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, October 05, 2007
Heal the Killer in Our Hearts
The Amish community forgave their killers - can we heal the killer in our hearts?
"I am increasingly confident that when the history of the Bush Administration is written, this systematic violation of statutory and treaty-based law concerning fundamental war crimes and other horrific offenses will be seen as the blackest mark in our nation's recent history -- not only because of what was done, but because the programs were routinely sanctioned, on an ongoing basis, by numerous esteemed professionals -- lawyers, doctors, psychologists and government officers -- without whose approval such a systematized torture regime could not be sustained." - Marty Lederman
The moral outrage that these facts should raise should not be wasted in support of Democratic fakery. The channels of power that have led to the deaths of one million Iraqis must be broken, not restocked with the warm blood of a new generation of anti-war action. Voting to support the current crop of Democratic "leaders" is endorses a sham designed to fool those whose outrage is the real object of government fear.
This endorsement of emptiness is widely touted as the best we can do in current circumstances. But Christians do not worship success. With Jesus, they share in another power than the power that rules this world. In the words of Dorothy Day: "We believe that success, as the world determines it, is not the criterion by which a movement should be judged. We must be prepared and ready to face seeming failure. The most important thing is that we adhere to these values which transcend time and for which we will be a personal accounting, not as whether they succeeded (though we should hope that they do), but as to whether we remained true to them even though the whole world go otherwise." With Jesus, we submit to the cross rather than embrace the violence that leads to success in this world. And we pay for it with obscurity and contempt. For the anti-war movement, seeming failure will often be our lot, but "these values which transcend time" must be preserved in our hearts with all the purity we can muster. One person with a sufficiently pure intent can change the world, but buying into shams for the sake of the crumbs that drop from the master's table will never lead to the kingdom of God.
What matters is on what our ideal is focused. "If your focus is on how others are treated, how society regards them, how they are cared for, then your ideal is justice, not what you possess. If you are paying attention to the lot of others, you aren’t paying attention to the boundary lines. And if you aren’t paying attention to the boundary lines, you are paying attention to people. Which is the beginning of hospitality; which is one of the real purposes of the law, and of society: it’s a way of caring for one another." - Adventus
Many of us have begun to realize that we are the "Good Germans" of the current war, a war as horrific to the Iraqis as WWII was to the French. We pretend to weep and moan over the war, but it was our post-sixties lifestyle choices, the constant watering-down of our passion for justice, and the acceptance, at first grudging, later enthusiastic, of the fundamental value of consumerism, that leads in a direct line to the catastrophe in the Middle East, which has barely begun. Bush might have pulled the trigger, but we sold him the gun.
In the words of Frank Rich, "It's time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves." The corporate media smooths the edges of the lies that we must tell in order to sleep at night. Their unpleasant, but vital job is to smother the screams that resound in the American torture chambers and keep alive our decent self image. What the Gestapo did in secret is now openly endorsed by our President. The phrase "enhanced interrogation methods" was adopted directly from the Nazis: "Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the third degree.' It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation." - Frank Rich, New York Times, Oct. 14, 2007.
By our silence, we have consented.