Friday, July 18, 2008

Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America website

My recent post On "Islamophobia" prompted a brief but interesting exchange of comments on the issue of criticism of religion and belief.

In light of that hardly-resolved issue, it is worth examining the website of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Eastern America to see what sort of information, viewpoints, and materials this particular American-based, tax-exempt organization is making available.

Well, in the "Archived News" section, there is a story dated July 10 on the "St. Elijah 31st Annual Summer Day Camp". And what is the theme for this years' camp? Why, "KOSOVO IS SERBIA" of course! Here is the synopsis of the events that week:

Each day began with morning prayers, followed by a history lesson on an era of Kosovo’s history:

Monday: Land of faith and tradition: Why Kosovo is important to us

Tuesday: 1389 ~ The Battle of Kosovo

Wednesday: Turkish Occupation, Independent Serbia, and Yugoslavia

Thursday: Yugoslavia breaks up, NATO bombs, the UN takes over

Friday: The Battle of Kosovo movie

In order to enhance each lesson, special activities were planned. The older campers rehearsed and performed a play The Battle of Kosovo (thanks to St. Luke in Washington, D.C. for providing the script and costumes). Mim Bizic shared her personal experiences in Kosovo and presented each camper with several gifts that helped to truly demonstrate the spirit of Kosovo. And of course, the camp t-shirts had the Maiden of Kosovo on them. We even incorporated the Kosovo theme into our “Serbian Survivor” game. Our teams were named for famous Serbian Orthodox monasteries or churches in Kosovo, each with a flag designed and made by the team to show a little of that church’s history and importance. The knowledge challenge questions were all about Kosovo, as we attempted to tie the daily lessons into a practical use – winning a prize!

No word on which kids got stuck playing the Turks. Or whether anyone bothered dressing up as any of the non-Serbs who fought on the Christian side; I'm quite certain that this recreation was scrupulous in its historical accuracy and even-handed presentation of events.

I have to say, in some ways I'm a little jealous--I was raised in a religious home, and I went to both Bible school and Church camp every summer, but not once were we allowed--encouraged, even!--to dress up in military costumes and play army! I wonder how much time these kids spent singing "Kumbaya"?

If sending your kids to a week of fetishistic indoctrination isn't quite enough, the Diocese although has a wealth of books available through the online Bookstore, where the interested and the devout can find such titles as The Orthodox Study Bible
, The Eastern Fathers of the Fourth Century, Introduction to the Serbian Orthodox Church History
, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, and Patristic Theology. Oh, and if reading church history and works of theology gets a little dull, you can always spice it up with titles like Media Lies and the Conquest of Kosovo, Media Cleansing. Dirty Reporting. Journalism and Tragedy in Yugoslavia (by well-known Srebrenica-denier Peter Brock), and my personal favorite, Ratko Mladic--Tragic Hero, the long-awaited English-language biography by Milo Yelesiyevich.

I have said this about Islamists who sanction murder in the name of jihad, I have said it about creationists who want to stifle the teaching of science in public schools, and I'll say it about these sanctimonious, myth-peddling blowhards--believe what you will, but don't expect the slightest bit of deference or respect for your "beliefs" if they don't hold up to rational inquiry or moral scrutiny.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh My "God"... and they call themselves religious organization. Kosovo was the source of all evils in the Balkans, and Serbia had every right to lose Kosovo.