"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, February 04, 2006

Call to Courage

Cure thy children's warring madness,
Bend our pride to thy control;
Shame our wanton selfish gladness
Rich in things and poor in soul.

- Harry Emerson Fosdick

"Peace always seems a weary way off. As Jeremiah lamented, 'We looked for peace, but no peace came.' But to give up on peace is to give up on God." - William Sloan Coffin.

Daniel Ellsberg: "I would not have thought of copying the Pentagon Papers, risking a possible lifetime in prison, without the example of thousands of young Americans who were doing everything they could--including non-violent disobedience to the draft regulations--to oppose a wrongful, hopeless war. They showed civic courage, and I can attest to its effectiveness; as a government consultant and former official, I felt its power on my own life.

In the face of a president blatantly violating the law, pursuing another stalemated, hopeless, wrongful war, and proclaiming his intent to continue both, civic courage is needed today from those who can hold him and his administration to account: members of Congress, journalists, potential whistleblowers inside the government, prosecutors and judges. "Everything they can do," even at cost to their positions and careers, is what is needed from those in such strategic positions at this moment, and what we should demand of them, by our own example. Nothing less is appropriate to this constitutional crisis.

Courage is contagious. One way members of the public can awaken courageous initiatives by such people is by confronting them with the spectacle of masses of plain citizens showing their faces together in public streets and squares to express their outrage, their condemnation and rejection of official practices. Demonstrations scheduled for this Saturday in Washington, D.C. can, among other things, encourage Congressional representatives to use their full powers in upcoming investigations to expose and curtail governmental abuses --starting on Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the blatantly illegal and unconstitutional domestic spying by the administration."

Please consider participating in the demonstration on Feb. 4. At this point, only determined opposition from American citizens can stop the consolidation of power by those who would establish a corporatist state in America. This is a cry for hope. In the end, despite the seeming technological inevitability of the corporatist takeover, it is human beings who are carrying out this power grab. Human beings with an inextinguishable capacity for conscience, not the bloodless masks of corruption that their behavior demonstrates so convincingly. Their conversion will free them from their capacity for destruction. In the words of Jon Sobrino, "We must free him from this evil, and this is what forgiveness tries to do: convert and re-create the sinner." Pray for their conversion and our own conversion from an equally sinful silence. Pray too that those in positions of power in the U.S. government may show their conversion by acts of openess and honesty. Many will have to pay the price exacted by the vengefulness of those who mask their addiction to power behind Christian rhetoric, but eventually they will be unable to suppress a multitude of voices. Let these voices sound out.

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