I grow weary of the blindness of leaders who point out how the Koran “teaches violence”, totally oblivious to the fact that the Old Testament , taken alone, does the same and just as “viciously”. “Blessed is he who smashes their little ones against the rocks” comes to mind (Psalm 137:9).
Also, there are multiple passages instructing conquering Israeli warriors to spare noone, women , children, animals.
And then, for me, the clincher: How do the religions of great nations play themselves out in values expressed in the world? Is the history of the Western World, let alone that of the United States, a history of expansionism which always precedes it’s conquests with a theology of manifest destiny, and “conversion of the heathen, and the ushering in of civilization”? Church history is replete with examples of people who were sent as missionaries and ended up being “seditionists”; for once they spend a bit of life within those communities and come to know the people, they see the callous greed with which their own society treats these “heathen”. A more recent example of this would be the numerous missionaries to Central America in the 70’s and 80’s, who ended up siding with “the people”. Not the Sandinistas or the Contras, but the people. The Contras, we now know, were trained by the U.S. , and mirrored the tactics of the Sandinistas; which was basically “death squads” responsible for indiscriminate wholesale slaughter of entire communities of families. The “diplomats” in place from the U.S. during that time included John Negroponte, who is now Ambassador to Iraq.
This administration marks a radical swing to the extremes of the behavior of U.S. governments to the unapologetically pro-elite status. The amount of economic draining of the populace to funnel the benefits to the top is taking place on an unprecedented scale. This includes the return of talk about the use of death squads for use in Iraq (coincidence? Negroponte in Central America, Negroponte in Iraq?)
Christian Nation. A Church perfectly willing to trumpet “freedom and liberty” while remaining blissfully ignorant of the atrocities in iraq wreaked by U.S. bombs and missiles, not to mention the gunning down of civilians becuase they were “with” a group of insurgents. I have been asked if I would protect my family if a murderous person came in my door. Yes, but I wouldn’t blow up my entire street, but woudl direct it at THE guy. What if he’s in a crowd? Then, ….NO. It’s better for the guilty to go free than for innocents to be killed. Isn’t this a cardinal point at the basic tenets of “freedom and liberty”?
Look at Iraq and ask: “Who’s violent?” HOw many have insurgents killed, and how many have our troops and bombers killed? Insurgents react in defense of their country and we equate them with terrorists. If the US were under occupation, how many “insurgent terrorists” would we have, fighting for freedom?
We deceive ourselves thinking that we have righteous cause to inflict even more massive violence upon a population that ISN’T and WASN’T even involved in 9/11? We’re not even supposed to, as Christians, to go as far as “an eye for an eye”. And we take more than 10 to 1 if you want to look at the start of all this: the 3000+ on 9/11. We’ve brought 50 to 100,000 deaths to Iraq. 50,000, an almost certain underestimate, is apalling and evil. And there may well be another set of deaths equally as large.
I am constantly remembering a Twilight Zone episode where a bigot is talking in a bar to his buddies, and is loud and obnoxious, and spewing racial slurs, and after refusing to shut up after a couple of black men come over and ask him to pipe down, he is thrown out. When he gets up and brushes himself off, he is Nazi Germany, and is shot as a Jew; then he is hung by the KluKlux Klan, and then shot as a “gook” in some Asian country by U.S. soldiers. This is the “afterlife” that our Christian Church in America needs to have. Our families should be placed in Iraq and made to receive the “freedom and liberty” of the Bush administration. Or perhaps a “Christmas Carol” visitation in the night; I was thinking of this as I attended a performance of it in Cincinnati the week after Christmas. The Christmas past, a view of the last 20 years of history in Iraq, under Saddam, and under the occupation since the toppling of Saddam. Then the present, in Fallujah, in houses and neighborhoods and shopping centers hit by U.S. fire. And the future, the inevitable chaos and endless cycles of violence and accusations to set up further deceptions about new “immanent threats” which would require more “preemptive wars” and provide further econmonic benefits and “possibilities for new markets”.
The love of money is the root of all evil.