Saint Obama, Arabic Obama

Spotted recently at a trendy fashion boutique in San Francisco:


When a different store in San Francisco (a novelty gag store) stocked the same candles (which feature Obama’s head on St. Martin de Porres’ body), the local Catholic priest called for a boycott of the store. I can’t decide which is more amusing: San Francisco’s non-religious hipsters worshipping Obama like a holy saint — or a priest actually thinking such worship is blasphemous.


The same boutique also featured these Obama T-shirts with an Arabic slogan above his face. Anybody able to translate it?

63 Responses to “Saint Obama, Arabic Obama”

  1. 1Fenris on Apr 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm:

    I can’t help but notice they put the wrong puppy breed on the candles.

  2. 2dm60462 on Apr 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm:

    Why would you think it amusing that a priest took a stand against the desecration of the image and honor of one of the Church’s holy saints? And, Fenis, “they” didn’t “get the wrong puppy breed on the candle”. That is the dog in a famous image of St Martin, who ran a veterinary hospital in Peru. Being too cool for the room is unbecoming, even for you, Zombie.

  3. 3zombie on Apr 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm:

    #2 dm60462
    Why would you think it amusing that a priest took a stand against the desecration of the image and honor of one of the Church’s holy saints? … Being too cool for the room is unbecoming, even for you, Zombie.

    I think it’s amusing for three reasons:

    First of all, we don’t live in a theocracy, so people are allowed to be “blasphemous” if they so choose.

    Secondly, Obama-worship is totally commonplace across modern liberal America. This candle is absolutely nothing compared to the insane number of songs, vigils, shrines, videos, love-essays and just plain hysterical groveling over Obama. The only thing that distinguishes the candle is its Catholic-style veneer — which, suddenly, makes the Obama-worship “outrageous,” as if it hadn’t been outrageous before.

    And thirdly, one would think that perhaps the priest would be happy that Catholicism is at least relevant enough to be co-opted. What would be worse is being completely ignored and forgotten by mainstream society.

    Obama will probably be a Catholic saint 100 years from now anyway, so perhaps the candle-maker is just getting a jump on the competition.

  4. 4Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake on Apr 17, 2009 at 6:46 pm:

    That’s not Arabic. Or any other real language. The letters aren’t connected properly right-to-left, which means the person who entered the text didn’t know how to change their computer settings to handle right-to-left text, which means they had no clue what they were writing. The second two words are (sorta) recognizable as “Allah America”, but what were trying to mean by “libawk” is beyond me.

  5. 5average_guy on Apr 17, 2009 at 9:29 pm:

    Those candles are hilarious. I don’t know why, I just find them to be that way.

    The shirt would be hip with a kafiya. Maybe it says “I’m an infidel who can’t wait to pay the jizya”.

  6. 6Ed on Apr 17, 2009 at 10:18 pm:

    Zombie: “I can’t decide which is more amusing: San Francisco’s non-religious hipsters worshipping Obama like a holy saint — or a priest actually thinking such worship is blasphemous.”

    *Dude!!!* That is about the most offensive thing I have ever seen you write, and it shocks the hell out of me.

    You know what *I* find amusing? Jews getting all worked up about anti-semetic blood libels.

    1) First of all, we don’t live in a theocracy, so people are allowed to be “anti-semetic” if they so choose.

    2) Anti-semitism is commonplace accross the progressive left in America, but it is nothing compared to the anti-semitism you will find overseas.

    3) Being such a small minority in America, you would think the Jews would be *thankful* that we even pay any attenion to them at all. If we didn’t pay attenion to their “Jewy” rituals and just ignored them, that would be horrible for them.

    I’m not expecting this candle to cause you to expend massive amounts of energy defending the Catholic faith. But to *smirk* at the idea that a Catholic priest would take his own faith seriously enough to want to defend it is appalling. Hell, I’m not Catholic, but I respect this guy for defending his own faith. I don’t want to Priest to start throwing bombs, but just saying “Hey, that’s messed up” seems to be appropriate.

  7. 7Ed on Apr 17, 2009 at 10:26 pm:

    Zombie, I’m not trying to be a dick here. I respect the heck out of what you do and what you stand for. And I don’t think my opinion carries any weight here, or is any more important than anyone elses. And if I came across as dickish, that wasn’t my intent.

