and setup for the exploration)
The Anti-Valentine man stood up proudly to the invitation. "We have prayed over this," he said. "We have prayed devoutly, and Jesus has told us to be merciful. He told us to be merciful even with those that spit on him. Our Lord Jesus therefore tells us that the US military should drop neutron bombs in the Arab territories across the Middle East. Neutron bombs are fast and efficient. We have made a grave mistake before by not caring about what those Moslems did there. We thought that it would be enough for the Lord to let them be, for as long as they just killed off each other and the Jews. After all, for as long as the oil prices remained unaffected, why should we care? But the oil prices are now rising sharply in a spreading attack on our Christian economy, and on our Christian brothers who are oil-workers in these regions. Our brothers are being killed in the Arabs' little wars. Our Lord's message is, that for every Christian life that is lost many thousands of heathens must perish, and that for every single penny that the price of oil goes up another bomb should be dropped. That is how we must correct for our past errors for standing idly by. We Christians have given the Arabs money and technology so they could drill oil for us and thereby have a decent life. They had nothing before we came. We gave them what they have. Then, when the troubles began we gave the Christ-killers guns and bombs so they might keep each other in line. Now the ungrateful infidels are turning against us by restricting the flow of oil, and hiking the price to squeeze us that way. It is time to admit that we made a serious mistake in the past, and to correct it, and reclaim the land and the oil that we allowed them to have. Of course we have to do it mercifully in the name of our Lord Jesus. But we have to do what is necessary to protect the lives of Christians and the livelihood of the people of God, within the bounds of mercy. We must bear this burden. Neutron bombs are expensive, but they are also required in order to protect the historic Christian landmarks and the Christian holy sites. Of course there are none other. We must also protect our Christian oil infrastructures that Christian labor and money has built. The neutron bombs would protect all of that. They only kill people and leave the structures intact. The mosques, of course, can then give way to parking lots so that our holy sites become more accessible, like theme parks that every American or Christian everywhere would be able to visit with pride and retrace the steps of Jesus his Savior, and do it in complete safety and with safe Christian food. Our hope is that Christians may some day soon experience the Holy Land as it was meant to be experienced, unpolluted, completely Christianized as it once was. Fornication too, is pollution. Even the hint of it must be uprooted, because what isn't Christian has no place in the world and must not be allowed to endure. Nor will it endure. We will see to it, because it is merciful for us to send those people to hell who embrace it, and who thereby stand in the way of Jesus. They end up in hell anyway. It's merciful for us to get them there sooner, and to do it as painless as possible."
I watched the farmer while this travesty was unfolding. He covered his face with his hands. Finally he interrupted the speaker. "Have we learned nothing during the last half a century?" he said. "Your are still singing the same song that God is on our side on the highway of killing."
"Yes, God is on our side when we are on the side of Jesus," replied the anti-Valentine man. "With God's Son, our Lord, in our hearts, we are a meant to reclaim the Garden of Eden."
The farmer simply shook his head and covered his face again.
Another girl stood up, an archaeology student. "Our thinking is so tied up with ourselves," she said, "and with our arrogance, our poverty, and our self-centered feelings, mired in greed, pain, or just plain common need, that we can't step far enough away from this prison to look at the reality that surrounds us."
She identified herself as a Jewish person by birth and by religion, living in America. She turned to the previous speaker. "And you spat on me in the name of Jesus by calling us Jews, Christ-killers," she said.
She paused and looked at the anti-Valentine man, watching his reaction. "I suggest that you purchase yourself a mirror and look at yourself," she continued. "You have been ranting on in this hall about how rotten everybody is except yourself and those who spout out the name of Jesus. You have been raving about Jesus, but you have said not a word about the Christ, which Jesus had embodied according to his own words. If anybody has killed the Christ, you have done this yourself in your heart. To you the Christ, the spiritual idea of God that ennobles our humanity as human beings, is dead. It has not been killed by the Jews in ancient times, but here and now, by you. And from the rage, which I feel is tearing at your empty heart you wish to kill everyone that does not share your dark utter emptiness. So you stand before the world to call me a killer and demand my death. At the same time you offer your empty, blood stained heart to Jesus and defile thereby the very name of Christianity by being unable to even speak the word, Christ, as if it were a dirty word."
