We Are Both Klingons

My wife and I had just finished our afternoon prayers when she said, “Oh, no.”

I turned to see her staring at her phone.


“Trump has just tweeted out a warning to Iran against attacking any Americans. He told them we had 52 Iranian sites targeted.”

Oy, vey. The Child President, he of much bullying and bluster, strikes again.

I can see him as a sixth-grader, hair swept back even then, taunting and glowering at the kindergarteners.

The thing is, we can be sure that Iran is quite aware of his hatred and also aware that many Iranian sites are targeted by the American military. It is the way we are. We have targeted hundreds if not thousands of sites across the world. I’m primarily looking at you Russia, China, and North Korea, in addition to Iran.

To be fair, other countries have hundreds or thousands of sites targeted in the United States. See countries named above.

We like to think we are a people of peace, reluctantly drawn into war, but such is not the case. The United States has been involved in roughly 80 wars, give or take, in our short history. We are not pikers when it comes to the war. We are Klingons. We have clearly instigated several wars, most notably the war with Mexico and the Spanish-American War. We also have conducted a genocide. You can ask any Native American about that. Let’s not even get into the violence of slavery.

And if you believe that General Sulimeini was the first leader in another country that we have assassinated, please think again. By most counts, we are well into the double figures. I am including Osama Bin Laden in my list, but it also includes democratically elected leaders, such as Chile’s Salvador Allende.

And, our killing of Suliemani was not the first time we have been involved in having our way, so to speak, with an Iranian government.

In fact, some people date our present discord with Iran as being rooted in our 1953 overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government, thus ending democracy in that country.

Mohammad Mossadegh was elected in 1951 as the thirty-fifth prime minister of Iran. He remained in office until 1953, when he was overthrown in a coup d’état orchestrated by the CIA and Great Britain’s MI6.

His sin against the Western powers was that he had nationalized the oil industry. The end result was that the power of the Shah was solidified and popular rule undercut.

Of no small import is the fact that the United States became the Big Dog in Iran, heavily subsidizing the Shah and his government, which in turn kept the oil spigots open and Big Oil happy. As the Shah become increasingly despotic, general resentment toward the United States increased.

That resentment exploded in 1979 when the unpopular Shah was deposed and the United States embassy invaded and many of its staffers imprisoned. Although they were later released, Iranian-American relations remained poor for decades.

Now, the Child President has precipitously upped the ante and, if possible, increased the hostility between the two.

Openly assassinating the leading general of Iran was an option rejected by both Presidents Bush and Obama.

It is hard to say that those were more prudent times, but such are the days in which we live. Those were more prudent times.

The Child President can kill and disrupt peace one day and threaten to make things even worse the next.

To be sure, Suleimani was a bad actor and present-day Iran openly kills its own citizens and instigates troubles across the Middle East. It is hard to cry for them.

Let us not think in this, however, that the United States has the moral high ground.

My thought is that we are both Klingons.

Woe be to those who get caught in between.

And let us pray that the violence end now. Suleimani isn’t worth it.

Trump in Flight

A chain reaction was set off earlier today when CNN reported that Tuesday’s White House lockdown was due to the sighting of a “slow-moving blob” crossing the sky.

Learning of the report, Fox News broke into regular programming to announce that Donald Trump apparently had gained the ability to fly.

Pat Robertson and the Christian Broadcasting Network immediately followed with a news release proclaiming that God had given this ability to Trump in thanks for “Making America Great Again.”

Hard on the heels of that release, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Robert Jeffrees and Paula White said in a joint statement that the flight proved again that Trump was “The Chosen One.”

They also noted that Barack Obama had flown only with the assistance of airplane.

Trump himself added a final note by tweeting that while it was true God had given him the gift in thanks, it was also true that He had given it in worship.

The tweet also noted that “every one of the heavenly host” agreed that Trump was the greatest leader of all time.

Meanwhile, speaking off the record, national security officials said that the mysterious “blob” was likely a large flock of birds or a drone.

Have a Merry Starbucks Christmas (or Hannakkuh, Kwanzaa, Festivus, etc)!

Duck! The culture warriors are at it again!

One wishes that sanity would prevail in the annual Christian Christmas whine that rings out this time of year. You have probably heard it in the past, “Such-and-such or so-and-so or the liberals or the atheists or the such-and-such, so-and-so liberal atheists are trying to kill Christmas or take Christ out of Christmas.” Unfortunately, sanity remains elusive in 2015.

This year, the first notes in this virtually one-sided battle rang out last week as one Joshua Feuerstein took to Facebook with his peculiar brand of militant Christian ministry. Feuerstein posted an attack on Starbucks last Thursday noting that its annual holiday cup had nothing on it about Christ or Christmas. He added that the company hated Jesus. If you peruse his Facebook page, you will note that Mr. Feuerstein tends toward accusatory hyperbole. (He also has almost 2,000,000 “likes.”)

His Starbucks rant soon went viral and led to posts of all types on his page. Some were wholeheartedly in support, and some suggested that he might find a better outlet for Christian ministry than this. Some of the latter are discussed in a “Salon” article posted on Saturday.  Here is a link to a Fox news blog posted today discussing the issue.

I hope and pray that all of my Christian brothers and sisters will learn to deal with our pluralistic society in more constructive ways. Our society changes around us. It is well-documented that in the United States, both the number of those with other religious beliefs are increasing and the number of those with no religious beliefs are increasing. This Pew Research poll on the subject was posted last week. Moreover, past attempts to force beliefs on people have only been counterproductive and, sometimes, lethal. I am thinking here not only Christian brutality to non-Christians but also of brutality by others toward Christians.

Attacking red coffee cups with a company logo on them and the company itself are not the way to live out our beliefs. As noted by Starbucks, we are free to decorate the cups as we choose. We are also free to live out the commands of Christ. Vitriol, condemnation and judgement are not anywhere among them. Indeed, Christians might well note that the only people to whom Jesus spoke harshly were the “devout” people of the day. May we go about our ministry with a little more love, humility and service. May we also not be the ones to take Christ out of Christmas as Mr. Feuerstein threatens to do.