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, May 03, 2008
God’s Desire for a Radical Change
"Rev. Wright is an unapologetic African American preacher who has no hesitation speaking the truth in the best of the religious prophetic tradition. He uses the word 'imperialism.' He talks about 'oppressors' and 'oppressed' and 'God’s desire for a radical change.' He says, accurately, that 'you cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you.'" - Ted Glick, "Obama and Wright: Different Worldviews"
"From Genesis to Revelation. These are people who wrote the word of God that we honor and love under Egyptian oppression, Syrian oppression, Babylonian oppression, Persian oppression, Greek oppression, Roman oppression. So that their understanding of what God is saying is very different from the Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians. And that's what prophetic theology of the African-American church is. in you, that's God's breath that you just breathed. God is the giver of life. Let me tell you what that means. That means we have no right to take a life whether as a gang banger living the thug life, or as a President lying about leading a nation into war. We have no right to take a life! Whether through the immorality of a slave trade, or the immorality of refusing HIV/AIDS money to countries or agencies who do not tow your political line! We have no right to take a life! Turn to your neighbors and say we have no right to take a life!" - Bill Moyers Journal, "Reverend Jeremiah Wright"
We have no right to take a life, either in our neighborhoods or in Iraq. His faith is grounded in the ideas of progressive Catholicism as represented by Martin Marty, "He [Martin Marty] said, 'You know, you come into the average church on a Sunday morning and you think you've stepped from the real world into a fantasy world. And what do I mean by that?' He said pick up the church bulletin. You leave a world, Vietnam, or today you leave a world, Iraq, over 4,000 dead, American boys and girls, 100,000, 200,000 depending on which count, Iraqi dead. Afghanistan, Darfur, rapes in the Congo, Katrina, Lower Ninth Ward, that's the world you leave. And you come in; you pick up your church bulletin. It says, there is a ladies tea on second Sunday. The children's choir will be doing. He said, 'How come our bulletins, how come the faith preached in our churches does not relate to the world in which our church members leave at the benediction?' Well, it hit me. And it hit me several different ways. Number one, I know there's a church publication, the bulletin, the weekly bulletin. But what about the ministry? And what about the prophetic voice of the church that's not heard? We're talking about things that our members are wrestling with a whole bunch of other things. And the sermons and the ministries of the church don't touch those things." - Bill Moyers Journal, "Reverend Jeremiah Wright"
Yet how many Catholics have stood up to defend this theology which plainly undergirds our tradition? We are content with Honeymooners and contemplative prayer groups when our faith is calling us to live the justice taught by our faith?
Rev. Wright's actual sin is against the worship of the principality known as "The United States of America", devotion to which idol has become equivalent to Christianity in the minds of most Americans. But our loyalty is to something higher, "Where governments lie, God does not lie. Where governments change, God does not change. And I'm through now. But let me leave you with one more thing. Governments fail. The government in this text comprised of Caesar, Cornelius, Pontius Pilate - the Roman government failed. The British government used to rule from East to West. The British government had a Union Jack. She colonized Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Hong Kong. Her navies ruled the seven seas all the way down to the tip of Argentina in the Falklands, but the British government failed. The Russian government failed. The Japanese government failed. The German government failed. And the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese descent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. She put them in chains. The government put them on slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in substandard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education and locked them into position of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing God bless America? No, no, no. Not God bless America; God damn America! That's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating her citizen as less than human. God damn America as long as she keeps trying to act like she is God and she is supreme!" - Bill Moyers Journal, "Reverend Jeremiah Wright"
You won't hear such "divisive" speech from Barack Obama - you will hear of the "audacity of hope", of forgetting the oppressions of the past so that we can prepare for those to come. Reconciliation never came from historical ignorance, nor will it ever. It is reminiscent of the "cheap grace" described by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the grace that asks nothing from its disciples and delivers the superficial reconciliation so abominated by the prophets, among whom the Rev. Jeremiah Wright stands proudly. Please consider giving support to his church, whose parishioners have endured death threats because of the irresponsible media frenzy over his just and righteous proclamation of God's truth.