    And you’re the rock star with a kick-ass blog. I’m just some simple commenter.

    But seriously, reading your post and your comment number three shocked the heck out of me.

    Anyway, that’s enough out of me. Peace out Zombie, and Shalom.

  8. 8Ed on Apr 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm:

    Ah, hell. You should never post a comment when you’re pissed. Simmer down, take a few deep breaths and wait a few minutes before you hit the “Post Comment” button.

    I’ll try to take my own advice in the future. I gotta work on that.

    Good night everyone.

  9. 9zombie on Apr 17, 2009 at 10:43 pm:

    Ed:

    Actually, in America, one is allowed to be anti-Semitic, so your sarcastic point #1 falls flat. You were trying to show how my comment was erroneous, but you only ended up confirming my point.

    As for points 2 and 3: Imitating a Catholic candle because it looks so cool and wishing your hero was a saint is a compliment to Catholicism. See what I’m trying to say? It’s not the equivalent of anti-Semitism, because anti-Semites hate everything about Jews and Judaism; people who imitate Catholic imagery are doing so because they find it appealing and worth imitating. Sure, to a humorless priest such co-option might seem offensive, but the rest us of see it as simply postmodern. I’m not Catholic, and I’m definitely a hardcore Obama cynic, so to me the whole thing just seems ludicrous in the extreme.

    As for the priest’s call for a boycott: Apparently he lives in a protected cocoon. The amount and severity of Catholic-bashing in modern culture is overwhelming, and this candle is about the mildest “blasphemy” I’ve ever seen. At least the candle isn’t in a jar of urine.

  10. 10Ed on Apr 17, 2009 at 11:43 pm:

    OK, I’m calm and cool and playing nice, so I’ll respond.

    Point 1) I wasn’t trying to show that your first point was erroneous. It is factually correct. In America, you are allowed to be blaphemous. And my 1st sarcastic point is factually correct too. You are allowed to be anti-semitic. So again, I wasn’t trying to show that your point was erroneous, just that I found it… unpersuasive or off topic. If we asked the priest if you are allowed to be blasphemous in America, I’m pretty sure he would say you are allowed to do so. 1st Amendment. But he would then say that the same 1st Amendment allows him to call for a boycott. Now, if the priest had been saying that the store should not be allowed to sell this because it is blasphemous, 1st Amendment be damned, then your first point would be very pertinent. But since to the best of my knowledge the priest wasn’t calling for that, my reaction to your first point was “yes, this is true, and…?”

    Next, your explanation / clarification of point 2 and 3 have a lot of points or opinions that I agree with and some I don’t. But my opinon is just that. Actually though, the whole “intent vs impact” and semiotics and co-option vis a vis postmodernism can be fascinating to read and debate about. However, to do so in the comments section can be exhausting and take HOURS of time. If you want to throw this back and forth, I’ll try to keep up for a while, but I don’t want to thread jack this, or waste your time.

  11. 11Aviv on Apr 18, 2009 at 12:33 am:

    Following up Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake: Word on left is probably “li-Barack”, or “to Barack”.

    So it’s a typed-backwards, letters-disconnected, misspelled, gramatically incorrect rendition of “To Barack, God of America”.

  12. 12Starless on Apr 18, 2009 at 4:44 am:

    Sorry, Ed, but Zombie is right. The priest has gone overboard with his outrage. The candle isn’t “hateful”, it’s adoring. The priest may shake his head and cluck over the misguided materialism but calling for a boycott is too much.

    And it doesn’t really matter what the t-shirt says or whether it’s accurate as long as it looks cool hanging next to your Che t-shirt. It reminds me of the Chinese character tattoo fad.

  13. 13Bakunin on Apr 18, 2009 at 3:58 pm:

    If it is from a hipster store, why assume that is obama-worship? Aren’t hipsters hipsters because they are hip-ly cynical?

    One could interpret it, if one wished, as a mocking of obama, not worshiping of obama.

  14. 14Starless on Apr 19, 2009 at 5:59 am:

    #13 Bakunin

    The hipsters are being hip-ly cynical about religion. If you have proof that hipsters have now become cynical about Obama, I’d like to see it. So far, they’ve only demonstrated an uncharacteristic lack of cynicism about him.

