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Home arrow Blog arrow September 2009 arrow September 3,2009

September 3,2009
September 3, 2009: "Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system"-Dorothy Day

The problem is NOT Christianity! The problem is that too few who claim to be Christian, have actually done what Jesus taught and modeled with his NONVIOLENT life.

Lately I have been accused of being "to hard on the church" but my issue with the institutional churches is that too many are more about socializing, NOT much about the social gospel and then there are those that even 'worship' the State.


However, Good News came this morning in an email from
The World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee which "called on the Israeli government to freeze and begin to dismantle settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. It also encouraged a commitment to non-violence and peace negotiations, and reiterated the need for an international boycott of products and services from settlements.

In a public “Statement on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” passed today in Geneva, Switzerland, at the end of its 26 August – 2 September meeting, the WCC central committee called “upon the government of Israel to urgently implement an open-ended freeze in good-faith on all settlement construction and expansion as a first step towards the dismantlement of all settlements”.

The committee considered some 200 settlements with more than 450,000 settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories to be “illegal, unjust, incompatible with peace and antithetical to the legitimate interests of the state of Israel”.

Even as “Israel’s own right to exist in security evokes sympathy and solidarity around the world”, the committee states, “its policies of expansion and annexation generate dismay or hostility”. For the committee there is a clear distinction to be made “between the legitimate interests of the state of Israel and its illegal settlements”.

The central committee reiterated its call to WCC member churches “to accompany and encourage the commitment to non-violence and active engagement in peace negotiations”. It also invited “member churches and faithful to give moral and practical support to non-violent acts of resistance to the confiscation of land, the destruction of Palestinian properties and the eviction of people from their homes and lands”.

The statement “reiterates the need for an international boycott of settlement products and services”. WCC member churches “must not be complicit in illegal activities on occupied territory” and therefore should “practice morally responsible investment in order to influence businesses linked to the Israeli occupation and its illegal settlements”, the statement says.

The illegal settlements “and their corresponding infrastructure including the separation wall” have dire consequences on the life and dignity of Palestinian people, the WCC statement says.

Settlements deny Palestinians access to “land and water resources”, “restrict their freedom of movement, diminish their basic human dignity and, in many cases, their right to life”, impede their “right to education and access to health care”, and “destroy the Palestinian economy”. In these ways they increase “the sense of dispossession and despair”.

In addition to that, “illegal settlements in and around Jerusalem endanger the future of the holy city”, which “should be open to all and shared by the two peoples and the three religions”.

The WCC central committee calls on member churches to “pray for and assist people who are suffering” as a result of settlement activity and “hear the call of the churches of Jerusalem for concrete actions by the international ecumenical community toward a just peace for both Palestinians and Israelis”.



With that now being said from many pulpits, I am led to repeat myself regarding:

Failures of Intelligence has reaped the Militarization of Christianity



"The Crusade for a Christian Military: Jesus Killed Mohammed" by Jeff Sharlet in HARPER'S May 2009 edition is a chilling clarion call regarding the entrenchment of Christian fundamentalism in the USA military beginning during the Cold War that accelerated during the Vietnam era which has wrecked havoc on the very soul of our nation.

Fundamentalist [referred to as evangelical by Sharlet] Chaplains began to join the military in droves as they aligned themselves with the Industrial Military Complex in opposition with Catholics and mainline moderate Protestant denominations such as Methodists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians who were of one voice speaking out against American terrorism in Vietnam and for following in the ways of the nonviolent Jesus.

“Starting in 1987, Protestant denominations were lumped together simply as “Protestant”; moreover, the Pentagon began accrediting hundreds of evangelical and Pentecostal “endorsing agencies,” allowing graduates of fundamentalist Bible colleges—which often train clergy to view those from other faiths as enemies of Christ—to fill up nearly the entire allotment for Protestant chaplains. Today, more than two thirds of the military’s 2,900 active-duty chaplains are affiliated with evangelical or Pentecostal denominations." [1]

"For decades, the military built a sense of solidarity out of a singular purpose, the Cold War struggle between free markets and state-planned economies—the shining city on a hill versus the evil empire…meshed neatly with ideologies [that connected] nationalism and fundamentalism…Communism…the dark alternative should we fail to unite. Fundamentalism thrived…a neat, black-and-white [theology and] a foreign policy. The end of the Cold War deprived militant evangelicals of that clarity [and] the emergence of “radical Islam” [became] the object of a new Cold War." [Ibid]

The roots of American evangelism sprang from the original altar call for Christians to stand up against slavery. What has been passing for Christianity in our military today is the antithesis of what Jesus was all about.

