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America’s Newest Export: Jesus

No, it’s not true that America has to import everything and that we have nothing to contribute to the rest of the world. We do too.

Even as we speak, boatloads of Bible-totin fire-and-bri mstone-spewi ng Christians are being shipped out to ports all up and down Europe and Britain. They’re cheaper by the gross.

Ah heck, maybe this will do ‘em some good. Europeans are too bland; too much ennui and sophisticati on. Maybe a little holy rollin’ and hootin’ and hollerin’ will inject some life into them.

Answers in Genesis is an American organization — based in Kentucky — that’s trying to spread Creationism throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Battles over Creationism vs. Evolution have actually been spreading to Britain, Germany, Poland and Italy.

Creationism is still pretty much marginalized in Europe, but it’s increasing. Evangelical worship is spreading all over the Continent. Don’t they have enough problems already?

And now some homegrown organization s are following in the footsteps of Answers in Genesis. A British group called Truth in Science has been sending DVDs to every high school in Britain, trying to argue for “intellige nt design.” And if that’s not bad enough, an organization called AH Trust wants to build a Christian theme park in northwestern England.

The president of Britain’s National Secular Society (founded in 1866) is concerned about the increasing spread of Evangelicals  : “Creationi sm is creeping into the schools. There is a constant pressure to get these ideas into the schools.”

Simon Barrow is the co-director of Ekklesia, a British-base d, Christian-or iented research group. He says that until recently, there were lots of people who held Evangelical views but also endorsed mainstream science. He says the militancy and the “either-or” battles have been imported from the United States in the last few years. “There is a lot of American influence, and there are a lot of moral and political and financial resources flowing from the United States to here. Now you have more extreme religious groups trying to get a foothold.”

The Council of Europe is a human rights watchdog group consisting of 47 countries. They’re worried about the quality of education in Europe being jeopardized if their schools are flooded with Creationism and other religious dogma. They’re right to be worried. All they have to do is look across the Atlantic. Note the extreme mass gullibility and lack of critical thinking skills in that country. Be very afraid.

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Doing business with human rights violators

This isn’t an overtly “religion and politics” post, though I think this ties in quite well with the concept Ubuntu, a Bantu language word used in post-Aparthe id South Africa to refer to what Archbishop Desmond Tutu defined as “my humanity being inextricably bound up in what is yours and vice versa.”

About two weeks ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York ruled that a broad group of multinationa l companies must face a $400 billion dollar lawsuit, which accuses them of aiding South Africa’s repressive Apartheid regime during its reign. The suit, brought forward by victims including those who were tortured and family members of those who were killed under the brutally racist system, alleges that the dozens of companies involved in the lawsuit knowingly helped the Apartheid regime by selling it weapons and providing financing and loans, while benefiting from Apartheid government policies that gave corporations cheap labor and loads of government services.

I can’t see anything but good news in this, as the one thing that might make companies cease doing business with internationa l human rights violators is a $400 billion wake up call. Among the companies included in this South Africa lawsuit include JPMorgan Chase, General Motors, Credit Suisse, Citigroup, Exxon Mobil and IBM, to name a few. All did business with the Apartheid regime, even though these companies knew that the regime officially called for the separation of the races, practiced forced resettlement for non-whites, criminalized interracial marriage, and instituted policies that created white-only hospitals, white-only busses, and white-only business zones. That’s not to mention the regime’s policies on cracking down on those who fought against Apartheid, which resulted in the torture, detention and murder of scores of citizens.

The Bush administrati on opposes this lawsuit, saying that lawsuits against companies that knowingly do business with human rights repressive regimes hampers “the policy of encouraging positive change in developing countries through economic development. ” It’s thinking like this, though, that has allowed companies to reap billions of dollars of profits off of violence in South Africa, Burma, Sudan, and the like, while citizens in those countries are systematical ly beaten, raped, tortured, detained, and often times killed.

This lawsuit still has a few mountains to climb before any group of Apartheid victims can claim victory, or before some measure of accountabili ty is obtained for companies that tacitly supported Apartheid with their services and investments.  

But for now, let’s hope the reverberatio ns of this $400 billion lawsuit are giving companies second thoughts about doing business with known human rights violators. I’m immediately reminded of another Desmond Tutu quote: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

Similarly, if you are neutral in situations of injustice, but you make a steady profit off of those who continually oppress (Citigroup, IBM, Exxon Mobil, and the others), you have chosen the side of the oppressor. Here’s hoping the courts reaffirm this message as the lawsuit moves forward.

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