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, May 02, 2008
A Man Can't Ride Your Back Unless It's Bent
"Thousands of dockworkers at all 29 West Coast ports, including Los Angeles and Long Beach, took the day off work today in what their union called a protest of the war in Iraq, effectively shutting down operations at the busy complexes." - By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
Sin varies according to the quality of awareness and responsibility. In the case of the current crop of warmongers and economic clowns, the responsibility does not reside so much with individual acts of callousness as of unthinking submission to social mechanisms that operate with iron determinism. Or in the words of Jose Miranda, "Injustice is more a work of the social machinery, of the system of civilization and culture, than it is people's intentions. 'Indeed, the hour is coming,' Jesus warned his disciples, 'when anyone who kills you, will think he is doing a holy duty for God.' (John 16:2)" - Jose Miranda, "Marx and the Bible"
At the Nonviolent Jesus, we do not sit in judgment on individual executors of the philosophy of oppression, be they as culpable as Dick Cheney or as innocent as your next door neighbor. Rather, we seek to understand, detect, and condemn all manifestations of the philosophy itself.
What is the economic manifestation of this philosophy? "Thus it is a Natural, not a Supernatural, Order with which we are concerned; but as God is the Creator, this Natural Order is His order and its law is His law. Thus in the economic field, the reason why goods are produced is that people may satisfy their needs by consuming those goods. Production by its own natural law exists for consumption. If then a system comes in to being in which production is regulated more by the profit obtainable for the producer than by the needs of the consumer, that system is defying the Natural Law or Natural Order." - William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury.
This is the teaching of traditional Christianity, as affirmed by St. Thomas Aquinas and the Fathers of the Church. Those branches of the faith that deny the natural order in their teaching, either explicit or implicit, commit material heresy. "Compromise is as impossible between the Church of Christ and the idolatry of wealth, which is the practical religion of capitalist societies, as it was between the Church and the state idolatry of the Roman Empire." - R. H. Tawney, "Religion and the Rise of Capitalism"
The "idolatry of wealth" is intrinsically opposed to the truths that Jesus came to bear witness to. A system based on this idolatry is therefore directly antithetical to the kingdom of heaven which he came to establish.
Finally, the philosophy which has given blasphemous birth to the Iraq occupation, represents the internalization of the American "bent back", the ingestion of the acceptable lie by the American public, a triumph of the philosophy of oppression, as described as follows by Jose Miranda, "The philosophy of oppression, perfected and refined through civilizations as a true culture injustice, does not achieve its greatest triumph when its propagandists knowingly inculcate it; rather the triumph is achieved when this philosophy has become so deeply rooted in the spirits of the oppressors themselves nad their ideologues that they are not even aware of their guilt." - Jose Miranda, "Marx and the Bible"