Thursday, March 11, 2010

Compassion Man

“Hey, compassion man!” a guy called out to me waving a copy of the Murfreesboro Pulse newspaper with a full page photo of me on the cover accompanied by the headline, “Rabbi Rami… man of compassion.”

“You’re compassion man, aren’t you?”

“Yes, Citizen,” I said in a deep comic book hero voice, “I am Compassion Man, friend of all the little furry woodland creatures and…”

“I suppose you’re in favor of President Uganda’s health care plan, aren’t ‘cha? Why the hell should I have to pay for some loafers health care?”

Obviously this fellow didn’t get my joke, so I thought I’d try again.

“Actually I am opposed to any health care for loafers. A good spit shine once a week ought to suffice.” I paused. He paused. Neither one of us heard a laugh track, so he continued on:

“I worked hard all my life to pay for my health care. I went to school and studied hard and didn’t do crack or get some bimbo pregnant, and so I got a good job and full health care benefits…”

“So you don’t actually pay for your health care.”

“…and I don’t want to pay for anyone else’s. People make choices. They take crack instead of cracking the books and so they haven’t got jobs. That isn’t my fault. I’m no evolutionary Darwin atheist but this is survival of the fittest. Who wants near the wells to live and have babies anyway? If they haven’t got health care they will die sooner and in the long run that is what God wants.”

“So you are in favor of abortion funding for ne’re-do-wells? That way they won’t raise more ne’re-do-wells.” I was hoping by repeating the term ne’re-do-well and pronouncing it properly I could at least improve this fellow’s vocabulary.

“You know for a so-called man of God you really don’t know much. That’s ‘cause you’re a Jew and killed Christ and all, but God would forgive you if you come to Christ and do what’s right on health care.”

“But didn’t Jesus plead for the ‘least of these?’”

“I’m the least of these! I’m the one who put off having fun as a kid and stayed in school and got a job and raised a family while these others just drank booze and smoked crack and made babies and cashed their welfare checks. I suffered while these loafers loafed! But that is what God wants and that’ll get me into heaven while these crack smokers will be smoking in Hell.”

“Along with the Jews.”

“Damn straight.”

“Good luck with that… [We interrupt this factual account to bring you this fantasy ending:] I wish you well, brother. And I will pray for you, for I am Compassion Man. But now I must be off for there are others for whom my heart must bleed. Take care, Citizen. Compassion Man awayyyyyyyyy!” [We now return you to our factual account:]

I turned and walked away, but like Lot’s wife I had to glance back and saw the man toss my photo in the trash. And while I wasn’t turned into a pillar of salt, I have to admit it hurt.


Raksha said...

Re >>“You know for a so-called man of God you really don’t know much. That’s ‘cause you’re a Jew and killed Christ and all, but God would forgive you if you come to Christ and do what’s right on health care.”<<

Rabbi Rami, I have to ask you if this for real. Did he really say, "Cause you're a Jew and killed Christ and all..."? I know there are people who call themselves "Christians" who still believe that crap, but I thought they would at least have learned enough not to say it to a Jew to his/her face. I guess in places like Murfreesboro they are a few decades behind the times.

You did say this is "a factual account," but I keep hoping against hope that it's a spoof. Please say it ain't so! Although I'm very much afraid it is.

Rabbi Rami said...

The only change is that he didn't say "killed Christ AND all," but rather "killed Christ an' all." What a difference an "d" can make.

Actually there are still lots of people who talk this way. I doubt they are all restricted to Murfreesboro, however.

Di said...

I hear you...Love, Di (written from the land of Southern Baptists who are quite sure I'm going to hell...but they'll pray for me)

Raksha said...

Thanks for your reply, but that's very much what I was afraid you were going to say. Please note that I said, "...places LIKE Murfreesboro." I am well aware that gnorant redneck bigot is a state of mind, not a geographical location, although it's probably more common in some parts of the country than others.

Anovagrrl said...

Your story demonstrates the second of the Four Noble Truths: The origin of suffering is attachment to transient things and ignorance of that fact. A mean-spirited man lives in the hell of his own making.

Rabbi Rami said...

I agree that we live the hell of our making. The foundation is usually ignorance, and from that arises fear and from fear anger and from anger violence.

Anovagrrl said...

We ought never forget that ignorance and fear are the contagion that breed violence. Still, it does not serve a compassionate God to let even a rational fear of injury be fed with our own resentment and hostility. Rabbi Yeshua bin Miriam advises us to be "wise as serpents, harmless as doves." As to following that advice, I'm reminded of Solomon's observation that in showing kindness to an enemy, we "heap burning coals on his head." That's gotta hurt at least as much as the hateful words of an ignorant fool.

Peter Schogol said...

Lexington, Kentucky may be marginally more enlightened than Murfreesboro, Tennessee (but at least you're close to Nashville; what are we close to? Cincinnati?) but I still do get the Christ-killer line. I should be more patient, but I'm not. When people say that Jews killed Christ I typically answer, "What, would he still be your savior if he died of old age?"