The Virgin Mary Would Be Disappointed by Lebanese Christians’ Treatment of Mustafa Sbeity
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I guess you all know how much of an outspoken atheist I am, and how that is my unalienable right enshrined in the Lebanese constitution. For most of my life though, I was a deeply faithful Christian Maronite. That’s why, when stuff like the Mustafa Sbeity debacle happen, I see it from an angle that’s influenced by growing up as a Christian boy in a Catholic school.

I know that most Christians in Lebanon are against the detention of the 59-year-old poet. Many though, are with, and to those, I know human rights and freedom of expression won’t resonate much, so I will instead remind you of 5 verses from the Bible:

Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done. (Matthew 6:14–15)
Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. (Ephesians 4:31–32)
Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. (Matthew 6:12)
You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. (Colossians 3:12–13)

So, to the Christians foaming at the mouth and holding pitchforks and torches in their rabid attacks on this senior citizen for a status he posted when inebriated (that he has since removed and apologized for) what the hell are you doing?

This isn’t Saudi Arabia or Iran, despite the recent political turmoil. People here shouldn’t be thrown in jail for a crime with no victims, simply for offending some people’s sensibilities. Archaic laws from the 50s shouldn’t be transformed into a tool to punish someone because TV stations and political party “news” websites want a bump in ratings and hits and keep searching for hapless victims for unnecessary, humiliating witch hunts.

Remember those “WWJD” bracelets you used to wear? The “What Would Jesus Do” ones? Well, you all know very well that Jesus, and the Virgin Mary, would not approve of your actions and sentiments. What is this bitterness and hatred, and lust for torture and pain? How is that not more insulting to Christian values than a stupid status by a simple man who could be the age of your dad or grandpa?

Are we really part of the undesirable group of countries that still punish “blasphemy” in the 21st Century? Like ISIS’s “caliphate”? Or the Inquisition?

Shame on anyone who is part of this, and shame on the Lebanese authorities and judiciary for succumbing to this lust for torture and pain against a defenseless poet who shared something distasteful on his own Facebook profile.

Release him, now. If you are so pro-enforcing old laws, then fine the man, but stop robbing him of his freedom and dignity, to allegedly defend a faith, whose Messiah preached “turn the other cheek”, spent his time with “sinners” and asked only those without sin “throw the first stone”.

Do you feel you are more important than Jesus and Mary? If Jesus turned the other cheek, and suffered through the entire passion of the Christ, the insults, humilation, and crucifixion, and said “forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”, then who the hell are you to say otherwise 2000 years later?

Be humble. Educate yourself about your faiths, and make it something that makes you better people, not horrible ones.

The Virgin Mary Would Be Disappointed by Lebanese Christians’ Treatment of Mustafa Sbeity was originally published in Gino’s Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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