"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 01, 2009

The Absolute Minimum

Let's reduce it basics. Christians cannot approve torture - ever. Our souls are protected by God, not by the CIA. Human harm is the essence of sin because sin is an offense against God, whose image is humanity. Christians who approve of torture have renounced the faith - root and branch. Christ was tortured for their salvation - to approve of torture is to renounce salvation.

Yet Obama and most other Christians approve of torture, On Feb. 9, days after his inauguration, at the height of his popularity, when he had overwhelming public support to end torture, he endorsed the worst extreme of the Bush policy - kidnapping "enemy combatants" and rendering them to foreign prisons to be tortured "The Obama Administration today announced that it would keep the same position as the Bush Administration in the lawsuit Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. A source inside of the Ninth U.S. District Court tells ABC News that a representative of the Justice Department stood up to say that its position hasn't changed, that new administration stands behind arguments that previous administration made, with no ambiguity at all. The DOJ lawyer said the entire subject matter remains a state secret. This is not going to please civil libertarians and human rights activists who had hoped the Obama administration would allow the lawsuit to proceed." - Glenn Greenwald, "Obama fails his first test on civil liberties and accountability -- resoundingly and disgracefully", Feb. 9, 2009

The complete silence or active approval of the vast majority of the Christian communities in the face of this endorsement of torture raises an interesting question, "If Christianity lacks any pragmatic commitment to human rights, then who is the God that it worships?" If years of Bible reading and listening to sermons about sin and salvation do no lead to respect for our fellow human beings, then what is the practical effect of this religion?

The spirit of Christ can be found in this passage, "Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of humanity. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of humanity. Destruction is not the law of humans. Humans live freely by their readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of a brother, never by killing another. Every murder or injury no matter for what cause, committed or inflicted on another, is a crime against humanity." - Mohandas Gandhi.

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