|| Religious Violence, meeting
of 23 March 2000
We started off on a high note, with the reminder that Prez BOB has
gotten through 36 meetings, with just 15 left - and of course, thunderous
applause. This led to the usual Statement of Three, with YOE not being
called upon to demonstrate his failing memory.
CLAWSON BLEAK led the Pledge, with PP STEVE DAY and BILL MAXWELL taking
us along on God Bless America. This was a particularly effective effort,
since STEVE led with feeling and emphasis, and BILL providing emphatic
support - and, it should be mentioned that BILL'S beret always adds
to the musical atmosphere. Indeed, it may have been one of our better
renditions (although, to be fair, our standards may not be all that
high, but anyway...) It was no surprise that DAVID MATSON provided an
SLOSS VIAU noted our Visiting Rotarians - Scott Dannison from Redondo
Beach, and Takumi Noma, from Northern California, who is seeking a new
Rotary connection, now that he lives in L.A. SLOSS then added quite
a few other visitors, including Judy Wessling, who is related to Prez
BOB, Andrea Schafer, a new Associate in the law offices of Newman and
Newman, Barbara Cressman, the guest of GEORGE COX, and Viviane Younker,
related by marriage to BOB. RUDY ALVAREZ came forward, and called on
PP DOUG DESCH to approach the podium. RUDY then presented DOUG with
his own personal copy of our 1999 / 2000 Awards Book, which would not
have been possible without DOUG'S continuing help - the book is dedicated
to OPAL and DOUG, and they received a well-deserved standing ovation
at this announcement. A nice gesture, and certainly well deserved.
This led us to the announcement department - an obvious highlight,
as always. TOMORROW, Saturday the 25th is the last day to apply for
the Japan Student Exchange. YOSH SETOGUCHI can still fit you in - and
it's a real winner, OK? The District Breakfast is Tuesday the 28th -
Yearling Reception at the home of SALLY BRANT, Wed. 29th, 7 p.m. RSVP,
Meeting on April 11th - ELLIOTT TURNER Board hosts. TED IHNEN was fingered
as being on the District GSE Committee, and it was noted that a program
has now been produced, listing the minute by minute activities of our
guests from Bavaria.
The District Conference from May 4th to 7th is in Palm Springs - and
as of now, we only have about a dozen signed up. Please think about
being there - we NEED you!
And finally, Prez BOB has a request from a young lady from Germany,
who is seeking to clerk at a law firm or with an individual lawyer for
three weeks this summer. Please call BOB for more details.
PP RON LYSTER introduced our speaker, Frank Wulf (a good name, even
thought misspelled...) Frank is currently the Director of the Wesley
Foundation at UCLA, is writing his dissertation for his Ph.D. from Columbia,
and is of course an ordained Methodist Minister. His topic was Religious
Violence, which he selected since it is currently - and always has been
-one of the major failures in our worldwide culture.
Frank compared the deaths of Matthew Shepherd, and a German tourist
to illustrate the differences in murder cases. Shepherd was beaten,
chained to a fence and left to die in Montana - because he was gay.
The tourist was also murdered, but it was during an attempted robbery,
and thus had no sociological overtones. The end result is of course
the same, but the route that led to the killings is what sets them apart.
Those who killed Shepherd sought to intimidate all gays and lesbians
- he was an example, you might say, while the German tourist was selected
at random. Shepherds murderers were hate-motivated, apparently feeling
that what they did was permissible because of the obvious, to them,
evil demonstrated by their victim. Such action is used to dissipate
antisocial behavior, since their strong feelings needed an outlet. They
claimed their act as coming from an order from God.
In looking at the Bible, you find continuing references to people as
sheep - the children of God, to be led by God or Jesus. This makes them
good subjects for sacrifice, and those who carry out this violence can
somehow excuse their actions as being justified by God. Most of the
perpetuators are men, who are typically not integrated into their surrounding
society. They apparently feel that society has nothing to lose by their
actions, particularly since they are acting as the agents of God - their
religion is the absolute truth.
This in turn creates the "other" syndrome - those OTHERS
make good scapegoats. We are thus 'purifying' ourselves by killing these
sacrificial lambs, they contend. In Europe, Jews were always the 'others'
- and only survived, really, because some of them were needed by their
surrounding society. The Nazis believed that Jews were the source of
all their problems, and thus were moving toward complete elimination
of all Jews.
We seem to cling to the myth that we live in a civilized world - but,
do we? As long as our attitude remains, "I'm right and you're wrong",
we will not make appreciable progress toward our goal of living peacefully
Frank Wulf - you have given us food for thought on a difficult and
Thank you for being with us.
YOE, Ernie Wolfe