would behave. After all, if Cheney were a Democrat, I'd despise him even more. But the truth is, I feel sorry for Cheney. When he leaves his body, he has a hellish future ahead of him. Who am I to judge? Well...I believe everything we do in life has consequences, and we pay for those consequences. By inflicting hell upon the world's poorest, while getting rich in the process...it just seems like a bad move to pick on the very people Jesus was for. If we love Jesus, the choice is clear...the poor are the ones we need to side with, not the powerful. As Jesus said himself, it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. No exceptions, BYU, no exceptions.

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