  15. 15SSG David Medzyk on Apr 19, 2009 at 3:34 pm:

    Personally……I laughed as much as Zombie did :)

  16. 16mts1 on Apr 19, 2009 at 6:07 pm:

    Blasphemy is a nuance thing. One man’s sarcasm or dry humor is another’s offense. The best way is to see what message the artist is trying to convey.

    I doubt that the candle’s maker is making fun of a Catholic prayer candle as much as he’s making fun of people’s devotion to Obama being as intense as devotion to a real Catholic saint, candle and all. As a Catholic, I recognize that as the St. Martin of Porres candle, with just the face changed to Obama. Now the Baby Jesus butt plugs you had shown at one of the homosexual street fairs, there’s no way the maker of those isn’t making a mockery out of Christian faith. That is unvarnished blasphemy. Same as the Piss Christ artwork from years back that got NEA funding.

    As far as the priest being over the top with his boycott, yeah, maybe so, but we don’t have to live in a theocracy to allow someone to make a counterpoint; someone does something, someone else counters, and people decide who’s right, to their satisfaction.

  17. 17Stone K on Apr 20, 2009 at 3:16 am:

    Zombie,

    While I agree with you nearly 100%… You are wrong to say the priest should not be outraged.

    In a traditional catholic family (particularity with roots in south America) St. Martin is an important saint. To peel his face off a candle intended to curry favor with the saint himself and paste on the picture of a man who is a vocal opponent to a number of catholic views is a total outrage.

    Sure in today’s world the notion of saints being vital to the day to day events a person encounters seems silly and naive, but there is something to it. My mother and her siblings had a long history of medical issues as children, my mom was going blind, an uncle was born sickly and faced death countless times. My grandmother was a very religious person and insisted that the saints be respected and prayed to.

    My mom honored St. Lucy and by her teens she not only was no longer blind, her eye sight returned and was better than it had been growing up (mind you this was 1950′s El Salvador, not exactly the haven of modern medicine. The doctors all said she would be blind by the age of 16). And my sickly uncle prayed to St. Martin and miraculously recovered from the illnesses that plagued him since birth.

    Now can I say this was the power of the saint? No… But I can say saints have a vital role in the lives of traditional Catholics, to mock and mutilate it so openly is an insult.

    Boycott… Over the top and pointless…
    Outrage… Well deserved.

    BTW… Obama will NEVER be a Catholic saint… EVER!

  18. 18Starless on Apr 20, 2009 at 3:59 am:

    #16 mts1

    I assume the candle’s maker is more concerned about making money more than anything. Same for the shop owner. The hipster customers, OTOH, likely have more complicated motivations (yeah, yeah, armchair psychology and all of that)–they can be both hip and unhip at the same time. The candle can say, “Look at how ironic [about Obama] and cynical [about religion] I am,” and, “I really do worship this guy though I don’t want to admit it directly, so I’ve got this amusing candle to do it for me”.

    #17 Stone K

    I can see how a devout Catholic may feel some outrage, but calling for a boycott seems to be a disingenuous way to direct that feeling. What does it accomplish? Does it change anyone’s mind (changing minds being the whole point behind a boycott) or does it just get the priest some publicity? I doubt it’ll change the minds of many of the hipster boutique’s customers or the mind of the boutique owner. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the shop sold more of the candles because of the priest’s openly expressed outrage.

    If the shop owner was barring Catholics from his or her shop, then a boycott would make some sense, but to get so outraged as to call for a boycott over a candle when there are so many other things more worthy of outrage comes off as really irrational. Better to take the high ground and respond more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger. Let the other side be the ones to express mindless outrage.

  19. 19Kowa B on Apr 20, 2009 at 8:08 am:

    This reminds me a little too much of the muhammad cartoon scandal. I’m not catholic, but it seems to me that anybody who is incredulous of how muslims can be offended at the muhammad cartoon can’t turn around and be offended by the same kind of thing directed at their religion. Remember, freedom of speech applies to religion as well, and entails the freedom to mock religion, and it requires the patience to accept all but the most egregious offenses against our religion. If we don’t have that, then we have no moral authority to criticize the excessive reactions of radical islam to perceived “anti-muslim material”.

