When was the last time you have heard – or seen in print – a casual racial or ethnic slur? Don Imus was fired for one. And don’t try any stupid Polish jokes or money hungry Jewish comments. But it seems that the casual Christian slur is still tossed out without a second thought.
I mention this because I was reading Dennis Gartman’s newsletter yesterday and ran across a comment that offended me.
First let me say that I think a great deal of Dennis Gartman. He and I are totally in tune economically and politically, so I was struck by a comparison he made that hit me as so unlikely that I felt I had to tell him what I thought.
To set the stage, Dennis wrote a section on Iranian politics on the assumption that the political turmoil there is not over and that it would be useful to know who the players were to keep score.
Here’s my e-mail:
I read the Gartman Letter in my office … and as a fellow resident of Tidewater Virginia I appreciate both your market and your political commentary. So it pains me to make my first message to you in the form of a disagreement.
Your Tuesday July 14th letter contained the following passage, referring to the “names” in Iran: “He is supported on the archly religious side by Ayatollah Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, who is the Iranian correlative to the fundamentalist Christian sects, here in the US.”
Despite the fact that I consider myself a fundamentalist Christian, I don’t handle snakes. I can’t remember the last time our congregation stoned an adulteress to death and we have not hung any homosexuals this year – or last year – if I remember correctly. We allow out womenfolk to go out without male supervision and don’t insist that they keep their hair covered lest we are overcome with lust.
Regarding the intersection of church and state, we’re not so much interested in imposing a theocracy as we are in making sure that no mention of Jesus escapes our lips in a public setting just in case the ACLU is listening. Our religious police mainly keep the church lawn mowed and the trash picked up in the parking lot. And I cannot imagine the leaders of the Baptists getting together with the Methodists to pre-screen the approved candidates for the next presidential election.
Other than that, Dennis, the correlation between us Christian fundamentalists and the Iranian Ayatollahs is so close that they are amazingly hard to tell apart. I use as clues the facial hair, the turban and the accent.
As I get older, and as I learn from people and groups whose prickliness gets results, I have decided that turning the other cheek is a good Biblical admonition, but perhaps returning the slap is simply one more sin for which I have to ask forgiveness.