“Food, Not Bombs.” It’s the greatest-ever name for a peace group.
Today I’m starting a spin-off: Barbecues, Not Holocausts.
On the occasion of Memorial Day, I have a modest proposal: let’s give up on holocausts, and start doing barbecues instead.
The word holocaust means “burnt offering.” It comes from the Torah, which tells us that the smoky smell of burning meat offered up in sacrifice is “pleasing to God.”
Does God really have nostrils – and if so, does He love the smell of barbecue as much as I do? That’s a tricky theological question, worthy of posing to a Pope or a mu’tazalite. Personally, I don’t feel qualified to discuss the question of God’s alleged possession of human appendages, or whether He likes barbecue odors better than, say, freshly roasted coffee, or jasmine, or a pine forest after it rains.
One thing I can tell you, though, is that God DOES NOT like the smell of charred and burning human flesh.
This is made clear by the story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of his son Ishmael (or Isaac, if you prefer). The surface meaning, “Abraham was so faithful he would sacrifice the thing he loved most,” is what we mostly hear about from religious professionals. (They want us to obey THEM as assiduously as Abraham obeyed God.) But historically, the overflowing of God’s mercy that stayed the hand of Abraham represents the beginning of the end of human sacrifice. Prior to that event, people in the Middle East, North Africa, and many other parts of the world had a nasty habit of sacrificing their own children to the gods.
Abrahamic monotheism overthrows those “gods” – and the human sacrifice that was the main focus of their worship. It smashes the idols representing those “gods,” and overturns the altars where innocent children were slaughtered and roasted in their honor.
So if God doesn’t like burnt offerings of slaughtered humans, why do His followers keep doing it?
René Girard, in Violence and the Sacred, explains the scapegoating mechanism that underlies human sacrifice, which seems to be a central feature of most if not all primordial religions and social systems. The short version: Humans are imitative monkeys, whose big brains are mainly concerned with aping the desires and fulfilments of their fellows. As ubiquitous envy inexorably leads to social chaos, the group gradually turns its frustrations on a scapegoat. By uniting to kill or banish the scapegoat, the group re-establishes cohesion.
Classic examples of scapegoat sacrifices include: Jesus (sacrificed by the Jews and Romans according to the Gospel story); the Jews (sacrificed by the Nazis according to the holocaust story); and the unlucky winners of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.”
Another, wackier theory holds that the “gods” to whom humans sacrifice are actually ETs, jinns, or intra-dimensional beings that feed on pain, death, terror, and similar emotions. According to this theory, Abrahamic monotheism asks us to turn away from these false “gods” and the sacrifices they require, and instead worship the one Creator of everything.
Sounds like a good idea, if you ask me.
Unfortunately, today’s “liberated” post-religious West is still sacrificing its children to Moloch. And I’m not talking about the Finders of Lost Children, or what may or may not go on at Bohemian Grove.
I’m talking about war.
Today is Memorial Day – the day we Americans ritually sniff the charred flesh of the thousands of young people we have sacrificed to the gods of war – and pronounce it good.
Our latest excuse for murdering young humans and filling the air with smoke from their scorched flesh is called “The War on Terror.” The whole concept, of course, is a joke. Americans are more likely to be hit by lightning, or drown in their bathtubs, than be killed by any kind of terrorist. And, according to the FBI, radical Muslims commit only 6% of terrorist attacks in the US; radical Jews commit 7%, and leftists and hispanics commit far more than all Muslims and Jews put together.
President Obama recently suggested that we put this ludicrous, phantasmagoric “War on Terror” to bed. In response, the Three Stooges of the Senate – Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Saxby Chambliss – called a press conference to insist that the ancient and honorable practice of slaughtering young people for no good reason, and filling the air with the delicious smoke of roasted human flesh, must on no account be questioned.
If these three Senators, and their even more fanatical pro-human-sacrifice buddy Newt Gingrich, want to build a bonfire and immolate themselves, I say let them. Though I doubt that the redolence of their alcohol-soaked syphilitic and gangrenous flesh would be pleasing to anyone, least of all God, it might be worth enduring the stink for a few hours if that is the price of getting rid of them.
After that, we can:
*Do Obama one better and end the “War on Terror” now, not in the indefinite future.
*Implement JFK’s global disarmament plan – the real reason he was sacrificed in Dealy Plaza fifty years ago. (See Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable for details).
*Use all the money we save – not just the billions from the military, but the trillions from the bankers who finance it – to have a really big barbecue every Memorial Day in honor of JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm X, Paul Wellstone, and the other heroes who were immolated as human sacrifices by the unspeakable, satanic forces that insist we keep slaughtering our children in service to ludicrous legends and mythical “gods.”