Re: Mother Teresa

From: zeb haradon (
Date: Tue May 30 2000 - 18:05:08 MDT

>Subject: Re: Mother Teresa
>Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 17:17:34 EDT
> I have to admit I never expected to see anyone trash Mother Teresa.
>Who's next Gandhi? MLK?

Both of these individuals, while (in my opinion) leaving the world a better
place then it was when they entered it, certainly had flaws. Off the top of
my head: Gandhi was having sex at the exact moment his father died (I think
it was his father). When he found out this fact, he vowed chastity for the
rest of his life. He would sleep in the same bed as naked virgins, to prove
(to others or himself?) that he was beyond temptation. There's nothing noble
about this.. whatever he did for India, Gandhi was a fucked up guy, and
shouldn't be an example to anyone of how to live your life. Read Salmon
Rushdie's article on him in Time magazine for more info (I think it was in a
"people of the century" type of issue). MLK is justly a hero for being the
individual most responsible for the end of apartheid in this country, but
had a nearly (perhaps completely) socialist approach to politics, and would
have caused an enourmous amount of poverty and suffering in this country if
he'd ever been elected to a public office with a lot of influence. His
nonviolent "turn the other cheek" message was an effective method at the
time he was preaching it, mainly I think because of the power of television,
but the same ideas applied in other periods of history would have had
hideous results. His legacy could be used to perpetuate the myth that its
more noble to lie down and be crushed under tyrany then to defend yourself.
I think Malcolm X's ideas were much more philosophically admirable. While
still based in religion, he had the attitude that "nobody gives you freedom.
If you're a man, you take it" (that's a quote as best I can remember). His
response to economic inujustice was to encourage blacks to build their own
economies. This is much more healthy for the individual then MLK's strategy
of integrating the black community, by force of law, into an american south
which resented them, in order to acheive a shallow harmony. Ask any African
American friend you have if he feels much a sense of accomplishment at
getting a job when he knows he was only hired as a token to satisfy
affirmative action.

I've been thinking a lot about the Mother Theresa debate. I'm not quite sure
how I feel about it. I feel no resentment towards her, as she did not ever
use force to attain her goals. The person who said that anyone joining her
was, "in effect", a slave, is wrong. They had as much autonomy as anyone
else, they were there by choice. If it was a fautly set of premises which
kept them in her service (it was), they were still fully free to abandon
them. I can't really say that Mother Theresa was "evil", but I can say that
in a world where people were a little smarter, she would have been left with
nothing to do, and that she really didn't accomplish anything in her life.
Telling a dying person that everything is going to be ok, because a god will
grant him a place in an imaginary heaven if he just grovels before him to
ask forgiveness for the sin of being born, is not an accomplishment.
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