That sure didnt take long.
On Sept. 19, I wrote about our nations tendency to commercialize tragedy. We are doing just that with the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Mark my words, I wrote. Within days there will be a commemorative Beanie Baby. And we will buy it.
Well. Exactly one week later, Ty, Inc., announced the creation of America, a blue Beanie-bear with an American flag on its chest. All proceeds from the sale of the stuffed toy will go to the American Red Cross.
OK, Ive got daughters, so Ill probably buy three of em. And it is for a good cause. But do these marketers - and we consumers - have to be so predictible?
There are other things happening in the rippling aftershocks of the terror attacks that I want to comment on, too. So here we go.
God isnt a terrorist
Though his leftist enemies - as predictible as Ty, Inc. - have gone overboard in slamming the Rev. Jerry Falwell for blaming the ACLU, feminists and homosexuals for the terror attacks, I do agree he was wrong.
But Falwell is just one of many Christians portraying themselves in a see-I-told-you-so light for claiming they had been warning all along that God was going to deliver His wrath upon America for (take your pick): the absence of prayer in public schools; abortion; homosexuality; pornography; maybe even the proliferation of Beanie Babies.
Weve also endured the nutjob taunting from the Rev. Timothy Fellows Jr., whose idea of evangelism is to portray himself as doctrinally pure while claiming everyone else deserves to be murdered by terrorists.
Lindale, Texas preacher David Wilkerson even went so far as to presume to speak on Gods behalf, reporting the Almightys reason for the attacks: Ive stricken you, in hopes of saving you. I want to heal your land, to destroy your enemies, to bring you back into my blessing.
Enough. These people are jackasses. As my sainted Grandmother would assert, Thats not what my Bible says. These revrunts are the soul brothers of Islamic extremist mullahs who aid and abet Koranic kamikazes.
Unfortunately, the people who believe in a God who blesses suicide bombers or who destroys people to save them cannot be swayed by any scriptural argument - even though God pretty much got out of the civilization-smiting business after the Old Testament.
So, Ill turn to another authoritative source: The Onion.
A satirical magazine, the latest Onion (www.theonion.com) reports a press conference in which God rebuts those who justify the terror attacks in His name. Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I dont. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand.
Somehow, it all gets twisted around and, next thing you know, somebodys spouting off some nonsense about, "God says I have to kill this guy, its Gods will. Its not Gods will, all right? News flash: "Gods will equals "Dont murder people.
That applies to terrorists, too.
So what makes The Onion an authority? Well, gullible Christ-ians do. For months, some have circulated an Onion interview with J.K. Rowling, in which the Harry Potter author said her popular books were intended to attract children to Satanism.
Though the Onion interview was a hoax, it was swallowed hook, line and sinker by many Christians. Maybe some of the same misguided folks will see The Onions interview with God and this time learn a useful lesson: The Almighty sees every sparrow fall. But He doesnt knock them out of the tree.
Hooray for fund-raisers
Local people have always been generous, but they have outdone themselves on disaster relief.
Martinez Firefighters top the list, collecting about $25,000 in a boot drive last weekend. (Scrooge alert: Their bank - I wont say which one - wouldnt accept loose change. The firefighters were booted back to the station to roll the donated coins first. Shame, shame.)
Kids from all area high schools also pitched in, working toward a goal of $10,000. Nearly half of the money has been raised at Lakeside High, with more from a rock concert by student bands at Evans High.
And youve just got to salute the patriots at American Legion Post 192 in Evans, who raised more than $5,000 for the relief effort.
Care and prayer? Columbia County has lots of it.
Bring on the Beanies.
(Barry L. Paschal is opinions editor of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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