Monday, August 27, 2007

WHO ARE WE?

By Mike Wisniewski

Over the past six years, since September 11, 2001, I have been haunted by and filled with shame for what my country has planned and perpetrated, in my name and in the name of the living God of life and love, to whom I chose to surrender my life and serve. Although for the past twenty-eight years, since 1979, upon a spiritual awakening I experienced, I have deeply struggled with my relationship to the nation into which I was born, primarily because of Jesus' words in Matthew 6:24: "No one can serve two masters..."

Early in my faith journey I learned that this passage contains religious, social, and imperial implications, insofar as to "serve" someone or something is a form of enslavement to that someone or something. Each person, at some point, chooses to be "enslaved to" (serve) either the living God or the myriad of false gods present in the world. Clearly, then, it is impossible to simultaneously be enslaved to both—God and empire. Jesus warns that mammon (or materialism—amenities offered by empire: property, wealth or possessions) can enslave disciples and usurp loyalty that belongs to God. For this reason, in addition to understanding the central message in Luke 4:5-8, which asserts that all worldly governments, including their political, economic, and military stratagem, are under Satan's control, who then shares that power with whomever he wishes, I chose to forever distance myself from any form of nationalism or patriotism. Rather, I began to view the U.S. government, and its policies, from a different perspective, the Gospel's perspective.

As time has passed, I have witnessed my country, which believes itself founded on "Christian" principles, fall farther and farther from the very principles it (falsely) claimed as its foundation. I have witnessed revolting perversions of truth and justice, and acts of diabolical insanity perpetrated to protect "our way of life," for corporate greed, and aspirations of world domination. It now is unambiguously clear to me, our political, economic, and military leaders are indeed minions of Satan, as specified in the above-sited passage.

My experience and observation allows me to believe that most people in this nation, sadly, have little or no concern about what their "leaders" do in their name, specifically in relation to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan (indeed nearly two-thirds of the world's people) and the horrific suffering these people endure because of U.S. policy. If we Americans did, we the people would force the government to end the diabolical madness. Millions would be in the streets in nonviolent resistance.

With over three million Iraqi refugees, innocent people, regular people like you and me, forced to leave their home since the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation, with an additional 50,000 more that flee the violence each month, according to UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, we should be in non stop resistance. This pathetic diabolical nation of ours is responsible, not only for the suffering Iraqi's and Afghani's, but also the poor Colombian people, the Haitians, Somalians, and the people of Darfur, just to list a few of the countless humans who daily suffer because of U.S. government policies and "our way of life" that is a death sentence to much of the rest of the world. It should be noted that God's judgment is upon us, as it was on Egypt, and later Israel, indeed every empire in human history, if we persist in our idolatrous, blasphemous, arrogance, blindness, stubborn, and lethargic state.

Have you ever considered that, collectively as a nation, despite the rhetoric, our nation utterly hates Yahweh, the God of creation, and in this equally detests human life itself? Consider that we as a people willingly agree that it is "acceptable," though tragic, to incinerate, to vaporize the entire planet, God's sacred creation, within thirty minutes after pushing the nuclear button. THIS IS WHO WE ARE!!! Can you imagine, we who (falsely) consider ourselves a "Christian" nation, agree with our political and military leaders (whom we have given permission to plan and carry out) that nuclear weapons are OK to employ at a moments notice? Not one, not two, but 10,000 of these diabolical anti-God, anti-human, anti-love, idolatrous and blasphemous weapons of mass destruction, with even more already being planned and soon to be built. And we consider ourselves a "great" nation? A God-fearing nation? Give me a break! The truth of the matter is that we are a pathetic, blind, and arrogant people. The ultimate question is, will we open our eyes (that is allow the Spirit to open them) before it is too late? Will we repent and turn, that is disarm—completely—that we may, as we so arrogantly imply, "trust in God" alone? I sincerely hope so, but I tend to believe not. We are too fearful, foolish, and full of greed to give up "our way of life." We, like all empires before us, will suffer the ominous consequences of our decision to not choose life, but the path of death—repeatedly. Indeed, I believe it fair to say that we not only worship death itself, but are arrogantly proud of it. Our violent, genocidal, and oppressive history is verification.

Is it not true that, according to scripture, every human being born into this world is the image and likeness of God? With this being true, why do most "Christians," followers of the nonviolent Christ Jesus, allow our government, in our and God's name, to oppress, torture, massacre, and destroy that very image and likeness in whomever empire decides is "enemy" at any given moment? Is this the God-like behavior mandated and expected of us, as Christians?

Why are the majority of U.S. "Christians" not placing their bodies on the line—by speaking truth to power—as Jesus mandated and exemplified? I believe authentic Christianity teaches us to reject and (nonviolently) resist empire's diabolical policies, not participate in nor support (either directly or in tacit silence) its oppressive, bloodthirsty warmongering. Jesus was correct, the laborers are indeed "few", specifically in this nation that believes itself "Christian." I believe most here in the U.S. are the people, Jesus, in Revelation 3: 15-18, rejects and despises as the "lukewarm" and thus vomits out of his mouth. The church in this country loves to speak a good word, though it is mere lip service, empty rhetoric at worst and half-truths at best. Why are not the jails and prisons of empire filled with Christians, as in the early church, (first 300 years)? Is this not the "cross" that Jesus foretold all would-be followers should expect?

I also have to ask the same question Jesus asked: When the Human One returns, will he find anyone of authentic faith? In this nation, as it now exists, the tragic answer is, not many, not many at all. For the most part, "Christians" in the U.S. are more indoctrinated in nationalism than in the nonviolent kin-dom of God of love as lived and proclaimed by Jesus. More accepting of the militarism, violence, and greed on which this nation was founded than with the love, compassion, forgiveness, and healing, which defines God's kin-dom. Most people who believe themselves "Christian" willingly attempt to do the impossible, serve two masters—God and empire—as they participate in and support the diabolical machinations of empire—wars, occupations, torture, designing--building--deploying, and employing weapons of mass destruction, state-sponsored murder (capital punishment), abortion, oppressive and repressive foreign and domestic policies—at all levels—racism, sexism, corporate crimes of all variety's, accepting as normal poverty and homelessness, not to forget usury, just to name a few blasphemous and idolatrous abominations, as the list is long. In other words, the implication being: Jesus is a liar.

I would argue that, as a nation, we ultimately hate God and all God stands for. The fact that, again, collectively, we have agreed that it is acceptable to vaporize God's entire creation with the push of the nuclear button. If this does not prove an utter hatred of God and the sacredness of human life, what does? THIS IS WHO WE ARE!!! Why do Christians foolishly accept this abominable reality and still believe we can love God and follow Jesus? The deafening silence of the body of Christ in this nation amidst the blasphemous, idolatrous, and diabolical policies of the U.S. government—both domestic and foreign—is itself an abomination. When, if ever, will we wake up? The time is short; we had better immediately or ready ourselves for the inevitable ominous consequences.
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Mike Wisniewski is a member of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker, and is an editor of and columnist for the Catholic Agitator, newspaper of the LACW. He can be contacted at: mikewiz50@riseup.net You can visit our website here: Los Angeles Catholic Worker Also check out these websites: School of Americas Watch ; Jonah House of Resistance AND Iraq Veterans Against War

The Catholic Worker Movement

The Catholic Worker Movement, first founded in New York City in 1933, believes in absolute harmony and a personal responsibility for helping the poor, standing against unjust structures, resisting war... as the website states, the movement believes "in the God-given dignity of every human person". Today, there are over 185 Catholic Worker communities worldwide that remain committed to nonviolence,nonviolent resistance, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless.