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.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Resistance to Violence is the Only Human Way to Live
"The Democratic-controlled Senate moved Thursday to shield telecommunications companies that aided the Bush administration’s illegal domestic spying program from lawsuits. By a vote 60 to 36, the Senate rejected any provision in its upcoming amendment to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that would open the companies to prosecution in civil courts." - "US Senate moves to grant immunity to telecoms complicit in illegal wiretapping", Jan. 26, 2008. To understand the depth of the capitulation, read Glenn Greenwald's piece, "Your Harry Reid-led Senate in action" which can be found here: Your Harry Reid-led Senate in action
Habits die hard. If Democrats are this submissive to an incompetent leader while the wind of the majority blows in their favor, what might they do for a popular and accomplished leader? Whenever despair of the Republic starts to gnaw, I remember the Resistance fighters of WWII whose governments collapsed before another empire. What kept their hope alive? The act of resistance itself keeps hope alive and is the only means of retaining sanity and conscience.
Keeping hope alive means keeping the inner spiritual life in us breathing, speaking, and acting. Our enemy is precisely the despair that imperial propaganda blares and disguises in a thousand forms. Just as drug taking is a form of despair in the goodness of our humanity and our prospects for a life of creative endeavor, so reconciling ourselves to life in an empire that is destroying life for billions is submission to the power of death.
What is this ingratitude that seizes us in the face of the miraculous gifts of God? Our lives could be filled with creative deeds, with acts of spiritual power, not scurrying like cockroaches in the consumerist prisons we have allowed to be built around us, ingesting degrading "entertainment" that neutralizes our conscience and drains our power to resist.
We may well be facing the end of the democratic republic in America, as our elected representatives have lost the power of resistance to empire: "... where it counts most, Democratic leaders in Congress have completely abdicated their constitutional oversight role. What they are doing now reprises the worst failures of other self-paralyzed Parliaments in societies that were facing crackdowns on civil liberties and the rule of law, and their voluntary self-emasculation may go down in history as one of those turning points at which leaders cave shamefully to transformative pressure that leaves a country far less than its founded ideal. Through their actions, they are potentially causing irreparable harm to the institution of Congress itself...the White House essentially asserted that Congress has no power over the executive branch and could not question executive branch officials about their activities." - Naomi Wolf, "It’s Time to Hold Democratic House Leaders in Contempt", Jan. 26, 2008.
If we are facing the end of democracy, then it is time for us to start forming cells of resistance, as the Confessing Church did in Germany during the 1930's. The "German Church" in our situation is right-wing fundamentalism that is acting as the ideological engine for the advent of open fascism. Those who doubt this should take a look at Huckabee's recent comments on Iraq's WMD: "I think it's more likely that that weapons of mass destruction that we know that he at one time had, he used weapons against the Kurds, good chance they may have gone to Jordan. We don't know where they are." - Mike Huckabee, Jan. 25, 2008. Clearly, truth has no meaning for this "evangelical" leader.
"To exist, under Nazism, in silence, conformity, fear, acquiescence, obeisance, collaboration - to covet "safety" or "security" on the conditions prescribed by the State - caused moral insanity, meant suicide, was fatally dehumanizing, constituted a form of death. Resistance was the only stance worthy of a human being, as much in responsibility to oneself as to all other humans, as the famous Commandment mentions. And if that posture involved grave and constant peril of persecution, imprisonment, or execution, at least one would have lived humanly while taking these risks. Not to resist, on the other hand, involved the certitude of death - of moral death, of the death to one's humanity, of death to sanity and conscience, of the death which possesses humans profoundly ungrateful for their own lives and for the lives of others." - William Stringfellow, "An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land.