Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 26, 2007

'Blasphemous' Bills Anger Americans

'Blasphemous' Bills Anger Americans
By Alastair Leithead
BBC News, Greenville, South Carolina

Demonstration over essentials dropped by Canadian troops - Currency imitation angered students of flooded university

A demonstration has been held on the campus of Bob Jones University accusing Canadian troops of insulting America after they distributed toiletry supplies bearing the cherished symbols of American heritage.

The toilet paper showed a repeating pattern of American $100 bills, featuring the declarations, "E Pluribus Shoppum", and "In God We Chi-ching", expressing American's devout faith that God loves shopping too.

Photo by Fox TV
Toilet Paper Dropped by Canadian Troops
The supplies were intended as a relief gift

The Canadian military said the idea had been to give toiletry essentials for the Christian students to use during severe local flooding, and they did not realise it would cause offence.

The shrink-wrapped bales of $100 toilet paper rolls were dropped from a helicopter in Greenville County.

The words on the imitation currency, which include the name of God, with some Old Latin thrown in, are revered, and Americans are very sensitive about where and how they can be used.

Clerics at Bob Jones University criticised the Canadian forces for their religious insensitivity, and around 100 students held a demonstration and prayer vigil on the campus.

University President Steven Jones said: "To have a version of our cherished American currency on something you wipe your ass with would be an insult in any American around the world. Even more insulting, the all-seeing Eye of God was centered on the 'sweet spot', if you know what I mean!"

A spokeswoman for the Canadian relief forces said they made "significant efforts to work with local leaders, clerics and elders to respect their culture" and distributing the toilet paper was an effort to give relief to the flood-beleagured campus that students would find useful.

"Unfortunately," he added, "there was something on those rolls we didn't immediately understand to be offensive and we regret that as we do not want to offend. Your US currency is in the crapper anyway, and we thought our British form of humor might ease their desparate relief situation."

Local weather forecasters predict another 39 days and nights of heavy rain for the South Carolina region.

composition by Tante Aime
(picked from a comment which I should have deleted for being again way off topic)

Posted by b on August 26, 2007 at 17:34 UTC | Permalink



Posted by: Ghost of Saddam Hussein | Aug 26 2007 17:38 utc | 1

Offending God and the Dollar all at once: everything that is holy and sacred to our great nation. I suppose they will start dropping Dixie Chicks CD's next...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Aug 26 2007 18:04 utc | 2

This is so stupid. So get even.

[It also comes in Canadian dollars]

Posted by: beq | Aug 26 2007 18:24 utc | 3

i searched in vain for a link but couldn't find one but this is not the first time the US has pulled a bonehead stunt like this. sure you can not expect that the military public affairs people would know that there are words from the Koran on the Saudi flag and you can forgive them for not knowing that religious people don't like to see holy books or words kicked around in the mud but global corporate giant Coca Cola printed a series of special cans for the Atlanta Olympics with flags of all the countries in the world. that did not play well in SA for the simple reason that empty coke cans end up in the trash.

the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 26 2007 18:46 utc | 4

A nice Touch Tante Aime. Thanks

Posted by: R.L. | Aug 26 2007 19:08 utc | 5

Nobody seems to have noticed that Ben Franklin was desecrated -- have we really sunk this low?

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Aug 26 2007 20:16 utc | 6

Heh, what about those Muslims being so un-cool and so anti free-speech, primitive dontcha know, murderous, incomprehensible, just some mild cartoons in some crappy Danish paper!

Posted by: Tangerine | Aug 26 2007 20:40 utc | 7

Ha! Gotta love the "all-seeing eye of God centered on the sweet spot."

Sounds like some kinda illuminating yoga posture invented by Aleistor Crowley or Adam Weishaupt...kissyurasana goodbye.

Posted by: catlady | Aug 26 2007 21:04 utc | 8

Catlady can you e-mail me at please?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 26 2007 21:34 utc | 9

Is this some kind of joke? This sort of thing has been available from joke shops for decades. I only object to Franklin's face being on the bill. It should be Bush's.

Posted by: hopping madbunny | Aug 26 2007 21:47 utc | 10

Ask and you shall receive.

Posted by: beq | Aug 26 2007 21:50 utc | 11

I always though it would be better to have the 'Jesus' DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) logo in

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 26 2007 22:40 utc | 12

A little googling around and I came up with this, which is too funny not to add here, even if slightly off topic.

George Bush for President
Toilet Paper for Vice President!

