Longform Links – Preachers, Anti-Semitism, Global Food Crisis

The Unapologetic Mexican – Three Gods, An Ocean of Blood, and a Sodden Press

In Jeremiah Wright’s story, the entire point—given you sussed out the arc and weren’t just hearing a couple sentences—was that in this world where so many things are impermanent and will turn and harm you when you thought they would not, there is but one constant, and that constant is God. So don’t rely on these impermanent and sometimes disastrous structures. He tells of the history of blacks, and how they have hung on and weathered the many tribulations visited upon their kind, and again, his point is that through all this, you are going to be all right if you put your faith in God. Putting it anywhere else—even in something as mighty as America—is not the answer.

Wright’s God is one who is benevolent and consistent; a refuge and a sanctuary through all time passing, even in horror-filled years.

Measure this against Falwell’s and Hagee’s contexts: They tell a tale of a God who is judgmental and sociopathic, who sees people “sinning” (I’m sure we are all not in agreement that being gay and proud of it or being a Feminist is “sinning’) and visits death, pain, sorrow and huge loss upon them. Theirs is a vicious God who sees Feminism, Abortion, Secularists, and Gays—and brings destruction and mass-murder upon them. And calls it just.

In the wake of great disaster, Wright tells his followers that times are dangerous but to hold on, to remember the Constant, to take solace in a God who will not abandon them.

In the wake of great disaster, Falwell smugly gloats over the deaths of those who his God would rather see dead than live a life not in line with Falwell’s beliefs.

In the wake of great disaster, Hagee smugly gloats over the piles of bodies and rot that lay in the sun and exposed our national inequities and priority of care, and he calls it payback.

And in this modern day when we have access to computers, books, YouTube, and many forms of media that we might access and investigate the entire context and beliefs of figures like these, the pundits ignore these obvious differences and deem Wright the scary and dangerous one.

New York Times – Simmering Anti-Semitism Mars a Culturally Vibrant Hungary

A young woman (who knows whether she was just intending to make trouble) walked into a ticket office in the traditionally Jewish 13th District in this Hungarian capital several weeks ago and asked about Hungarica, an obscure extremist far-right band.

The woman said the ticket agents called her a fascist and threw her out. The agents said that she spouted anti-Semitic abuse when told the office didn’t handle that event. A little later somebody tossed a Molotov cocktail outside the office. Then a blogger, Tamas Polgar, with the screen name Tomcat urged neo-Nazis to rally at the ticket office, and about 30 turned up on April 7 along with 300 counterdemonstrators. Tomcat called for a second rally, four days later, and about 1,000 more extremists were met that time, across police barricades, by 3,000 antifascists, including the beleaguered Hungarian prime minister, Ferenc Gyurcsany, and the former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

It’s hard to know whether to feel disheartened by the large showing of neo-Nazis or encouraged by the larger opposition to it. It turns out that aside from the well-documented rise of the far right, Jewish culture has also been conspicuously on the rise here.

That said, anti-Semitism can thrive even in the absence of a single Jew. History has proved that repeatedly.

NY Times – Indians Find U.S. at Fault in Food Cost

Instead of blaming India and other developing nations for the rise in food prices, Americans should rethink their energy policy — and go on a diet.

The purchases and disposal of food by typical American shoppers have tongues wagging bitterly at Indian research institutes.

That has been the response, basically, of a growing number of politicians, economists and academics in this country, who are angry at statements by top United States officials that India’s rising prosperity is to blame for food inflation.

The debate has sometimes devolved into what sounded like petty playground taunts over who are the real gluttons devouring the world’s resources.

For instance, Pradeep S. Mehta, secretary general of the center for international trade, economics and the environment of CUTS International, an independent research institute based here, said that if Americans slimmed down to the weight of middle-class Indians, “many hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa would find food on their plates.”

He added, archly, that the money spent in the United States on liposuction to get rid of fat from excess consumption could be funneled to feed famine victims.

Mr. Mehta’s comments may sound like the macroeconomic equivalent of “so’s your old man,” but they reflect genuine outrage — and ballooning criticism — toward the United States in particular, over recent remarks by President Bush.