"Everyone but Christians understands that Jesus was nonviolent."-Gandhi

Clement, Tertillian, Polycarp and every other early Church Father taught that violence was a contradiction of what Christ was about. The first and greatest heresy in the Christian faith occurred in the third century when Augustine penned the "Just War Theory" for church and state united and "our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system."-Dorothy Day

One of the greatest Christian spiritual leaders of all time, Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk that listened to Bob Dylan LP's in his hermitage in Kentucky during the '60's was the first religious voice to rise up and speak out against the Vietnam War.

Merton also said, "The duty of the Christian at this time is to do the one task God has imposed upon us in this world today. The task is to work for the total abolition of war. There can be no question that unless war is abolished; the world will remain constantly in a state of madness…The church [meaning all Christians] must lead the way on the road to the abolition of war…Peace is to be preached and nonviolence is to be explained and practiced."

The deep spiritual darkness of Christian fundamentalism in the USA Air Force Academy in Colorado enabled the likes of Walid Shoebat, author of "Why We Want to Kill You" to speak to the troops in his role as a former fundamentalist Islamic supposed terrorist who is now a converted fundamentalist Christian.

Shoebat is one of the infamous darlings of fear filled Christians and Jews [Read More: The Walid Shoebat Show and "America is Beautiful, but she has an ugly side." - Neil Young ]of the cult spewed by the likes of John Hagee and the idiot wind blown by FOX's Hannity & Colmes, Bill O'Reilly and Neil Cavuto who have all hosted Shoebat as did the US Air Force Academy on Feb. 6, 2008 when he was the headline act at their annual political forum.


Walid Shoebat, has built a lucrative speaking career by manipulating the fears and whipping up hatred between Jews and Muslims. Shoebat insists that Israel should "wake up and smell the Hummus. We must return to the status quo – the occupation…Israel should stand strong and fight – dismantle Hamas and take away all the weapons, the way it used to be. The introduction of weapons into Palestinian society by Israel [under the Oslo accords, Israel gave assault rifles to Arafat’s ‘police force’ –ed.] was a disaster and they must be confiscated.” [2]

Israel originally supported Hamas to be a wedge between Fatah when Arafat became too popular with the Palestinian people.

Shoebat feels very strongly that the ongoing war against Israel has nothing to do with an Arab desire for a Palestinian state, “Never in history was there a Palestinian state, we never wanted a Palestinian state – even today the Palestinians do not want a Palestinian state…They want the destruction of the Jews, period. It’s a religious holy war."[IBID]


"How can you kill people, when it is written in God’s commandment: ‘Thou shall not murder’?"– Leo Tolstoy
 
During his time at the Air Force Academy, Sharlet encounters fervent fundamentalist militant American soldiers who are most misinformed of their very own faith that they neglect for a Christian "our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers." -Dorothy Day

There are currently thirty-five wars being fought and the USA is connected to every one of them.

Over forty-thousand people die every day of starvation.

Three billion humans endure dire destitution.

Over three hundred children have already been killed by unmanned drones under the Obama Administration.

We warehouse twenty-five thousand nukes and inhabit a world darkened by bureaucratic systematic institutionalized structures of violence that kill human beings through war and poverty and all the consequences of destruction and despair that flow from corporate greed, violence and religiosity.

Nonviolence is at the core of every religion and Jesus promised it is the peacemakers who are the daughters and sons of God.

Jesus denounced injustice, turned over the tables of the bankers in the Temple, was arrested, jailed, tortured and brutally executed, but remained nonviolent, compassionate and forgiving to all.

Jesus called us to love our neighbors-meaning everyone on the planet, to be compassionate to all, to seek justice for the disenfranchised, to forgive our enemies, to put down the sword.

His death on the cross was in vain if those who claim to follow him do not have eyes to see and ears to hear that his message was we are to end the cycle of violence for God created, loves and is in all beings and all creation.

It is a lack of imagination that accepts a future of endless war.

It is fear of the other that fuels fundamentalism.

The brand of Christianity being espoused in the military is a fear-filled ideology that supports empire in this world and does not support what Jesus stood and died for: forgiveness, compassion and nonviolence.

The militarization of Christianity has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus who promised it is the peacemakers who are the children of God and not those that bomb, torture, starve or occupy others.

The militarization of Christianity defies that "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out all fear because fear has to do with punishment." 1 John 4:16, 18

The militarization of Christianity as professed by anti-Christ's [against the teachings of Christ] from the pulpit by John Hagee and in the fictional "Left Behind" series of profane theology expresses the spirit of the anti-Christ: fear of the other that drives one to violence.

The militarization of Christianity thrives on fear of the other but Jesus said: "FEAR NOT! You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free."
 
The militarization of Christianity leaves behind all the non-negotiables for those who claim to be a Christian; which is you must forgive, bless and love your enemies.

The problem is not with Christianity but that too few have done it the way Jesus taught and modeled: to always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with compassion and forgiveness, as Jesus did when nailed to a cross and he prayed:  "Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing."


Christians are called by God to prayerfully use the gift of discernment and to test all things according to the teachings of Jesus. A follower of Jesus- or anyone with a good conscience- would choose equality, fraternity, community and nonviolent creative resistance to the evil that is violence.

It is willful ignorance, apathy, arrogance and misinformation that are holding back the transformation of hearts and minds to understand that war is the ultimate form of terrorism and supreme expression of the spirit of the anti-Christ; meaning against what Christ taught and modeled with his life.

"The first casualties of the military’s fundamentalist front are not the Iraqis and Afghans on the wrong side of an American F-16. They’re the spiritual warriors themselves." [3]

Christ laid down in the Sermon on the Mount principles by which to guide lives, “Whoever hears these sayings of mine, and put them into practice, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded upon a rock.  And everyone that hears these sayings, and does not put them into practice, shall be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.” (Matt. 7:24-27)

St. Paul warned all followers of Christ to "not judge the non-believer; it is none of your business. But, when it comes to the believer, provoke one another to good works."

 The militarization of Christianity and all terrorism committed in the name of God must be confronted. Our troops require good intelligence and our world is desperate for Christians to follow what Jesus actually said.

All are missing in action within the Industrial Military Complex.

1. Jeff Sharlet, HARPER'S, May 2009 pages 31-43.

2. http://as-clips.blogspot.com/2007/09/shoebat-from-plo-terrorist-to-lover-of.html

3. Sharlet, HARPER'S.





About 2,000 years ago, when Christ was about 33, he hiked up a hill and sat down under an olive tree and began to teach the people;

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."

In other words: it is those who know their own spiritual poverty, their own limitations and sins honestly and trust God loves them in spite of themselves who already live in the Kingdom of God.

How comforted we will all be, when we see, we haven't got a clue, as to the depth and breadth of pure love and mercy of The Divine Mystery of The Universe.

God's name in ancient Aramaic is Abba which means Daddy as much as Mommy and He/She: The Lord has said, "My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not yours." -Isaiah 55:8


Christ proclaimed more: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

The essence of meek is to be patient with ignorance, slow to anger and never hold a grudge. In other words: how comforted you will be when you also know humility; when you know yourself, the good and the bad, for both cut through every human heart.


"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled."

In other words: how comforted you will be when your greatest desire is to do what "God requires, and he has already told you what that is; BE JUST, BE MERCIFUL and walk humbly with your Lord."-Micah 6:8

 
"Blessed are the merciful, they will be shown mercy."

 In other words: how comforted you will all be when you choose to return only kindness to your 'enemy.'


"For with the measure you measure against another, it will be measured back to you" Christ warns his disciples as he explains the law of karma in Luke 6:27-38.


"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God."


In other words: how comforted you will be when you WAKE UP and see God is already within you, within every man, every woman and every child. The Supreme Being is everywhere, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. Beyond The Universe -and yet so small; within the heart of every atom.


"Blessed are The Peacemakers: THEY shall be called the children of God."


And what a wonderful world it would be when we all seek peace by pursuing justice; for there can be none without the other.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires, theirs is The Kingdom of Heaven."

And one fine day the lion will lie down with The Lamb and man will make war no more and that is the Kingdom of God.


   
 
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The Paradoxical Commandments
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People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
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Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
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