More broadly, it is far past time for the United States to acknowledge that peace and real security can never be achieved through military force, and to therefore abandon the failed endless war paradigm completely.
— Read on www.fcnl.org/updates/2021-08/holding-afghanistan-light
The horrific attacks at Kabul Airport must not be used as a pretext for more war. The military industrial complex and its supporters have kept the United States in a wartime footing since 1939. The present war in Afghanistan has depleted our National treasure long enough and has done nothing to end terrorism nor advance the cause of world peace.
Helping others is getting a bad name in our country. You probably are thinking, “What the hell are you talking about?” But, really have you listened to the discourse on the news? The latest scary news is that if certain politicians are elected we’ll be subject to socialism.
I have to laugh when folks I know start railing about socialism. The roads we drive on are all publicly financed. Most of us have toilets that connect to sewer systems that are publicly financed. Many people fly around the country or the world and the runways and air traffic control itself is publicly financed. Income redistribution is occurring and has occurred for quite some time for the common good.
Media outlets, politicians and others would have you believe that socialism and totalitarian communism are the same thing. They’re not. Many countries including our own have limited forms of socialism that ensure that the most vulnerable are protected. We have Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schools and more that are financed by levying taxes. What’s changed in the past forty years is that the lions share of that burden has fallen on the middle class. The top earners and big business pay little or no taxes while enjoying all of the benefits that I’ve mentioned while the rest of us pick up the tab.
The media and politicians are quick to ask ‘how can we afford X social program?’, but never ask those same questions when starting another military intervention. Over the weekend I had the chance to help bring some peace and love to our world and it involved self sacrifice and self giving to others and with others. I’ve found that I’m most content when I’m helping others. I’m not sure about others but helping is in my DNA and it elevates my spirit in more ways than one. Yesterday’s first reading at Mass iis one of my favorites and it connects with what I’ve been sharing. Sharing what you have with others is good for me and good for our world. Peace 🙂
Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
If you remove from your midst
oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
if you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday. – Isaiah 58: 7-10
Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith. — Secular Franciscan Rule, Article 15
I think of this often and in fact this principle has animated much of my life and led me to the Secular Franciscan Order thirteen years ago when I began my formation. I read a quote yesterday attributed to Pope Francis that was an invitation to just this sort of living.
“(Christ) is a true revolutionary and we are revolutionaries of this revolution, because we walk on the path of the greatest transformation in the history of mankind. A Christian, if he is not a revolutionary, in this time, he is not a Christian!” — Pope Francis
If we’re following Christ that means an interior transformation that calls us to the edge of society and to the marginalized and the poor.
Some in our country love to point us back to the Bible upon which they say our nation was founded. Here’s a direct quote from the Bible that might not sell well with some of these same folks.
Every seventh year you shall grant a remission of debts. And this is the manner of the remission: every creditor shall remit the claim that is held against a neighbor, not exacting it of a neighbor who is a member of the community, because the Lord’s remission has been proclaimed.- Deuteronomy 15:1-2
Can you imagine what might happen if every seven years we did this? Wall Street would implode, there would be cries of socialism. Justice is about restoring relationship with our neighbors and not about collecting from them. Can you imagine a nation grounded upon these principles instead of un-fettered greed?
This morning Brother Joe and I will drive from Mt. Irenaeus to St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, North Carolina. We’re going to a Peace and Justice Retreat sponsored by Holy Name Province of the Franciscan Friars. We were there a couple of years ago and though I’ve given up hope of any real or lasting peace in this world or this country in particular I will enjoy the trip, Brother Joe’s company and the stillness of this lovely center.
Lately my thoughts have been more and more silence. I’ve had little to write about nor little to share. I’ve been writing about what I’m doing with open source software, but have had very little that I cared to share about on this writing space. The election is boring. I have little hope that the election will bring any real change no matter who is elected. It’s all about corporations these days and not about the will of the people if indeed it ever was. I’ll be traveling on Friday to St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in North Carolina for a Holy Name Province Peace and Justice Retreat.
I never heard of Rev. Michael Pfleger until tonight, but I sure love what he has to say to this pugnacious reporter from one of the major media outlets, who was trying to get this priest to denounce Rev. Wright. This seven minute video clip is worth your time. This man of God deflected the hate and turned the reporters own words on himself.
Fr. Pfleger reminds me of this quote from Oscar Romero.
A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth – beware! – is not the true church of Jesus Christ. A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good, so that they are secured in their sinful state, betrays the gospel’s call.
I’m saddened to see that Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York had to resign his office. I don’t know much about the Governor even though I’m a New York resident. There have been lots of scandals it seems in recent years. It seems that public figures are just as fallible as any of us. Too often public figures are held up as role models and truth be told everyone has feet of clay. I really don’t know why it was necessary for him to resign. It seems a bit extreme. He did violate the law, but was it necessary to resign. Senator Craig got in a lot of hot water six months ago when it was revealed that he had been soliciting for sexual activity in an airport mens room. Senator Vitter’s phone number was found in the phone records of the D.C. madam and he’s stayed on in the Senate. No one was killed nor were any lives threatened by Elliott’s impropriety. What is the standard?
Our president, vice-president and many senior administration officials got us into a horrible war in Iraq where thousands of lives have been lost and they’re not resigning. A recently completed study done by the Pentagon itself reveals that there were no connections between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. These guys may not have thought they were fabricating a story, but they were and now we’re stuck there and it’s costing us $330 million a day. Elliott spent $80,000 of his own money on prostitutes and he resigns. Something is wrong with that picture.