    On the other hand, nobody has stabbed a hipster yet (i hope) or burned down an alternative record store.

  20. 20Ringo the Gringo on Apr 20, 2009 at 8:15 am:

    Ten bucks?….I think I’ve found the perfect Christmas gift for all my goofball friends and family.

  21. 21Starless on Apr 20, 2009 at 9:16 am:

    Ringo the Gringo FTW!

  22. 22Kristopher on Apr 20, 2009 at 12:05 pm:

    Oh my … if the translation on that shirt is correct ( Barrack, god of America ), just wearing it can get you stoned in several mid-east countries.

    There is a raft of unintentional humor there.

  23. 23Anonymous on Apr 20, 2009 at 1:55 pm:

    Starless on Apr 18, 2009 at 4:44 am:
    “Sorry, Ed, but Zombie is right. The priest has gone overboard with his outrage. The candle isn’t ‘hateful’, it’s adoring. The priest may shake his head and cluck over the misguided materialism but calling for a boycott is too much.”

    It’s a co-opting of Catholic imagery of a saint, which Obama in no way measures up to, so I’d say it isn’t surprising a priest considers it offensive and blasphemous. IMO it’s no more hateful than the Danish Mohammed cartoons (but remember how that turned out). A boycott won’t even get off the ground, of course, but the priest has every right to call for it.

    You’ve all seen the news photographs of Obama with the great seal of the US behind him like a halo. That’s a bit too similar to medieval paintings of saints.

  24. 24Bakunin on Apr 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm:

    23Anonymous on Apr 20, 2009 at 1:55 pm
    You’ve all seen the news photographs of Obama with the great seal of the US behind him like a halo.

    That’s nothing new. There where the same images for Bush.
    http://naproom.mu.nu/pics/BushHalo.jpg

  25. 25Starless on Apr 20, 2009 at 3:05 pm:

    #23 Anonymous

    Sure he has the right to call for one and SFGate is more than happy to report it for him. The only things he accomplishes by doing so is getting his name in the paper, increasing sales at the boutique, and maybe feeding some red meat to the people who already agree with him anyway. Comparing this to the Mohammed cartoons is a bit thin but if you have to make the comparison, I’ll say that the outrage directed at those cartoons was just as dumb (only on a much different level).

    I’ll concede that the priest has every right to say whatever he feels like saying, get outraged at whatever he feels like getting outraged at, but I think the way he’s going about it is stupid and pointless. Maybe he could get outraged at how the current administration is saddling his current and future parishioners with a tremendous tax burden. That might be something worthy of actual outrage and community action.

  26. 26Stone K on Apr 20, 2009 at 3:29 pm:

    #18 Starless

    I completely agree… The people the father would reach are generally the people who would not frequent the store anyhow. And this boycott would probably serve to attract the attention (and dollars) of people who enjoy annoying or harming the Church as a whole.

    As I said the boycott would be ineffective and pointless…

    But I think the Priest has every right to be outraged and has every right to say so.

    Granted I think this goes more towards showing how “caring” and “sensitive” many in the left really are.

  27. 27Starless on Apr 21, 2009 at 4:07 am:

    #26 Stone K

    I think you need to say “extreme left”. A major chunk of the plain old left is just as church-going and God-fearing as a major chunk of the plain old right. But, as with anything else, the loud mouth extremists are the ones who get the publicity. IMO, in this case the priest is the loud mouth.

    The trouble with outrage is that it comes from anger. I’m not going to make the, “if you’re Christian you’re not allowed to get angry lest you be a hypocrite” argument, but a priest is by definition a church leader and he’s responsible for leading by example. It’s his responsibility to show discretion in whipping up his flock–to direct anger to something constructive. This candle isn’t the money changers at the temple, it’s not, as mts1 pointed out, Piss Christ or the Elephant Dung Mary, it’s a stupid candle. On top of that, IMO, the Catholic Church doesn’t have a lot of room to complain about people using saints to make a buck.

    BTW, I don’t think Zombie was saying that the priest doesn’t have the right to be outraged or to say so, just that it is amusing that he is and that he does.

