January, 2003, Volume 10 Nr.
5, Issue 113
We are being told that we are about to go to war with Iraq. The reality is that we have been at war with Iraq since 1991. The impending huge escalation of hostilities with Iraq is going to create chaos on a world-wide scale from which I believe the reputation and pre-eminence of United States will not recover.
We are about to crucify the Iraqi people. There may be no physical wooden cross bringing death to the long-time suffering Iraqi populace. There is, however, a superpower judgment and sentence of death upon them. The United States government is about to pre-emptively punish a nation with a modern-day, technologically superior form of capital punishment -- a form of capital punishment with the similar intention of crucifixion.
The fundamentalist Christian mindset and prejudice of the rich, ruling elite who value capital punishment as humanity's salvation, project the awesome might of the superpower United States as crucifier. The U.S. sees itself as being Lord and Savior. Jesus spilled his blood to save us, the belief goes. We, now, are about to spill other's blood to save the world from the forces of evil -- an evil that is always someone else and an evil that is always defined by us.
Crucifying Someone - Anyone
Just as Christianity would not exist without the crucifixion, the U.S. as a nation could not exist without someone to crucify. The obsession with war, as capital punishment and in order to gain might and dominance, reveals an insecurity of our own creation. This insecurity has caused chaos throughout our history with a long trail of death and destruction. Witness the chaos suffered by the indigenous Americans and that suffered by Africans through slavery -- all with the blessings of Christianity as part of white entitlement. Witness yet the millions more dead in Southeast Asia orchestrated through the lie that secured the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
Just as we domestically kill and execute a prisoner in order to teach people that killing is wrong, we create weapons of mass destruction, using them to teach others that creating and using weapons of mass destruction is wrong. Who is, after all, the only nation on Earth who has used nuclear weapons against a civilian population? We are the world's biggest arms merchant, supplying more arms than anyone else, many crosses, if you will. We then wonder why the world looks upon us with incredulity.
The violence and lust for power and control by our supposed Christian nation is transparent to the world's masses. We, however, as a nation, continue to be blinded by the power of our arrogance while we cling to the ethical nonsense of the Just War theory. Our belief in God as the giver of eminent domain to one nation, our nation, over the Earth and its resources, is a mythology of death. Eminent domain is exploitation with theological approval, the assumed right to crucify any person or nation that gets in our way. One cannot crucify and claim the moral high ground. No matter how we look at it, the executioner is us and the executioner is corrupt.
In World War II, the Japanese Empire launched a pre-emptive attack upon the United States base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. We are now about to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iraq, and most likely many other nations in the years ahead. The infamous pre-emptive attack on Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, rightly criticized for the past six decades as cowardly, is now formal United States policy. Expect the number of nations in George Bush, Jr.'s, "Axis of Evil" to increase. Will we continue to cling to the belief that we are always good? Ten years hence, we will be wondering why other nations engage in pre-emptive strikes against each other and us. The executioner's face is no longer well-hidden.
Crucifixion during Roman times was preceded by scourging. The condemned evildoer and prisoner was mocked, abused and tortured. Jesus was scourged prior to his execution, according to legend. For the past ten years, the people of Iraq have been scourged. Children by the hundreds of thousands have died due to a lack of medical supplies and medicines. Tens of thousands of medical supplies are classified through the United Nations sanctions program as "dual-use", i.e., items which could be used in a weapons manufacturing program. These include plastic hospital blood storage bags leading to death by making blood transfusion impossible. The scourging includes daily bombings beyond those mandated by the U.N.
The United States and United Kingdom have bombed water treatment facilities with the intention of making life miserable and ugly for ordinary Iraqi people so that they would rise up in opposition to their ruler -- a ruler, who just a few decades ago was our boy in Baghdad. Our foreign policy was and remains bankrupt.
