November 09, 2008

Inspired by the Prince of Peace, Priests Beat the Crap Out of Each Other

Ah, religion. There's just nothing quite like it for bringing people together.

The video above is footage of a brawl that erupted at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the place where some believe that Jesus was entombed. It seems that a number of different cults like to have fist fights among their clergy as to who controls which corner of the church. In this case, the fighting broke out between Greek and Armenian Orthodox clerics when the Armenian true-believers wanted to have a walk through the church to celebrate something that the Greeks don't believe happened. The Greeks wouldn't let them, and what began as a perfectly irrational argument over mythology soon degenerated into an all-out brawl that had to be broken up by Israeli police.

It's worth noting that these same religious groups are so overwhelmingly concerned about human life that secular authorities have been unable to put a single fire exit in the place. The holy men can't agree with one another where such a life-savingly blasphemous bit of human consideration ought to go, you see, so they're willing to take their chances that there won't be a fire that consumes the true-believers. I guess they believe more in praying than they do in fire exits, and apparently they believe more in punching, kicking and strangling one another than they do is peaceful coexistence and compromise.

At the same time, a rooftop shrine on the church is literally on the verge of collapse because two of the other sects that control little bits of the place — Ethiopians and Copts in this case — can't agree with each other about it.

It's truly a wondrous thing that this single building in Israel can serve as such a powerful metaphor for what these religious cults do to the world. And we're talking about what should be, to any rational person, superficial differences in doctrine that divide these loonies in the first place. No wonder even bigger doctrinal differences lead so often to war.

More about these lovely true-believers in Jerusalem here and here. Hallelujah.

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