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"Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all...and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave...a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils."
George Washington's Farewell Address - 1796

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Father Philip Francis Berrigan 

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We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that, among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. -July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence

 

Home arrow Blog arrow May 2009 arrow May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009
May 26, 2009: Memorial Day Manifesto:2009

On May 19th, Frank Schaeffer wrote, "I was a Republican insider…My parents and I were the guests of the Reagans, Fords and Bush's in the White House and/or in other private meetings…I was an important link to the (then) powerful evangelical movement. In those days -- the 1970s and early 80s -- as both a staunch Republican and pro-life leader and the son of the famous evangelist, I was right in the middle of the Republican machine…in the 1970s my family was an integral part of bringing the Republican Party under the sway of the emerging Religious Right, particularly…Jerry Falwell…the Moral Majority.

"There came a day in 1985 that I began to take another look at my commitment to the both the far right of Republican Party and the Religious Right. I came to realize that I was in bed with a group of people who were profoundly anti-American. They were professional haters. They wrapped themselves in the flag and "loved America," but it was an America in their imaginations only and cast in their image: white, middle-class, straight, born-again, homophobic and tinged with racism, not to mention misogyny... it's all about religion…Two religions -in the broadest sense of the term-evangelical Christianity and Christian/Jewish Zionism." [1]

Too often, those "two religions" have little in common with the religion that Jesus taught. Jesus was also never a Christian. The term Christian was not coined until the days of Paul, three decades after Jesus walked the earth. Jesus was born, lived and died a Palestinian Jew under the Empire and its Roman Occupying Forces/ROF.

The ROF executed Jesus the same as any other rebel or agitator: crucifixion. Jesus' crime against the empire was for teaching subversive concepts, such as God preferred the humble sinner, the poor, oppressed, diseased, outcast, widow, orphan, refugee, prisoner and any other enduring under the ROF, above the rich and powerful.

Jesus was a social justice, radical, revolutionary, Palestinian devout Jewish Road Warrior who had few friends in the Temple hierarchy, for he challenged their job security  by telling the people they did not need to pay for ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be OK with God; for God already loved them just as they were; sinners, poor, oppressed, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees, prisoners and all others enduring under the ROF.

Before Emperor Constantine brought Christianity into the mainstream, all the early Church Fathers taught that Christians should not serve in the army but instead willingly suffer rather than inflict harm on any other. St. Augustine was the first Church Father to write about a Just War and within 100 years after Constantine, the Roman Empire required all soldiers be baptized Christian. The first and worst of all heresies: the justification of war and violence supplied by Augustine's Just War Theory was a match made in hell for the Industrial Military Complex.

In 313 AD, Emperor Constantine legitimized Christianity and rebels and outlaws began to enjoy political power and prestige, and more of Jesus' true teachings were reinterpreted or ignored. Jesus was always on about WAKE UP! The Divine already indwells you and all others and you must forgive and only do unto others what you want returned to you. Jesus taught that to follow him requires that one must love-not just those that love back, but even ones enemies. He lived a life that proved that violence and evil can be opposed without being mirrored. His nonviolent reactions to being cursed, whipped and nailed said ENOUGH! This violent cycle must stop! A tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye, can only reap its own-not security or peace.

Before Emperor Constantine brought Christianity into the mainstream, all the early Church Fathers taught that Christians should not serve in the army but instead willingly suffer rather than inflict harm on any other. Until the day of Paul, followers of Christ were called members of The Way; the way being what Jesus taught! 

Clement, Tertillian, Polycarp and every other early Church Father taught that violence was a contradiction of what Jesus was all about. There have always been those Christians who spoke out against this corruption of scripture and they have been ignored, reviled, rejected, mocked, persecuted and maligned throughout time. Christians such as Quakers, Mennonites, some Catholics and Protestants have been faithful to Jesus by denouncing all violence and caring for the poor, oppressed, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees, prisoners and others in need. Jesus said that what ever we do-or do not do, unto the least among us; we do it-or do not, do it unto God. Good and evil cut through every human heart and all life is interconnected and interdependent, thus, we all must deal with the violence within an individual's heart when it erupts into society and issues forth from the political realm. 


However, Schaeffer reported the good news that a new Zogby poll shows "Obama would have strong support for a US diplomatic effort to forge an Israel-Palestine deal, even if it means tough pressure on Israel. According to the poll, when asked if the United States should "get tough" with Israel in order to back up its call for an end to settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, fully 50 percent of Americans said yes, with just 19 percent saying "do nothing," and 32 percent not sure. Asked whether the interests of Israel and the US are identical, only 28 percent of Obama voters agreed, while 59 percent disagreed…Authentic faith should be a unifying force instead of a divisive one…The choice for America has always been between inclusive pluralism and exclusion." [Ibid]


On this Memorial Day as I reflected on America's veterans I recalled what George Washington warned US in his Farewell Address:

"Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all...and passionate attachments for others should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave...a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils."


In honor of what our Veterans have fought for, I paraphrase America's most radical visionary and agitator, Thomas Paine; we live in times that try men's and women's souls and only in solidarity do we have it in our power to begin the world again. We realize that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy. The World is our country, all man and womankind are our brothers and sisters and to do good is true religion.


1.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/republican-disaster----th_b_205388.html?show_comment_id=24730226#comment_24730226



   
 
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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

 "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - Aquinas

BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

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UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

" In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."-Mother Teresa


“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased...to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946



The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
Establishment of Israel
"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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