  28. 28Assaf Turjman on Apr 21, 2009 at 5:39 am:

    It’s Arabic, just without proper computer rendering: left-to-right instead of right-to-left, and the letters not in their contextual forms. (Arabic letters take different forms according as they’re in the beginning, middle or end of the word, or isolated). On a modern browser on a modern OS, it should appear properly:

    ليبارك الله اميركا

    The Arabic reads, “Liyubarak Allah Amirika,” meaning, “God bless America.”

  29. 29Assaf Turjman on Apr 21, 2009 at 5:48 am:

    (To say more…)

    The Arabic verb “barak” means “to bless.” (“Barakah” = blessing. Hebrew “berakhah” is related.) If there’s any connection to BHO’s first name, then it might be like the name Benedict, only in Arabic.

  30. 30Kowa B on Apr 21, 2009 at 11:09 am:

    With my very limited knowledge of arabic, libarak seems like a stretch to be a reference to barack [obama]. Most people call him Obama; why would anybody call him Barack? It seems much more likely that the intended translation really is, as assaf turjman said, “god bless america”, which is much less creepy and worshipful on the shirt-maker’s part

  31. 31average_guy on Apr 21, 2009 at 1:49 pm:

    #28 Assaf Turjman

    God bless America or Allah Bless America?

  32. 32Ken on Apr 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm:

    “God bless America or Allah Bless America?”

    Allah=God=Allah=God.

    Same metaphysical being, different name.

  33. 33Throbert McGee on Apr 21, 2009 at 8:14 pm:

    It’s Arabic, just without proper computer rendering: left-to-right instead of right-to-left, and the letters not in their contextual forms.

    Aha! So I think we can reconstruct what happened: Someone completely unfamiliar with Arabic entered the English phrase “God bless America” into some sort of Babelfish-like translation software, which produced the correct Arabic translation (as given by Assaf in #28).

    This Arabic output text from the translation program was then copy-and-pasted into a different software environment (perhaps a graphics editor such as PhotoShop), which broke up the linked cursive forms of the letters into their standalone forms, and also reversed their direction.

  34. 34Kun on Apr 22, 2009 at 2:06 am:

    Ken, even though Allah does basically mean God it’s considered the ‘perfect’ form by Muslims, similar to how Jews say Yahweh or Elohim. So technically if whoever did that phrase translated it, it probably came out as Allah. Since the rest of the text is Arabic (not just English in the Arabic alphabet) I don’t know how “God” would come out unless you wanted the shirt to say something like “Our Father Bless(es) America” or “His Grace Bless(es) America.”

  35. 35Assaf Turjman on Apr 22, 2009 at 5:08 am:

    #31 average_guy

    “Allah” is how you say “God” in Arabic. There isn’t any other word for it. (There is “ilah,” but that means just “a deity,” not the Creator Of All Things.)

  36. 36Throbert McGee on Apr 22, 2009 at 9:04 am:

    Assaf — do you happen to know how an Arabic-speaking Christian would refer to the three persons of the Trinity? I mean, do they actually say “Allah the Father, Allah the Son, and Allah the Holy Spirit,” or is there a different convention that they use?

  37. 37mrmmosh on Apr 22, 2009 at 9:09 am:

    I really don’t understand people saying that the priest went “overboard” in this situation. Firstly, it’s his job to get outraged, and secondly, it’s not like he went to the Chronicle with an op-ed. You guys are all acting like he was out to get his name in the paper. The article specifically states that his letter was in the PARISH NEWSLETTER (sorry for the shouting but I’m not sure if you’re phb or html or what and don’t know how to italicize). Anyway, it was in the parish newsletter, which specifically reaches out to his congregation, not to the city or even neighborhood at large. It’s dispensed inside the church, which means that the Chronicle had to go looking for this story. The whole Jewish thing was weird but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he only meant to express incredulity and not anti-semetism. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a Catholic college student in LA living with a Protestant, another Catholic and a Jewish kid, so I might be biased here. Still though, I don’t think he was trying to get his name in the paper, like so many people have suggested.

  38. 38zombie on Apr 22, 2009 at 9:31 am:

    #32 Ken
    Allah=God=Allah=God.

    Same metaphysical being, different name.

    #35 Assaf Turjman

    “Allah” is how you say “God” in Arabic. There isn’t any other word for it. (There is “ilah,” but that means just “a deity,” not the Creator Of All Things.)

