In decrying the human rights abuses continuing in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, some have asked why “the Jewish people” are doing to the Palestinians what they would not want done to their own people, terrifying things that have happened historically. Good question – if “the Jewish people” were guilty of the current atrocities occurring under the reign of terror imposed by Ariel Sharon.

They are not – any more than “the Muslim people” are guilty of the horrific assaults in the U.S. on Sept. 11 or “the Christian people” are guilty of firebombing abortion clinics.

Religion has been described as the “opiate of the masses.” It also can be an hallucinogenic drug akin to LSD in the hands of the right wing. Folks are duped into thinking they “see God’s will” when they are actually watching the machinations of the world’s greatest charlatans, those who use “God” as a football to help them score touchdowns, with the ultimate prize being capitalist domination of the masses and the resources of the world.

The right wing of all major religions pervert an innocent belief in a higher power. They impede the progress of humanity for purposes having nothing do with God but with greed. They understand how easy it is to “slip a Mickey” into the fount of faith from which others drink. However, many people use faith to gain strength for battles against this very same right wing, the imperialist polluters of those faiths.

Faiths are polluted not with the aim of getting all God’s children to heaven, but to whip them into a frenzy that would see them kill or be killed, grabbing for their ruling class another people’s lands and resources, a cheap labor force and, oh, maybe, while the imperialists are at it, an oil pipeline near the Caspian Sea. Those temporal concerns outweigh any other concerns by those who use religion as a tool to sway the masses to join wars “against terrorism” or “against the infidels” – wars that kill, starve, terrorize and turn to ashes the lives of workers worldwide.

Millions of workers’ lives are caught in the crossfires that blaze around the world. Those wars blaze, not because some higher being wants them, but because the small percentage of human beings who control the world’s wealth decree that they happen. Only by seeing through the machinations of the right wing of the world – and saying no to the right wing’s wars – will we move past the stage where vicious humans can use God as a stalking-horse for imperialist and/or reactionary power.

Behind the smokescreen of Christianity, the Christian Right works to deny women the right to control their own bodies and supports imperialism. Behind the smokescreen of Islam, the Islamic right wing denies rights to protesters and women and is a reactionary force. Behind the smokescreen of Judaism, right-wing Zionists continue to rain assault and murder on people in a territory of the world that, according to religious clerics, was promised by God to three different religions. It seems as if all of those claims would create a God who is less than honest, sort of a jokester.

We must be serious. It’s time to stop using “God’s promises” as a weapon of mass mayhem and destruction towards humanity.

There is much to be done on the earth. Every day, 30,000 children under the age of five die of preventable causes. Combined, 3 billion humans in the world have less in total assets than the richest 300 people in the world. Whose “will” is that?

Let’s look at the human thievery, chicanery and warmongering criminality that would create such ungodly statistics. What’s happening here is no great mystery. The small percentage of the world’s people who have grabbed land, hoarded wealth and amassed weapons through owning the means of production are determined in their greed to have it all, even if it means blowing up most of the world and the world’s workers to do so.

For the imperialist/reactionary charlatans, their true definition of hell is a united international working class willing to battle toward socialism. Let’s give it to them, right here on earth.

Barbara Jean Hope is a reader in Philadelphia. She can be reached at