Articles, Opinions & Views: Toxic religiosity more damaging than ineffective public policy - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy


 
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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

Photobucket
He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Toxic religiosity more damaging than ineffective public policy - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, April 01, 2020
Malaysiakini : “In order to be a part of the totalitarian mindset, it is not necessary to wear a uniform or carry a club or a whip. It is only necessary to wish for your own subjection, and to delight in the subjection of others.”-Christopher Hitchens
COMMENT | Before I begin, to people who thought that Sheena Gurbakhash’s article, “Why we should be bothered by gendered language during the lockdown” was mock-worthy, we now have this “advice” from the Women and Family Ministry, which seems like proto-Handmaid’s tale dogma.
The seeds of tyranny are always watered in times of turbulence, as they say. Rational women have always known they would bear the brunt of the attacks by the religious state and they would not be able to rely on other women to support their cause. Sermon over. I have often argued that the one idea that would most damage this country’s efforts in combating the Covid-19 virus is toxic religiosity. Not only this country, but also any country that has a religious component that is incestuously entwined with the political apparatus.
In America, for instance, the megachurch impresario Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was recently arrested for defying a “stay at home“ order issued by the authorities of Hillsborough County (Florida). The pastor had bused in parishioners and held a prayer vigil which sounded more like a political rally.
Howard-Browne, who prayed over the President of the US, Donald Trump, has argued, among other things, that the coronavirus was a hoax, that it was released by China to cripple the US, that globalists were subverting the US economy and that Russia, China and Iran were planning to launch an attack against the US.
Shockingly, all these are mainstream narratives for a certain segment of the US population are enabled by a Trumpian political class and online agitators. Normally, the antics of these buffoons would not be newsworthy but in the era of the coronavirus, the reality is that small groups of people can have a huge impact on the rest of society.
Donald Trump
While it is easy to dismiss their ideas, it is harder to ignore the impact of their defiance of public health orders and the impact this has on communities who may not share their views and, of course, the health infrastructure.
Now, some say that let these idiots kill themselves if they want to, but the problem is that these “idiots” will take the rest of us down with them. The reality is that a small number of uninformed, ignorant people acting on their faith could destroy the majority of us. They say ignorance kills but when it comes to ignorance enabled by religious fervour, it is worse.
In India, we have been witness to the state security apparatus breaking up religious gatherings and hitting adherents who refuse to comply with their restricted movement orders. India is struggling with this issue and the reality is that although class does play a part in this, the news media has been shocked by the encouraging of personalities who are claiming that this virus should not affect religious “obligations”.
In Malaysia, there are troubling signs that the political apparatus has not been able to get a handle on the religious tributaries that flow from the vast religious bureaucracy. Ismail Sabri Yaakob said last Saturday that there were still several mosques that were defying the movement control order (MCO).
“I’ve been made to understand that there are still five mosques continuing to have their Solat Jumaat (Friday prayers) despite the orders not to open and to pray at home. “Yesterday, in one of the districts a mosque had their Solat Jumaat and as a result, 116 people who attended the prayers have been arrested by the police,” Ismail said. Not only that, but hundreds of “foreign” workers were arrested around the same time for preparing to hold prayers in large groups despite an order from the federal authorities to restrict movements and gatherings.
Think about this for a minute. Not only has the state security apparatus and its various affiliates have to deal with citizens who flaunt the law for various reasons – some unintentional – they have to also be cognisant of the fact that there are people out there who are intentionally defying the law on religious grounds.
Part of the problem is that the religious bureaucracy has, for decades, been enforcing diktats that made it mandatory for communal prayer. Now, what state and religious personalities are attempting to do is encourage adherents to pray at home, in solitude. This is anathema to some religious people.
Add to this we have a migrant population – let us not be politically correct – who never had much use for the state security apparatus for various reasons and who congregate and pray in groups as is their cultural and religious custom. This is not going to change merely because the state decides that its laws supersede any religious obligations they believe they have. That’s the trouble with indoctrination, right?
Mujahid Yusof Rawa
As a former political operative from Umno recently told me, “One of the problems that the government has is that it really has no idea how big the 'religious industry' is here in Malaysia. Take religious schools, while there has been some tightening of rules for such establishments, nobody wants to be viewed as going against religious education. So, in all honesty, nobody really knows what going on until something bad happens.“
Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Pakatan Harpan's former religious czar, who found Zakir Naik inspiring, also is part of the problem. He enabled the religious bureaucracy and made the false equivalence argument in presenting liberals and religious extremists as one and the same. Liberals are staying at home or are busy trying to feed disenfranchised people while the religious extremists are defying the laws of the land and putting the whole of Malaysia in danger. Are they both the same, Mr Mujahid?
In an interview recently, the Singapore foreign minister said something extremely interesting about this pandemic. He said, “In fact, this is an acid test of every single country's quality of healthcare, standard of governance and social capital. If any one of this tripod is weak, it will be exposed, and exposed quite unmercifully by this epidemic.” What this has exposed in this country is that toxic religiosity has always been the genie in the bottle carelessly handled by the vast religious bureaucracy.
This pandemic has cracked that bottle.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 10:32 AM  
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