Monday 29 March 2010

Killing for God: The Hutaree and My Favorite Film

On Monday eight individuals were indicted for plotting an attack against the government. The Hutaree is a Christian militia from Michigan who plans to fight against the anti-Christ and the government.

From their website ( joke):

"We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ...Jesus wanted us to be ready to defend ourselves using the sword and stay alive using equipment."

Their plan was to first, kill a policeman. At his funeral, they would then attack the many attending policemen - who, in their eyes, are footsoldiers of the evil government.

Shocked and disgusted at this American Christian version of jihad, I heard my mother say:

"Amazing. They're killing people just because 'God told them to.'"

This is the premise of my all-time favorite movie.

One might say Boondock Saints is different. These adorable Irish vigilantes only kill criminals - murderers, drug dealers, rapists - because God tells them to. They are essentially carrying out capital punishment that the law fails to, and therefore, are just in their actions.

While it's my favorite movie, the subject matter is perhaps taken much too lightly. Because in real life, some people actually think God tells them to kill... and in this current case, it's not criminals being put to death, it's any cop they come across, or anyone sporting a uniform or a badge.

One frightening resemblance between the Saints and the Hutaree is the language they use to describe themselves and their missions:

We will reach out to those who are yet blind in the last days of the kingdoms of men and bring them to life in Christ.

And Shepherds we shall be, for Thee, my Lord for thee. Power hath descended forth from they hand, that our feet may swiftly carry out they command. Flowing like a river forth are we, and teeming with souls shall it ever be.

-Boondock Saints

Boondock Saints makes it easier to understand, I think, how a group of people could believe they're right in killing others. But I think it's still amazing and shocking to see exactly the idea we've been fighting against overseas for years - holy war against the "evil" American government - happening right on our own soil, from our own people.

Looking beyond the cock: The positive side of Chatroulette

If you take away the masturbating men and the frequent requests for shirtless females, Chatroulette can be a channel of cross-cultural education and bonding.

The idea of the site is simple: you log on, hit a few buttons, and you're communicating with another random Chatrouletter via video, audio, and text. This was created by a 17-year-old Russian boy who wanted to make videochatting a more interesting experience for himself and his friends.

He could not have forseen the ways people would use this site: from broadcasting live porn to live concerts, college kids thousands of miles apart putting off homework together or smoking weed together, or Americans and Canadians arguing over certain things Americans and Canadians like to argue over.

My friends and I decided to check out this site and we met Rafa, a 19-year-old Spanish insomniac, waiting for morning to come so he could take an exam. He spoke to us in broken English and we typed to him in elementary Spanish, using hand signs and drawing pictures to fill in the gaps between our words. He described his view of Americans and our culture; we told him about typical American perceptions of Spain & Europe.

This is not a conversation I'd normally be able to have at 2 a.m. at UAlbany.

We met other characters that night: a guy pretending to be a cat, another who performed original rap songs for us, someone who rated us on a 1-10 scale of how entertaining we were.

Every "next" button is taking a chance. You might run into a naked creep, or a group of students hanging out, or Ben Folds live in concert with 2,000 people.