Open Letter to Mr. John McTernan

Dear Mr. McTernan:

Unfortunately, your comments in your recent blog post show more hatred and less love than I understand is appropriate to Christian beliefs.

This is not a time to sow dissent and the seeds of hatred. This is a time to pull together with all of our fellow beings on the earth to help those in need and to resolve huge problems that most of us would rather ignore. Please do not “blame” others for a problem that we have all been complicit in making.

Sometimes liberty requires struggle.
Sometimes liberty requires struggle (Tugboat in front of Statue of Liberty as Sandy approaches–AP Photo)

Like others of your ilk you ignore science and use your superstitious ignorance to view what’s happening in the world. Please don’t say that the climate change and weather catastrophes are either the fault of gays or some retaliation for policy toward Israel. This is ludicrous. Science has been predicting the type of situations you describe as part of man-made climate change.

Yes, people are to blame, you and me included–for greed, environment degradation, and not caring enough for this wonderful world of ours and our fellow humans. For profligate use of resources without stewardship, I am also guilty.

But it is not the fault of gays or Israel or policy toward Israel. The dates of the weather have to do with the orbit of the earth around the sun and its tilt on its axis (yes, it is a globe, yes it does orbit around the sun, and yes, hurricanes and other forms of severe weather have seasons), not with any loose associations you choose to make with things you don’t like. I could make similarly loose associations about things I don’t like.

If God is destroying America, as you claim, have you considered the possibility it is because you and other so-called Christians, Fundamentalists, have distorted His message and the words of the Prophets? Have you considered that it is YOU God is punishing, not those you don’t like? It seems to me that all of this weather stuff has gotten so much worse since the rise of so-called Christian Fundamentalism in American politics. You forgot to mention the hurricane that delayed the opening of the Republican Convention. Perhaps God wants the Tea Party to receive His message?

I don’t think that it does any good to think in this vein or in the vein of your own hate-filled words. I live in Israel. I am a Jew. The Rabbis held that anything repeated in the Bible is repeated to indicate its exceptional importance. Do you know how many times the Five Books of Moses (Torah) repeat the Ten Utterances (Ten Commandments)? Twice.

The God of Israel that I know repeats one commandment more than any other in the Bible that I read: love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. This speaks to compassion, Mr. McTernan, not to judgment and hate. It doesn’t appear only twice in the Torah. It appears 36 times (“Bava Metzia 59b reminds us that the Torah cautions us regarding behavior to a stranger 36 times, even more frequently than commandments to love G-d…”[1]). That’s 18 times more than the Ten Commandments.

And 18 is the number of life, Mr. McTernan, as it equates to the Hebrew word chai. Life requires compassion of us, Mr. McTernan. We are required to love the stranger (foreigner, Other).

So, rather than spread hate and divisiveness, maybe we should pay attention to the very real problem of climate change. God gave us some very powerful gifts to help us along and to help us watch over ourselves: our powers of observation, our brains, and our ability to communicate. Let’s use them together, okay? Let’s try to solve problems, rather than utter False Prophecies to further divide people from each other.

Or perhaps that is your goal? To divide us with hate?

I hope not.

Yours in Peace,

Michael Dickel, poet

Click here to read the original post that I am responding to on John McTernan’s Insights [sic].

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