    Just because there is no other word for capital-G “God” in Arabic doesn’t mean that God and Allah are the same thing. It just means that Arab culture and Muslim culture have been fused for so long that any other notion or description of the deity has been expunged from the language.

    Say, for example, that there was a tribe in New Guinea who only had one word for God: Jumjum. So when Muslims or Christians describe their God to these tribemembers, they all say, “Ah, we understand — you’re talking about Jumjum, who is the singular supreme deity of the Universe.” When the Muslims and Christian agree that Jumjum seems to be just the name for Allah or God in the tribe’s language, the tribemembers point out that they know all about Jumjum because they have a sacred book which describes his behavior: Jumjum likes to have sex with monkeys, he causes tidal waves to drown anyone who doesn’t drink pig urine, he needs to eat the meat of sacrificed babies to maintain his divine power.

    When the tribe explains this, the Muslims and Christians are horrified: “That’s not the same as Allah!” “That’s not the same as God!” But the tribe insists, because in their language there is no other word for God, so it must be the same one.

    This may seem absurd but it addresses the same argument often put forth, such as in comment #35 above, by apologists who claim that Allah and God are one and the same.

    In truth, the statements, attitudes and commandments of the Allah of the Koran are often in total contradiction to the statements of YHWH/God in the Jewish and Christian Bible. Just because one tribe (Arabs) claim their God is unique and supreme, and another tribe (Hebrews) claim that their God is unique and supreme, doesn’t mean that they are both worshipping the exact same God. It means they each claim supremacy for their tribe’s own specific deity. Because once you allow other groups to produce Holy Books which purport to reveal the true nature and statements of your God, then you are going to run into a world of trouble, because the nature of your God will then change and become diluted and different than what it was before.

    I think that fundamentalist Muslims and Orthodox Jews both understand this point, which is why they don’t get along: Each side realizes that the other side is NOT worshipping the same God, but a different God which they claim to be supreme. So the very existence of Judaism is hateful to Islam, because it poses a challenge to their theological supremacy (and vice versa).

    Put it this way: if Allah is in fact the same deity as the YHWH of the Jewish Torah , then why does YHWH say (as quoted in a sacred Muslim text), “Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.”

    Do you really think the God of the Jews would make such a pronouncement? No. That was the God of the Arabs making the pronouncement. Because they are two different Gods.

    Now, it is true that many of the later attributes of Allah were borrowed from Jewish and Christian sources, so there are similarities, but the origins of Allah are well-known, as the deity of Mecca — one of many in a polytheistic Arab religion prior to 640 AD — worshipped by the local Arab tribe there. When the Meccans became followers of Mohammed, they declared their particular deity to be better than all the others in the shrine, knocked all the other idols down, and the proceeded to conquer all of the Middle East, central Asia, northern Africa and part of Europe, bringing the notion of Allah along with them and declaring that their local Meccan deity is the supreme God of all.

    It is little more than feeble retroactive historical revisionism for people like Karen Armstrong and her ilk to claim that Allah and YHWH and God are all just different words for the same thing. Just because some touchy-feely people want that to be true doesn’t make it true.

  39. 39Ken on Apr 22, 2009 at 2:50 pm:

    “This may seem absurd but it addresses the same argument often put forth, such as in comment #35 above, by apologists who claim that Allah and God are one and the same.”

    “Allah” is “God,” in the sense that it is the same diety being described by both the Bible and Koran. However, from what limited knowledge I have, it seems that methods of worship of that diety, the rituals associated with it, the characteristics associated with that diety by its followers, and the prophets designated by that same diety are different.

    The Koran states that “Allah” is the same as “God”:

    YUSUFALI: And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).”
    (http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/029.qmt.html)

  40. 40Kun on Apr 22, 2009 at 9:40 pm:

    @ McGee: They might say “Allah the Father” if only because “Our Father the Father” sounds strange, but otherwise Catholics and Protestants just say “Our Father” or “His Grace” or whatever.

    @ Ken: “Allah” is the same as “God” in the sense that Islam basically presents itself as the successor to Christianity, but the nature of said God and associated rituals are evidently different (same with differences between Judaism and Christianity).

