Ungodly slogans of simple minds

September 8, 2008

Tonight south of Portland I saw a young guy wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with “Kill All the Terrorists” in big letters. In smaller letters was the kicker: “And let Allah sort it out.”

He was at Bridgeport Village, an upscale collection of chain stores and restaurants that I rarely visit. But an emergency run for new threads was in order given my fast-approaching high school reunion.

I wish I’d had the guts to ask t-shirt guy how he would feel if his innocent relative was snatched off a dusty street in Afghanistan and turned over to U.S. forces who paid generous bounties during the invasion. By many accounts, hundreds or even thousands of innocent people have been detained. Many have been tortured. Some beaten to death.

Seeing a complex world through the lens of trite sloganeering must be comforting, I guess. This I know: another young guy is walking around a market somewhere in the Middle East wearing a t-shirt that reads, “Kill all the Infidels. And let Jesus sort it out.”

As I drove home, I imagined them meeting.