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, March 15, 2008
Conservative "values" Christians only see one Holocaust in the world today - the holocaust of abortion. And it is indeed a holocaust, a burnt offering made by the world of global capitalism to the god of Moloch. But it is only one of many offerings made to the same god. Fundamentalists and Catholics often raise aloft pictures of aborted fetuses during pro-life protests to evoke outrage toward the crime that is abortion. But pictures of the horror of the Iraq and Palestinian occupations are never shown alongside the aborted fetuses though the same crime has been committed.
When John Paul II spoke of a "culture of death" he was clearly referring to the abortion society of the modern West which kills innocents for the sake of convenience, pleasure and economic efficiency. These murders are necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of modern economies. But his admonitions against the culture of death encompassed another type of murder which is almost universally accepted by American Catholics - "War is always a defeat for humanity", "Never again war. No, never again war which destroys the lives of innocent people; throws into upheaval the lives of those who do the killing and always leaves behind a trail of hatred and resentment." - John Paul II.
No truer or more passionately believed words have been spoken by a modern pope, yet American Catholics, from bishops to lay people, pretend that these words do not exist. In Catholic terms, this is a culpable failure to rightly form the conscience, a failure that has led directly to the death of over a million Iraqis. When will pictures such as this be carried in pro-life demonstrations?:
Do you see any guilt here? What kind of "catechesis" or "conscience formation" allows silence in the face of such crimes while encouraging the faithful to act for the "right to life" of fetuses? What about Iraqi fetuses? or living children?:
Please show me the "culture of life" among those who permit this murder to go unchallenged. Catholics who are so easily outraged by the approved horrors of abortion while tolerating equal and unchallenged horrors in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are acolytes of the culture of death.
And why does the culture of death gladly allow anti-abortion protests and actions while smothering any word of protest toward the wars in the Middle East? Primarily because one is a nonthreatening distraction that empire can exploit to neutralize the progressive spirit while the other is a direct threat to its life blood. The empire promotes the battle over abortion because it helps divert progressive forces into fighting for the right to uninhibited sexual indulgence. Such sexual practices weaken and corrupt the spirit of resistance. The empire makes a double gain from this battle. On the one side, it redirects those Christians who have nascent insight into the death worship of modern culture toward suspicion and hatred of progressive forces. By making progressive ideas appear "anti-life", it helps to demonize the whole range of such ideas, neutralizing Christian support toward those who would otherwise be their natural allies in saner (and less manipulated) circumstances. On the other side, when those progressive forces win their pro-abortion battles, the empire also gains by diminishing the reverence for life, a sentiment which interferes with the smooth operation of its profit-making potential.
Encouraging this battle also illuminates why the empire winks at sexual practices that lead to spiritual death while pretending to support the decencies of moral rectitude. Both sides of this corrupt equation support its power. Those who serve empire receive the reward of death, but this death is usually clothed in a bundle of material gifts. One of the greatest myths arising from the rebellion of the sixties was that the one that proclaims that sexual self-indulgence and drug taking is "liberating" because it challenges the "hypocrisy" of conventional moral norms. The cliched feel to that description should be an immediate giveaway that this widely encouraged sentiment hides a deeper subversion of the spirit. Note also that this is the aspect of the sixties that has been allowed to become deeply embedded in current culture, whereas striving for political and economic liberation has been completely suppressed. In fact, such practices present no challenge whatever to capitalist culture but instead secretly reinforce its fundamental death-orientation. This culture is essentially an anti-human culture that worships material force and can only conceive rewards in the form of uninhibited hedonism. Such rewards weaken and corrupt the spirit, but are quite compatible with those "Christianists" who would truncate the word of God with fundamentalist butchery. Fundamentalism is a form of spiritual amputation that substitutes a secret materialist literalism for the genuine word of God. And whichever box you put yourself in, the empire profits.
If you become an advocate of abortion and sexual insanity, you make it easier for the empire to kill those that impede its plan to control Middle Eastern oil because you diminish reverence for all human life. You also encourage an atmosphere of cynicism that empire exploits to neutralize the possibility of protest. If you "convert" and become a fundamentalist Christian who believes in the "gospel of prosperity", this intellectual abdication opens you to the whole array of mind-destroying propaganda which empire uses to support its wars. And by opposing abortion and other effects of the domination of capital over humanity, you suture your conscience with pro-life slogans.
Watch the video: What Should You Do?
Go to Resist in March and start by watching the video. Then, for the sake of God, act.