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, September 14, 2007

The Cross of Iron



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. [...] This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron." - Dwight Eisenhower.

"According to ORB (Opinion Research Business), US-occupied Iraq, with an estimated 1.2 million violent deaths, has 'a murder rate that now exceeds the Rwanda genocide from 1994 (800,000 murdered),' with another one million wounded and millions more driven from their homes into internal or external exile." - "British polling agency: More than one million Iraqi deaths since US invasion"

As spiritual people, numbers should not be the measure of moral evil - the death of one innocent Iraqi should put us in sackcloth and mourning. But the fact that our tolerance for evil has grown to the point that we can sit (or kneel) calmly while one million of our brothers and sisters are slaughtered with our silent complicity shouts out spiritual shame, the pathetic state of our souls. Such a situation is a symptom of degeneration that would throw a truly spiritual people into agony.

In the meantime, I simply ask, "Where is the rage?!" - Iraq War Veteran Justin Cliburn.

When a Christian achieves moral clarity on an issue of justice, then he is obliged to act. While the powers that be are "indefinitely shoveling our troops and treasure into the bottomless pit of Iraq", we are involved, whether by our silence or our action, through sins of omission or commission. Where can we flee from our conscience?

Many are deterred by a sense of overwhelming weakness, which is precisely what the corporate media is designed to induce. Our best efforts seem so pointless, so meaningless in the face of overwhelming power. Yet they are not meaningless. One deed done out of love of justice has more power than than all the bombs that have ever been dropped. Christ showed us the way when he climbed the cross while the crowd mocked. When our efforts seem without effect and God is silent, the works of the spirit continue to grow.

In the words of Gandhi, "I will not be a traitor to God to please the whole world." To betray those who depend on our voice for their very life is a violation of the ties that bind us together as human beings.

So let's pitch into the work of organization. "History has shown that the only way to sway the 'powers that be' lies in the ever increasing mobilization and organization of diverse, broad public groupings against the manipulations and calculations of what Chomsky has called the 'pragmatic planners of American Empire.' Raising the social cost of the war at home is our long-term goal, undermining the 'pillars' that support the continuation of the war and occupation." - Mark Rudd. One of the most important short term goals is supporting the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Their grief and passion has become the spearhead of the anti-war movement and their moral courage deserves the support of everyone who believes the following words:

Come! See the wonders
God does across the earth:
everywhere stopping wars,
smashing, crushing, burning
all the weapons of war.

An end of your fighting!
Acknowledge me as God,
High over nations, high over earth.

Psalm 46

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