"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, July 01, 2006

The Face of Integrity

Lieut. Ehren Watada said with respect to Iraq deployment, "My participation would make me party to war crimes." On June 22, he refused deployment with the following words: "I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. My oath of office is to protect and defend America’s laws and its people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today."

As a Catholic, what I find so remarkable about Lieut. Watada's decision is the fact that hundreds of thousands of Christians now serving in Iraq have not made his decision - in fact, many have chosen not to fulfill their oath or their duty of conscience to our Lord or in the case of Catholics, to our Holy Father who has been absolutely consistent in opposition to this war. Please support Lieut. Watada by going to his website and signing the petition and consider making a donation: http://www.thankyoult.org/

If you wish to examine the full legal case supporting Lieut. Watada's position, see the Nation article: http://www.warcrimeswatch.org/news_details.cfm?artid=1676&cat=1. The immediate consequence for those who follow our risen Lord is to ask what we are doing to show that we also oppose these ongoing crimes. This is not simply one cause among many, it unifies many causes into a single cry of conscience. If we are now unwilling to stand for the least of these, the Iraqi people who are being butchered and tortured as a direct consequence of our actions, then what future cause will we be willing to be held accountable for? Pro-lifers, why are not as willing to protect the innocent living? Christians of all persuasions, how can you not see the face of Jesus in brutalized faces of those we have reduced to misery?

Lt. Watada now faces possible charges of mutiny. "The conservative group Military Families Voice of Victory is already "demanding the Army prosecute Lt. Watada to the fullest extent under the Uniform Code of Military Justice." Our Lord guides our footsteps along the path of mutiny against the powers of this world. Or to let the Lieutenant have the final say, "When you are looking your children in the eye in the future, or when you are at the end of your life, you want to look back on your life and know that at a very important moment, when I had the opportunity to make the right decisions, I did so, even knowing there were negative consequences." Would that the millions of followers of Jesus in this country and in the military would do the same.

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