Posted by: Bea | Aug 26 2007 22:47 utc | 13

not so strange. in the famous 1948 elections in italy where the communist party of italy looked certain to win, one of the first destabilisation operations of the brothers dulles for the c i a was to offze toilet paper with the images of togliatti & stalin

given the 'intelligence apparatus in the empire has always had shit for brains

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 26 2007 23:06 utc | 14

Dunno about this... by taking this perspective, I think b is being patronizing to the Afghans. "It's okay that they are angry about this, because they're just too stupid/backward/ignorant/furrin to understand; the westerners, who are so much smarter, should have known better than to do this."

b's parody doesn't work, because the product in question exists, and is sold in America (that's where he got the image) and there are no demonstrations about it. Americans are not, in fact, as worshipful of money as all that.

So where, in the west, can you find demonstrations (or other disproportionate reaction) over trivial things like this? Over religion, of course. Islam is not alone, and never has been, in being dangerously loony.

The fact of the matter is that Islam is bad for the world. So is Christianity. So is Judaism. So is Hinduism. So is Shintoism. Probably so are Confucianism and Buddhism, although I admit to being less well-informed on those two than the others. As long as we pretend that religion, and the activity of people inspired by religion, is beyond our ability to judge, stupidity and violence will continue.

Remember that survey by Pew Global? The one where they found that 26% of American Muslim men under 30 thought that suicide bombing of civilian targets to defend Islam might be justified? (Along with other, less startling, results.) This study was blatantly unfair. It was unfair not because it painted a picture of Muslims as zealots -- anyone who thinks that suicide bombing civilian targets in defense of a religion can be justified is a dangerous lunatic zealot, and if a quarter of young American Muslim men think so, then a quarter of young American Muslim men are dangerous lunatic zealots -- but because equivalent questions were not asked of other religions. Where is the survey asking Christians whether it is can be justified to kill civilians to defend Christianity, or to stop abortion, or to spread Christianity? Where is the survey asking Jews the same questions?

There are reasons to suspect that we would get some disturbing results from such surveys.

Until we stop pretending that religion is a force for good in this world, that religious people are moderates and nice and reasonable and wear tidy jumpers and eat cheese just like real people, we will keep seeing riots demonstrations over sports equipment and pickets at funerals (there's nobody who hates strongly enough to escape the treatment), and a million imitation Sneetches.

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Aug 26 2007 23:25 utc | 15

"Assuming your nation is under attack. Would you be willing to die for your country bombing the enemies cities?"

Nationalism can be just as bad, though we are more used to that language here in the west. And we are used to bombs being delivered by airplanes, not strapped to the chest.

The vikings, being Aesir-worshippers were not particular in attacking people for their religion. By their view the Gods punished people if they wanted them punished. Still not really good neighbours, they mostly killed people to steal their stuff, enslave them and take their land without much of an ideological pretext. And I guess that is how I see religions (or any other ideology) part in your examples. They are the nice paint over the old forces of greed and powerhunger.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Aug 27 2007 3:15 utc | 16

tante gets the sunday full moon gold star for the perfect post.

Posted by: annie | Aug 27 2007 4:05 utc | 17

Thanks, b, for the re-post. I'm still laughing, in tears,
and I promise to keep going off-topic when MoA gets heavy.

TTGVWYCI, that post was a triple pun, in case you haven't listened to BJU lately, or read the pompous Juan Cole rif.
So cut Afghans some slack. They're just trying to find two
nickels to rub together, without being bombed by futballs
instead of the $10B Bushco promised, never meaning to send.

Instead, Danish cartoons and Afghan futballs become all-time
most forwarded articles on the Internet. Juno Hilo Charlie.

Posted by: Tante Aime | Aug 27 2007 4:11 utc | 18


"Assuming your nation is under attack. Would you be willing to die for your country bombing the enemies cities?"

That isn't as blunt as the question which was asked of the Muslims. They were asked specifically about the phrase "civilian targets". "Bombing a city" in such a brief context is more ambiguous -- it suggests civilian targets, but doesn't guarantee them.

I'd be willing to bet that if there are any polls that are that blunt but testing nationalistic, rather than religious, loyalties, the percentage of dangerous lunatics is dramatically lower.

