By Aaron Jai Lee
In 1999 it was mail order Jesus action figures and other sacrilegious paraphernalia. That year in Detroit, a Delta Airline employee refused to check me in for my flight back to California because I wore a piss colored t-shirt of Jesus with the caption “Kill Your Idols.” Their religion is ‘don’t fuck with Jesus’ and I fucked with Jesus.
In 2006 it was Danish cartoons of Mohammad. I published a reactionary piece on a major website at that moment about the hypocrisy of appealing to Enlightenment values for recourse when one actively rejects them (ie Free Speech, etc.). I (or my cryptic pen name’s initials KW) shared bylines with Ayan Hirsi Ali and Christopher Hitchens. Got fatwah death threats and lots of people took down their pieces. But I loved the smell of my own farts so I gladly kept the piece up there until I realized nobody believed me when I said I wrote it. And I wrote some bullshit. It was a bad year.
In 2019 it’s Hindu god bathmats and toilet seat covers sold by Amazon (https://www.thehindu.com/business/amazon-faces-backlash-for-selling-toilet-seat-covers-rugs-with-images-of-hindu-gods/article27151517.ece ). But really, that started in 2018 with Hindu Nationalists boycotting Amazon for associating with an Indian celebrity who publicly condemned the rape of a child.
Here are a few sample links: https://indianexpress.com/article/trending/trending-in-india/swara-bhaskar-boycott-amazon-india-campaign-kathua-rape-case-justice-for-our-child-poster-twitter-reactions-5147224/
But this one is choice:
“Earlier this year, in mid-February, Amazon fired Emmy Award-winning actor, Jeffrey Tambor, from the show Transparent, after a speedy, three-month internal inquiry into sexual harassment claims, brought against him by two of his transwomen colleagues. Needless to say, while Tambor was unhappy with the treatment meted out to him based on “false accusations”, Amazon held its ground in an effort to prove its commitment to ensuring that their “workplace respects the safety and dignity of every individual”, as Jill Soloway, creator of the show, stated.
This wasn’t the first time that Amazon found itself in the midst of a sexual harassment controversy. Only a month earlier, the then-head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, had found himself in the eye of the Harvey Weinstein storm. He had allegedly done nothing, despite being repeatedly informed of Weinstein’s reprehensible behaviour towards female colleagues. The situation was further exacerbated by sexual harassment claims made by Isa Hackett, a producer on the TV series The Man in the High Castle, against Price himself. The retail giant was quick to suspend Price (who subsequently resigned) and send out a memo to its employees, reassuring them of its zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment and abuse.
In both instances, the swift action taken by the company sent a clear message to its employees, consumers and the public at large that, Amazon, as a brand, believed in supporting women in their struggle against patriarchy and sexual violence…
Amazon India allowed itself to be bullied on social media, by the fanatic Hindu right, into dissociating itself from Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker simply because she had vocally protested the horrific rape and murder of a child.”
As pointed out, Amazon made a big deal out of women’s rights in the US and backed off it in India. Their religion is money. Surprised? As for the Hindu nationalists, in addition to voting for Modi, who himself is a fascist, they have seen that Amazon will bend to religious pressure, no matter how repugnant (because why have a moral point of view when it comes to business?) so they’re seeing how far they can push it.
Religion is a hypnotic trigger that activates all sorts of irrational behaviors… ha ha, I say irrational as if we are rational beings. Let us say then that religion activates behaviors in the human most people would rather keep suppressed in most situations.
Is it possible to have a morality that transcends religion?
That depends whether you think your own religion has bullshit. If you think no, then you probably can’t think meta-religiously either.
Of course, this could be a Jewish point of view that mocks all religion to subvert the power structures and weaken the civilization so that Jews can take over… lol. Another way of looking at it is that Jews mock anyone and everyone. Including themselves. If you don’t believe me, then you’ve never heard the song ‘Have A Banana’ sung to the melody of ‘Hava Negilah.’
There’s only one thing Jews find too sacred to joke about: the Holocaust. The real Jewish religion is ‘don’t kill us.’ But really isn’t that the universal religion? Don’t murder kids? Don’t rape?
Religion gets used as a way of humanizing the in-group and de-humanizing the out group. Otherwise rational people get hijacked into going along with some stupid shit. And since religiosity turns conflicts into Mexican stand-offs, who is willing to back down?
If the stakes with religion are so great, does it really make sense to antagonize conflicts over cartoons and shower curtains? Kill your idols. You’ll be much happier for it.