"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 23, 2008

The Just Shall Live by Faith

"Mairead Maguire, the Nobel Laureate from Belfast, ends her lectures by inviting those confused about the just war theory, violence and nonviolence, to spend an afternoon alone, for two or three hours in a church, looking up at a crucifix. Take all your questions about violence and nonviolence to the crucified Jesus, she advises, and not only will you begin to be disarmed of your own inner violence, you will hear those great commandments--Put down the sword, Love your enemies, Blessed are the peacemakers--in a new light." - Fr. John Dear, "The Lenten Journey of Gospel Nonviolence (Part 3)"

If you follow this way, prepare yourself to be laughed at, scorned, marginalized, and dismissed as unworthy of consideration. Expect it, relish it, because just so did they treat our Lord. You won't hear the gospel of peace coming from any of the popular candidates in the U.S. election. Miraculously, there was one, Dennis Kucinich, who held out for a few months against the tide of hatred, but sooner or later he was bound to be dismissed. Currently, he is fighting for his political life against his own party, who finally noticed him when he introduced articles of impeachment against Cheney and Bush.

1,173,743 Iraqis have died as a result of our action in their country. How has this policy goal been achieved? "The United States is funding and in many cases arming the three ethnic factions in Iraq-the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunni Arabs. These factions rule over partitioned patches of Iraqi territory and brutally purge rival ethnic groups from their midst. Iraq no longer exists as a unified state. It is a series of heavily armed fiefdoms run by thugs, gangs, militias, radical Islamists and warlords who are often paid wages of $300 a month by the U.S. military." - Chris Hedges, "The Calm Before the Conflagration", Feb. 25, 2007.

The empire always works by division. Shiites and Sunnis did not have an ancient hatred ready to break out any moment which the United States haplessly stumbled on. The U.S. knew only too well that it could not conquer the country if it was united, so they deliberately and violently drove wedges into existing divisions and inflamed them into murderous hatred. Once this work was done, they divided Baghdad into walled off sections, thus cementing the divisions they had so carefully fostered.

The apparent U.S. attempt to buy peace with the Awakening groups is actually maneuvering Sunnis into a new attack position, "The Sunni Arab militias, though they have ended attacks on U.S. forces, detest the Shiite-Kurdish government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and abhor the presence of U.S. troops on Iraqi soil. They take the money and the support with clenched teeth because with it they are able to build a renegade Sunni army, a third force inside Iraq, which they believe will make it possible to overthrow the central government...These militias are the foundation for a deadlier insurgent force, one that will dwarf anything the United States faced in the past." - Chris Hedges, "The Calm Before the Conflagration", Feb. 25, 2007.

War resistance is one way of carrying out the gospel directive to bear witness against empire. If you live in the Bay Area, you can participate in Direct Action Against the War: "Two 'mass direct actions' are being planned for the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. For March 19th, 2008—the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq—DASW is organizing a day of decentralized, multiple-target direct action against government offices and war profiteers in downtown San Francisco. DASW has a list of San Francisco offices of federal agencies, corporations with military contracts or contracts in Iraq, politicians who have failed to stop the war, and foreign embassies of countries linked to the war in Iraq on its website."

These actions should live and breath the life of nonviolence, always remembering the words of William Stringfellow, "Biblical spirituality means powerlessness, living without embellishment or pretense, free to be faithful in the gospel, and free from anxiety about effectiveness or similar illusions of success." - "The Politics of Spirituality". Only by freeing ourselves from our own inner violence can the world be freed from its lust for domination.

Only thus can we act with freedom, unchained by law of success which rules the empire and all those who carry the mark of the Beast.

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