An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Torture Memos

Article 3 of the UN Conventions: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

Friends of democracy and freedom in action: "At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family's links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services."

While the media titters about Karl Rove back in the saddle and our President looks the other way, children are being tortured in our name. One phone call could put an end to these well-documented tortures, but in the name of protecting Christian civilization from "evil-doers" he won't make that call.

Where does sanity lie? "The will to embrace - love - sheds the light of knowledge by the fire it carries with it. The eyes need the light of this fire to perceive any justice in the cause and actions of others. Granted, there may may in fact be no justice to perceive there...But if there is any justice in their cause and actions, only the will to embrace them will make us capable of perceiving it because it will let us see both them and ourselves with their eyes. Similarly, the will to exclude - hatred - blinds by the fire it carries with it. The fire of exclusion directs its light only on the injustice of others; any justice they may have will be enveloped in darkness or branded as covert injustice - a mere contrived goodness designed to make their evil all the more deadly...The clenched fist hinders perception of the justice of others and thereby reinforces injustice; the open arms help detect justice behind the rough front of seeming injustice and thereby reinforce justice." Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace, Abingdon, 1996, p. 216.

God is not asking us to conquer and destroy the evildoers: "Do all you can to live at peace with everyone. Never try to get revenge; leave that, my friends, to God's anger. As scripture says: Vengeance is mine - I will pay them back, the Lord promises. But there is more: If your enemy is hungry, you should give him food and if he is thirsty, let him drink." Romans 12: 19 - 20.

Lord, forgive us the blind "justice" that refuses Christ's sacrifice, who did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at, but humbled himself and took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. Let the cry of the tortured children reach God's ears and let him put an end to such "justice".

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