Visible light image of the Helix Nebula, compiled from Hubble telescope and ground-based images in 2004. the Helix Nebula known also as The Eye of God, The Helix or NGC 7293. It is a large planetary nebula (PN) located in the constellation of Aquarium. It was discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding around 1854 and is one of the closest to the Earth of all the bright planetary nebulae. The Eye of God is about 700 light-years from the Earth. Credit: NASA, ESA and C.R. O'Dell (Vanderbilt University)
A few days ago, I listened to The Story on NPR where I heard an interview with Rosemary Stewart Stafford, daughter of mixed race parents, who infiltrated white supremacist hate groups when she was an adult. One of these groups, Christian Identity, is a right wing “religious” sect that has embraced Anglo-Israelism, a belief that Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Scandinavian, German and related cultures are racial descendents of the tribes of
They have extended this to racist and homophobic beliefs and believe Jews to be descendants of Satan. In the radio interview, Rosemary Stafford told of talking with one member of a group she had infiltrated who actually called for the murder of all who are not part of the perceived special Anglo-Israelite group. The reason? To clean the earth of all undesirables so Jesus could return to the earth. You can listen to it here.
Once again, religion is used as a conduit for hatred!
On the same day I heard the NPR interview, someone posted the text of “A Letter from God” on her Facebook wall. It was originally broadcast by Paul Harvey. You can hear it here.
I’m posting the text below. It puts things into perspective in modern vernacular as if God is writing us a letter:
My Dear Children (and believe me, that's all of you),
I consider myself a pretty patient Guy. I mean, look at the Grand Canyon. It took millions of years to get it right. And how about evolution? Boy, nothing is slower than designing that whole Darwinian thing to take place, cell by cell and gene by gene. I've even been patient through your fashions, civilizations, wars and schemes, and the countless ways you take Me for granted until you get yourselves into big trouble again and again.
But on this occasion of My Son's birthday, I want to let you know about some things that are starting to tick me off.
First of all, your religious rivalries are driving Me up a wall. Enough already! Let's get one thing straight: These are your religions, not Mine. I'm the Whole Enchilada; I'm beyond them all. Every one of your religions claims there's only one of Me (which, by the way, is absolutely true). But in the very next breath, each religion claims it's My favorite one. And each claims its bible was written personally by Me, and that all the other bibles are man-made. Oh, Me. How do I even begin to put a stop to such complicated nonsense?
Okay, listen up now: I'm your Father and Mother, and I don't play favorites among My Children. Also, I hate to break it to you, but I don't write. My longhand is awful, and I've always been more of a "doer" anyway. So all your books, including the bibles, were written by men and women. They were inspired, remarkable people, but they also made mistakes here and there. I made sure of that, so that you would never trust a written word more than your own living Heart.
You see, one Human Being to me -- even a Bum on the street -- is worth more than all the holy books in the world. That's just the kind of Guy I Am. My Spirit is not an historical thing, It's alive right here, right now, as fresh as your next breath.
Holy books and religious rites are sacred and powerful, but not more so than the least of You. They were only meant to steer you in the right direction, not to keep you arguing with each other, and certainly not to keep you from trusting your own personal connection with Me.
Which brings Me to My next point about your nonsense: You act like I need you and your religions to stick up for Me or "win souls" for My Sake. Please, don't do Me any favors. I can stand quite well on my own, thank you. I don't need you to defend Me, and I don't need constant credit. I just want you to be good to each other.
And another thing: I don't get all worked up over money or politics, so stop dragging My name into your dramas. For example, I swear to Me that I never threatened Oral Roberts. I never rode in any of Rajneesh's Rolls Royces. I never told Pat Robertson to run for president, and I've never ever had a conversation with Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, or Jimmy Swaggart! Of course, come Judgment Day, I certainly intend to...
The thing is, I want you to stop thinking of religion as some sort of loyalty pledge to Me. The true purpose of your religions is so that you can become more aware of Me, not the other way around. Believe Me, I know you already. I know what's in each of your hearts, and I love you with no strings attached. Lighten up and enjoy Me. That's what religion is best for.
What you seem to forget is how mysterious I Am. You look at the petty little differences in your scriptures and say, "Well, if this is the Truth, then that can't be!" But instead of trying to figure out My Paradoxes and Unfathomable Nature -- which, by the way, you never will -- why not open your hearts to the simple common threads in every religion?
You know what I'm talking about: Love and respect everyone. Be kind. Even when life is scary or confusing, take courage and be of good cheer, for I Am always with you. Learn how to be quiet, so you can hear My Still, Small Voice (I don't like to shout). Leave the world a better place by living your life with dignity and gracefulness, for you are My Own Child. Hold back nothing from life, for the parts of you that can die will surely die, and the parts that can't, won't. So don't worry, be happy (I stole that last line from Bobby McFerrin, but he stole it from Meher Baba in the first place.)
Simple stuff. Why do you keep making it so complicated? It's like you're always looking for an excuse to be upset. And I'm very tired of being your main excuse. Do you think I care whether you call me Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Wakantonka, Brahma, Father, Mother, or even The Void or Nirvana? Do you think I care which of My Special Children you feel closest to -- Jesus, Mary, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed or any of the others? You can call Me and My Special Ones any name you choose, if only you would go about My business of loving one another as I love you. How can you keep neglecting something so simple?
I'm not telling you to abandon your religions. Enjoy your religions, honor them, learn from them, just as you should enjoy, honor, and learn from your parents. But do you walk around telling everyone that your parents are better than theirs? Your religion, like your parents, may always have the most special place in your heart; I don't mind that at all. And I don't want you to combine all the Great Traditions into One Big Mess. Each religion is unique for a reason. Each has a unique style so that people can find the best path for themselves.
But My Special Children -- the ones your religions revolve around -- all live in the same place (My Heart) and they get along perfectly, I assure you. The clergy must stop creating a myth of sibling rivalry where there is none.
My Blessed Children of Earth, the world has grown too small for your pervasive religious bigotry and confusion. The whole planet is connected by air travel, satellite dishes, telephones, fax machines, rock concerts, diseases, and mutual needs and concerns. Get with the program! If you really want to help Me celebrate the birthday of My Son Jesus, then commit yourselves to figuring out how to feed your hungry, clothe your naked, protect your abused, and shelter your poor. And just as importantly, make your own everyday life a shining example of kindness and good humor. I've given you all the resources you need, if only you abandon your fear of each other and begin living, loving, and laughing together.
Finally, My Children everywhere, remember whose birth is honored on December 25th, and the fearlessness with which He chose to live and die. As I love Him, so do I love each one of you. I'm not really ticked off, I just wanted to grab your attention because I hate to see you suffer. But I gave you Free Will, so what can I do now other than to try to influence you through reason, persuasion, and a little old-fashioned guilt and manipulation? After all, I Am the original Jewish Mother. I just want you to be happy, and I'll sit in The Dark. I really Am, indeed, I swear, with you always. Always. Trust In Me.
Your One and Only,
The Story on NPR:
Paul Harvey's Letter From God:
Teaching Tolerance (an excellent resource):
More about the Helix Nebula:
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090303.html (A similar picture of the one above)