aired Dec 7, 2013 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://youtu.be/T291vu3Z7CY
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of December 8th, 2013.
This-past Thursday, Ronnie Smith, a science teacher, was shot and killed while going for a jog. No, this didn’t happen in Chicago, or Detroit, or the Bronx, it happened in Benghazi, Libya, where Smith had emigrated with his family to spread the gospel and help children there get an education.
Okay, many things to consider in this senseless act of violence. First of all, Benghazi is the place rebels took when they ousted dictator Muammar Khadaffi from power. Now, Khadaffi was no sweetheart. He was an Islamic fundamentalist – which means, he was fundamentally crazy. Also, you could have run a small city for ten years on the energy he expended hating Israel. He funded Jihad and even the Black September terrorists of the Munich Olympics. Bad guy. Not someone I’d want at my pizza party – unless I could take the molten cheese and smear it over his ugly face, and watch the grease droplets melt into all those little pockmarks on his godforsaken punim. But I digress.
Out went Khadaffi and his Shariya law, in went rebel forces and a bunch of moderate Muslims supposedly carried along on the happy rainbow of the so-called Arab spring. All went swimmingly for, oh, a month or two, until Islamic militants attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing our diplomat there. Since then, Libya has not exactly been St. Maarten’s for American visitors.
And yet this guy, Ronnie Smith, he’s on a mission. He thinks God wants him in the middle of Libya, doing good works and maybe spreading some gospel to the heathen. So he brings over his wife and kid, and he’s at the International School teaching chemistry. Does it occur to him that he’s teaching chemistry to a bunch of teenagers who will use that information to make bombs and chemical weapons? For his troubles, and his kindness, and his humanitarian beliefs, Ronnie Smith was shot down like a dog on the street. Allah works in mysterious ways.
So I feel sorry for his family – who were already back in America for the holidays when this happened. And I hope the Libyan government – a phrase which may be an oxymoron at this point – I hope they pay more than lip service to hunting down the Muslim madmen who keep doing, well, what Muslim madmen do.
But let’s be honest: what was this idiot doing in Libya? Really. Who asked him? America’s got public schools that are one step removed from penitentiaries, but this guy has a calling to go help our enemies overseas. And what’s more, the main argument that liberals and “We-are-the-World” types make that can even remotely come close to defending events like 9/11 and the Boston Marathon, is that America sticks its nose in where it doesn’t belong. We go scavenging for oil and scamming for capitalism in any country we can get our grubby red, white and blue hands on. Some of these countries – in Latin America, in North Africa – they don’t want our help. They don’t need our processed foods, our politics, our pornography – but they’re getting it.
In a statement, Smith’s widow, Anita Smith, said, quote, “Ronnie’s greatest desire was for the people of Libya to have the joy of knowing God through Christ,” unquote. Anita, darling, they don’t want your Jesus any more than they want my Jews. And it’s the one prerogative they really are entitled to; if they think the Koran’s gonna get them some virgins, who are we to force our equally crazy religions down their ululating throats?
The death of Ronnie Smith was tragic, but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time for what he fantasized were the right reasons. He knew the risks and admitted as much, but that’s cold comfort to his son, who’s getting a dead father under his Christmas tree. When the American government issues a warning that it’s not safe for white-looking western people to go jogging where they hate us, maybe Jesus, instead of telling his followers, “Go, spread my truth,” should say, “You’re in a war zone, schmuck! Get your tuchas out of there, and go teach at MIT.”
With all due respect to the late Mr. Smith, if you’re a homeless person in London, you can choose to sleep on a bench in Trafalgar Square. But if you wake up covered in pigeon poop, literally and figuratively, that’s on you.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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