She paused again. "Nor do you know what you're talking about when you rail against the nudist beach project as if it were filth and fornication," she continued in a slow and deliberate speech. "Those courageous people have proposed that we all look at ourselves, and so we should. When I hear about the endless cycle of killing and retribution that my own country is involved in back home, I feel deeply ashamed. But what do I see? Do I see Jews killing Arabs, and Arabs killing Jews? No, that's not what I see. I see an image of a humanity that has become sick. I see an image of us all, of a sick society. The atrocities that I see and abhor are not carried out by visitors from Mars or from far beyond. They are carried out by human beings against human beings, and I can guarantee you that this insanity will continue for as long as we cannot find it in our hearts to look at one another as human beings and treat and honor one another accordingly. This means that we look eye to eye, and see a mind reflected behind it, and see in this mind the spiritual image of a human being, not male or female, not Muslim or Jew, or Christian, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or whatever, but human, something that should inspire a sense of awe and honor. This is required of us, because we all are above everything else human beings. The beach people have proposed that we should do this, which we have never done before, namely that we shed our robes, lay down the burka, remove the yarmulka, the turban, and whatever chip we have on our shoulder, and begin to see ourselves as human beings, male and female, because that is what we are. That is what we have to learn to honor, to respect, and to love one-another for if would be honest. If we fail this basic requirement, all the rest has no meaning. If we don't have a human heart, it doesn't matter whatever else we fancy ourselves to be, for we would defile it rather than honor it. This is what the beach people are trying to teach us. They have my vote and my love. I am surprised though," she added, "that both our noble preachers have not said a word about love as if it were not a part of Christian liturgy although the noted Apostle John had said that God is Love, and without love God cannot be seen in our lives."
She sat down. A few people applauded her.
The previous girl stood up again. "What is happening here has nothing to do with religion. The test of religion is love, the love of human beings for human beings, and for all that is human. This love is what the heart of every religion inspires, and what makes true religion so dangerous to every empire that ever was, so much so that the empires have been on a crusade for centuries to grind this universal love into dust. They do this out of desperation, because the development of this universal love would overturn the very notion of empire forever. That is why the gangsters of empire have to stop it. For this reason, religion has been perverted and destroyed and turned into an instrument of evil. For centuries the world has been awash in religious wars, even though the very term, religious war, is a contradiction in language. Religious war is insanity that is tolerated and is promoted by the churches. Just go back in time for a moment to the 15th Century when Isabella of Spain expelled the Jews. The church was drawn into the scene as the executioner in the process, but the real goal was to destroy the Golden Renaissance in Europe. The Jewish society had been singled out, because it provided a strong cultural and humanist economic background. The church became used as a tool to advance cultural destruction. Isabella, probably under the pressure of massive coercion, hired Thomas Torquemada to launch the Spanish Inquisition. Torquemada personally presided over 100,000 trials in which 90,000 people were convicted and 9,000 were burned to death at the stake. And that was just the beginning. By the time the Spanish painter Francisco Goya had painted his famous work, The Judicial Session of the Inquisition, 35,000 people had been burned alive by the church. And that too had been still just another beginning. In Goya's painting one of the clergy wears a cross on his chest. But it isn't the cross that Jesus bore. The cross that the clergyman wears is an imperial cross. Its sides are all of equal length and their ends are enlarged in such a manner that they form a circle. This may have been Goya's answer to the beastman ideology idealized by his contemporary, Count Joseph de Maistre, who described the terrifying execution of a man in gory detail, and calls it a necessity for the public good. He describes how a convicted man has his limbs shattered in a public scene of terror, whose broken limbs are then threaded into the spokes of a wheel where he is left to die in unspeakable agony. Goya has put the symbol of this wheel unto the clergy's chest that represented this kind of inhuman insanity. Only one man in history took on this symbol afterwards and made it his own, and gave it to a whole nation to wear. It's known today as the Nazi Swastika. One can almost see the shattered limbs threaded into the spokes of a wheel. Evidently the Nazi Swastika still rules," said the girl.
She added that Goya also painted the scene of a more modern execution to illustrate what an execution really represents. "The scene is that of a firing squad," she said. "The squad is aiming at a man during the mass-execution of peasants in Madrid by Napoleon's forces. We don't see the faces of the executioners in the painting, but we see what they are aiming at with their guns. In the painting they are aiming at a man arrayed in bright, spotless clothing, with his hands held high, reminiscent to the pose of a man nailed to a cross. One can even see a nail mark in one of his hands. Goya is telling us that the real target for execution is always the Christ, the Christ in humanity, the Christ that represents the Principle of Universal Love. The real target is love, and the goal is the destruction of love. That's what terrorism accomplishes. Goya knew this, and so did Hitler. Goya forced us to see with our own eyes what the executioners were aiming at. He puts us into their stead. Now let me ask you how many of us in this room do have their finger on the trigger, ready to pull the man down."
The girl paused and then simply took her seat again.