Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, considered to be the holiest and most solemn day of the year. It's a day of prayer and fasting following the Days of Repentance that began with the new year, Rosh Hashana. (Thanks, Wiki)
It's also Ramadan, a month-long period of fasting from dawn to dusk. During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, angry and sarcastic retorts, refrain from gambling and betting and gossip. All obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided. Purity of both thought and action is important. (Wiki again)
I'm not a Muslim or a Jew and I don't observe any religious holidays. (Well, okay. There's the ritual flag burning on the 6th Saturday of September to commemorate the Sixties and the birth of Secular Humanism. Not.) But I'm willing to give this a try -- all but the angry and sarcastic retorts part -- if I thought it would work. Ditto on Lent, and some of the Christian rituals of repentance.
But what am I missing here, because from my ledge overlooking the gorge of contemporary life, I don't see anyone genuinely atoning for anything, or refraining from violence, anger, envy or intercourse, even during daylight. Well, I'm assuming on that last one.
And those who are the most devout and the most likely to embrace these restrictions and deprivations -- designed to achieve genuinely worthy goals -- are the ones seeming to have the most trouble getting there. I mean, of course, Israel and Palestine, and now just about everyone else piling on, thanks, in no small part to the disastrous extremist-breeding foreign policies of Condi and George. Even the Christian evangelicals are gleefully egging on the most rabid Israelis, in order to bring on the rapture.
The only people atoning in our own government are atoning for all the lesser things, like alcoholism or pedophilia. Okay sleazeball, apologies accepted, get thee to a treatment center. No one yet apologizing for the cover-up.
On this now-fading day of atonement, as Jews and Muslims prepare to break their fasts, I'm still waiting for those whose lies brought us a war we didn't want or need, with all its resulting horrors, to repent. Instead they're just sitting down to the feast.