And I'm even willing to say that in the U.S. under the Bush administration -- even when the Bush administration managed to get people to swallow a nonexistent connection between Iraq and Al Queda, even when an overwhelming majority of America considered themselves attacked by Al Queda, Bush started the war over the disapproval of a majority of the citizenry, and only managed to get it through by claiming that Iraq posed a serious military threat. If the Bush administration had said "we're going to end up killing more innocent people than actual enemies because we won't be able to tell the difference" instead, then even with the popular delusion of an Iraqi-Al Queda alliance and the idea of retaliation for a terrorist attack, it wouldn't have worked.

they mostly killed people to steal their stuff, enslave them and take their land without much of an ideological pretext

Oh really? And did they steal their fellow believers' stuff, enslave each other, and take each other's land on the same scale that they did to other people? I don't remember reading anything about that anywhere, although I admit that I'm weaker on Scandinavian history than other European history. If not, then they were still obeying a religious bias.

@Tante Aime:

Sorry about the misaccreditation -- I noticed that the original post was yours after I made my post. Mea culpa.

Still, I don't think you have a point. The Afghans weren't protesting on the premise that "we were promised a lot of money, and they're trying to fob us off with a bunch of balls". If they were, they would be right, and so would you.

Instead, they were protesting because they didn't like having a symbol of their religion (the name of God is a symbol) on something which is meant to be kicked. You, along with many of the people on this board, suffer from westerner guilt when dealing with the third world. So do I; I am well known in my circle for being a killjoy. But the guilt is only a good thing when it improves your behavior. If it just makes you excuse other people's bad behavior, then it does nobody any good.

In this case, Muslims were seriously overreacting. Apply the standard of reverse treatment: I don't know if the Israeli flag is on those balls, so I can't say whether Jews weren't offended at kicking the star of David, but the Union Jack is there, and that's three Christian crosses layered on each other, yet you don't hear any Christians complaining about it. (And yes, the crosses on the U.K. flag are supposed to be Christian symbols; one cross apiece from a patron saint from each of three countries.) I haven't heard a murmur about that sort of usage from anywhere. Muslims are being absurdly oversensitive.

The Danish cartoons are, I admit, a somewhat different category, because there the offense was palpably intentional. Still, if you apply an equal standard and look for similar incidents, the significant percentage of Islamic overreaction was shocking and deserves censure. Only a very small number of Christians and Jews demand death for blasphemy. If we can criticize Giuliani for withdrawing public funding because he considered that the Ofili Holy Virgin Mary was in bad taste, then we can definitely criticize Muslims who made death threats over cartoons.

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Aug 27 2007 5:54 utc | 19

Swedish, there's an historian in Bergen Norway (ancient port city) that would like to talk to you about Vikings.

In the 9th century or so, the Scandinavians had an industry making good metal tools, and ships to bring them to the rest of Europe.

I read an old book advising their traders how to deal: trade fairly so you would be welcomed again. I am convinced that the rape and pillage motif is mistaken for these people. I'm sure they did attack in some cases, but a seafaring people can't survive as a civilization by doing so, it seems obvious to me that fair trade is a more successful endeavor.

As for the post at hand, it seems we have a number of new contributors. Welcome, fantabulists, exploiters, nay-sayers, obufscators and paid shills.

We've missed you, what have we been doing wrong? Perhaps there have been too many pro-Canadian posts recently and you have been alerted to turn the tide. Nice try!

Posted by: jonku | Aug 27 2007 7:13 utc | 20

true, they traded more then they conquered and pillaged. As all things go the some aspects gets blown up while others get minimised. They did however also conquere and pillage.


Oh really? And did they steal their fellow believers' stuff, enslave each other, and take each other's land on the same scale that they did to other people?

They did attack each other, there was a lot of intra-viking fighting going on at least in the conquered territories. Same scale is a harder question as viking sources as scarce (run-stones only became popular towards the end of the viking era). There are archeological structures that look defensive and are presumed to be a counter against other vikings (though there are arguments that they might be ritual places). There are also societal structures that survives into the christian era and thus are recorded, the military structure (leidung) was divided into offensive raiding force (útróðr) and a defensive coast defense (wardhald), suggesting protection against other vikings was a priority.

Making the picture even more muddied, viking raids did take into consideration cost/benefit and therefore they avoided raiding strong or poor opponents. And there is also the matter of increased risks if you are recognised. While other nations did not make punitive missions into viking homelands, vikings could very well make them. So if they were on a smaller scale (which we have really no way of knowing) concluding that it must be religious demands quite a leap.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Aug 27 2007 15:43 utc | 21

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