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.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
War is Over - If You Want It
Christianity is a cry for revolutionary justice, but one that has been strangled by centuries of submission to power for the pottage of survival. The martyrs embraced death to defy empire for the sake of Christ and their message conquered the world. Their successors count filled pew seats and take polls.
"There is an anecdote about the Spanish inquisitor Torquemada from the XV century. In a dialogue he raised the question: Is it allowed not to torture a heretic? He answered: It is not allowed not to torture a heretic because one would take away the last chance of saving his soul.
This has obviously changed and not least for the Church who condemned Torquemada for his cruelty and fanaticism. The question today is: Is it allowed NOT to torture a terror suspect? The answer is: NOT torturing is not allowed because the chance of saving the life of an innocent person would be lost. In the memorandum of the Justice Department, it says: International laws against torture 'may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations' conducted in President Bush’s war on terrorism, according to a newly obtained memo…" - Franz Hinkelammert, "Humanism and Violence"
"Not torturing is changed into an act of barbarism. Not torturing becomes unconstitutional, inhuman, irresponsibility and collaboration with terrorism. Torture promotes life." - "Humanism and Violence"
But the voice of the baby speaks:
This little Babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake,
Though he himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak, unarmed wise,
The gates of hell he will surprise.
With tears he fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows made of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns cold and need,
And feeble flesh his warrior's steed.
His camp is pitched in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib his trench, hay stalks his stakes,
Of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus as sure his foe to wound,
The Angels' trumps alarum sound.
- Benjamin Britten, A Ceremony of Carols
Since our imperial troops have laid Mesopotamia waste, the pageantry and comfort of a New Year's Day parade highlights the anguish we have caused. As Cindy Sheehan put it before the White Rose Coalition protest on Jan. 1, 2008: "I can’t remember a time in my life where anyone protesting at a parade would have upset me at all, but since Casey was killed in Iraq and since I have faced and witnessed so much violence, oppression and hardship in the world, it is absolutely stunning to me that this protest would create so much vileness and venom. There are so many more important things in the world besides parades and football games. I have also tried to imagine an Iraqi happening to catch a glimpse of the Rose Parade on TV somehow and marveling how everything is so happy and beautiful in America when our nation has utterly devastated and destroyed theirs."
Cindy's perceptions are, as always, clear-eyed and unflinching, but as followers of the one who exposed unjust social relations in ancient Palestine, we must go deeper. The Rose Bowl shimmers and shines with the wealth created in the devastation of Iraq. Wars are created so that arms dealers have someone to sell to.
"Since the 'conquest' of Iraq, over one million Iraqis have been slaughtered or have died from the tragic, but unavoidable consequences of invasion and occupation. BushCo have desecrated our Constitution and the almost complete fascist take-over of our media and the blatant stealing of our freedoms here at home have bypassed many Americans while they are slumbering in our dull, stupid sleep.
As long as people like Carrie have their 'circuses' to divert them, then they don’t have to bother their 'beautiful minds' with the crimes of BushCo---but ignorance is not an excuse for being awash in the blood of nearly 4000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
I spend every second of every day mourning my son and longing for his future. I am sorry if someone wearing an 'Impeach Bush and Cheney' t-shirt will ruin a parade for somebody, but we are trying to prevent many more people from having their entire lives ruined.
We cannot allow this criminal regime to continue as in the words of the first leaflet from the White Rose Society:
It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes ... reach the light of day." - Cindy Sheehan.