Defense as Insecurity
In A Course in Miracles, (C-5.5:7), we read, "that love could exist in the middle of hate and that defenselessness was stronger than the might of anger and rage." Gandhi and Martin Luther King believed this. Over the past 53 years, the United States has spent trillions of dollars on so-called defense. Yet two years into the 21st century, we are as insecure as ever. It is our investment in a nationalistic ego that is driving us to ruin. We are taking the entire planet with us. Our ego sees evil everywhere, except in itself, of course. It seeks no less than the ultimate retribution as being one of sacrifice through death and destruction.
The command to commence this retribution is orchestrated by chickenhawks in the U.S. administration. A chickenhawk is a person who calls upon others to fight and die at their command to protect their beliefs and interests while they themselves avoid military service. The U.S. administration, with the exception of Colin Powell, is composed of chickenhawks.
It is almost as if the road to the cross by the United States must be traversed by those in power who believe in crucifixion. It is their makeup, in their genes, so to speak. This misguided patriarchal journey is seen as necessary for the preservation of the chickenhawks' identity. The belief in the necessity of crucifixion binds a nation that was once a great hope for democracy. It binds it to fear, anger, unforgiveness and darkness. We need not, however, allow them to drag us through another useless journey to the cross through wars that may not end in our lifetime. Instead, it is time for a people's pilgrimage, a pilgrimage to the non-violence of Phil Berrigan and Dorothy Day's Christ, Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
Crucifying others is neurotic. So is crucifying ourself. In the beginning of the year 2003, we see a rush to nail those who disagree with the corporate-state position. If you are not with us, you are against us. Who do you want? The crowd yells, "Give us Barabus", that is, anyone but the voice of dissent, anyone but the protestor, the free thinker, the activist, the human rights worker, the fighter for social justice -- any way but the way of peace. The call is to "Crucify him!" So we do. We turn upon our neighbor in the name of patriotism while Barabus is free to define the "axis of evil."
Harzat Inayat Khan, the Indian teacher who first brought Sufism to the West, wrote,
Far from heeding Khan's teaching, our nationally twisted crucifixion-complex eliminates and destroys people who seek to find their true self. This is fascism taking total control. It is a place where the true self is redefined by the crucifier. Frank Zappa prophetically sang "Her father's a Nazi in Congress today." There are many such crucifiers occupying the seats of the U.S. Congress. We are all complicit when we remain silent.
The question remains. Why crucifixion? Crucifixion is a wrong-minded response to a perceived threat. The corporate-state hammers the dissenter; all dissent is seen as a threat. It is a response born from an insecurity which twists the best of Christ's teachings on peace and love into violence. On the international level, it is war.
Douglas F. Ottati, an academic at the Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, in his book review of Richard Niebuhr's work, "Theology, History, and Culture: Major Unpublished Writings", writes,
With the current administration in power, figuratively headed by the President Select, that service consists of overt and total self-interest and devotion. When they speak of "freedom", they mean "petroleum." When they speak of "democracy", they mean "petroleum." When they speak of the "free market", they speak of "petroleum." Their devotions are totally committed to greed. And they'll crucify you if you get in the way.
Ottati further writes,
How absurd then, for George W., Tony Blair and their merry chickenhawk entourage to tout their Christianity. The love and peace of Christ is antithetical to their twisted mentality and behavior. Both men have been chastised by their own clergy in their own denominations for their war-mongering. The Sunday, October 20, 2002, edition of the U.K.'s "Observer", reported that,
Roman Catholic priest, Father Timothy Russ, after giving a Christmas day sermon on Peace, which Blair attended, said,
There will come a day, soon, however, when those crucified will be resurrected. The crucifiers will then be accountable for their blasphemy to humanity. In the meantime, the people's peace pilgrimage continues. The next phase takes place in Washington D.C. on January 18, 2003, Martin Luther King Day weekend, where hundreds of thousands will say no to war. After that, February 15, 2003, where 10-million or more people are expected to participate world-wide. Then...
© 2002 Jozef Hand-Boniakowski, PhD