    That quote doesn’t really prove anything except the obvious. Islam recognizes the “people of the book” in a way similar to how Christians and Jews see themselves as “people of the book” though that certainly doesn’t mean that these three people lived in harmony with the significant doctrinal differences between them.

    The only flaw with Zombie’s approach is that the tribal God mentioned was quite different from the deities of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In that case the only similarity is that they’re talking to each other about a monotheistic deity, which is the only thing they have in common. (And since it’s on the subject of a monotheistic deity, “he’s all powerful and knowing” is going to be a pretty common claim from everyone)

  41. 41average_guy on Apr 22, 2009 at 11:00 pm:

    Here’s a link with some archaelogical findings http://users.hubwest.com/prophet/islam/moongod.htm

    Its apparently a christian site so it is not unbiased, but may be interesting none the less.

    In regard to mechanical translation, Allah does equal God. In regard to conceptualization, there are vast differences.

    Part of the crux of disagreement is that Allah is not a triune being whereas the God of Christianity is just that. Meanwhile, in The Torah, YHWH says “let US make man in our image” (at least when translated to english).

  42. 42Assaf Turjman on Apr 23, 2009 at 3:43 am:

    #36 Throbert McGee

    They use “Allah” for the godhead, and “Al-Ab,” “Al-Ibn” and “Al-Ruh Al-Qaddus” for the three persons respectively.

    #38 zombie

    I’m Jewish and right-wing, so not likely an apologist for Islam. Maybe people should stop going overboard with their premature conclusions.

    Maimonides says of the Jews and the Muslims that they have the same general conception of God, but different particular ideas of Him and His will for humanity. Islam in Jewish eyes is neither atheism nor idolatry but heresy–heteredox beliefs on the One Creator And Lord Of All Things. The Islamic conception of God is unlawful for a Jew to believe in, but not in the same category as worshiping the gods of paganism.

    This is all a matter of theology, not language. Jews and Muslims have different ideas about God or Allah or Dieu or Bog or whichever language you want to use to call Him.

    You ask, “Do you really think the God of the Jews would make such a pronouncement? No. That was the God of the Arabs making the pronouncement. Because they are two different Gods.” My answer is this isn’t about two different Gods, it’s about the true and final divine revelation (that of Moses) vs. the human-conceived constructions of those who founded any religion after it.

    #41 average_guy

    God isn’t triune in Judaism either. As for the “us” in “Let us make make man in our image,” Jewish exegesis interprets it as God deferring to His angels before acting, a show of humility which is there for humans to follow (to be humble just as He is humble, even though He is the one being who has no reason to be humble).

  43. 43Starless on Apr 23, 2009 at 3:46 am:

    #37 mrmmosh

    I was the one who offered up the possibility that the priest is attention-whoring but I did not say that he went to the Chronicle. I don’t think I denied the possibility that his outrage is genuine. What I have been arguing is that one of the main results of his call for a boycott is that he got himself in the newspaper. Was that his aim? I have no idea. But, the story did go from the parish newsletter to the local paper to the Chronicle and it caused enough of a stir to get the Archdiocese involved. IMO, results speak for themselves and this whole episode cries out, “Look at me!”.

    I’m not denying that it’s part of a priest’s job, as a church leader, to protect Catholic turf. At the same time, a good leader picks his battles wisely and this particular leader did not pick wisely.

  44. 44mrmmosh on Apr 23, 2009 at 7:18 am:

    #43 Starless

    I live in Los Angeles, and this last week, it was REALLY hot, somewhere between 95-100 for about 3 days straight. I have no AC in my apartment, and so I took to sleeping more or less bare with the window and blinds open to catch those brief, evanescent moments of cool air around 2-4 am. Sometimes, when I woke up, I forgot to draw the blinds before I stood up (fortunately, I wake up before dawn so no one should have seen anything). By your rubric, if someone caught me and snapped a photograph that eventually made its way online, the results would speak for themselves and the whole episode would cry out, “Look at me!” I’m sorry, but that logic doesn’t fly.

    Did Nobel mean for dynamite to be used to kill massive tons of people and be used to cause destruction and make crimes easier? Probably not. There are unintended consequences to everything, and I think that the Chronicle’s article was one of those.

  45. 45Starless on Apr 23, 2009 at 8:29 am:

    #43 mrmmosh

    Actually, your analogy is weak and mis-characterizes what I was saying.

    Let’s go to the replay: Noe Valley Voice

    The priest goes out of his way to publish his call for a boycott in the parish newsletter and then he goes ahead and takes the time and energy to participate in an interview with the local paper while still maintaining his call for a boycott. So it’s not as though someone cracked open his diary or happened to notice something on his desk and then printed it without his permission or knowledge. He didn’t come back and say, “I think I may have gone a little overboard with this one,” instead he maintained and reiterated his position.

    As far as unintended consequences are concerned, with the way these things work, I say an appearance in the Chronicle (or some other widely read publication) was, if not initially intended, at least welcome when it happened. When you call for a boycott, the whole point is to gain attention. I’ve described previously what I think are the only likely products of a call for a boycott on this and one of those products is that the priest gains attention for himself. It may not be his overt, stated goal, but often times people who make this kind of noise are really just trying to get attention for themselves. It makes them feel good to have other people watch them being all righteous.

  46. 46Bakunin on Apr 23, 2009 at 8:51 am:

    San Mateo tea party organizers used an anti-Semitic graphic to promote an anti-tax protest
    http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/2009/04/20/california-gop-slaps-san-mateo-tea-party-organizers/

  47. 47Ken on Apr 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm:

    “though that certainly doesn’t mean that these three people lived in harmony with the significant doctrinal differences between them.”

    Probably. I didn’t mention that, though…only that “Allah” is the same god as “God,” although conceptualized differently (for obvious reasons) by the people who worship it.

    Actually, none of this is worth the argument since religions are all a bunch of superstitions and myths, anyway, having very little, if any, basis in physical reality as we know it.

  48. 48Ken on Apr 23, 2009 at 2:51 pm:

    “Here’s a link with some archaelogical findings http://users.hubwest.com/prophet/islam/moongod.htm

    I think I’ve heard this very same argument somewhere else before:

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0042/0042_01.asp

  49. 49Leaveaposition on Apr 23, 2009 at 4:34 pm:

    #38 Zombie

    “Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews”

    Which part of the Koran is this quote in? Just curious

  50. 50Mazz on Apr 24, 2009 at 5:34 am:

    Blasphmey and Obama go hand in hand. After all, it was ok for a certain reverend to say “God Damn America…”

  51. 51Fenris on Apr 24, 2009 at 6:11 am:

    48: Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6981-85

    It’s also in the Hamas Charter.

  52. 52Bakunin on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:20 am:

    49Mazz on Apr 24, 2009 at 5:34 am:

    “Blasphmey and Obama go hand in hand. After all, it was ok for a certain reverend to say “God Damn America…””

    You are being confused of what blasphemy is, and what you think it is. According to dictionary.com, blasphemy is
    “impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.” While terribly offensive, asking God to damn America is not blasphemous in itself.

    God, being the ruler of all things, could Damn America if he so choose. How is crazy religious kook Wright saying God Damn America any different then crazy religious kook Hal Lindsey saying “Katrina proof that the judgment of America has begun”. Or two days after 9/11, religious kook Jerry Falwell taking to the airwaves to proclaim that God had allowed the United States to be attacked because “the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians” had tried to transform America into a secular society?

    Crazy is crazy.

  53. 53John Walker Lindh on Apr 26, 2009 at 8:52 am:

    Thanks for another post. As a refugee from the Republic California Uberalles city of San Carlos, am enthralled at the images you post as they remind me of why I left and prepare me for the battle for the mind for which I much have my children prepared prior to my return. Keep ‘em coming.

    For the rest you…

    Relax.

  54. 54stinkybarbie on May 11, 2009 at 6:18 am:

    I’m holding out for chia-Obama

  55. 55Anonymous on Jun 26, 2009 at 4:10 am:

    Arabic is not Muslim Lebanese speak Arabic it’s just a language used by Christians and Muslims in the middle east
    Allah means God Allah Akbar means God Is Great Christians say the same thing it is nothing specific with Islam or Christianity. You really look stupid and uneducated saying these things now you know

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  57. 57George Miller on Jul 13, 2009 at 2:23 am:

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