According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Recommitment to Human Rights and to the Civil Intolerance of Torture

 
 
I often wonder if the movie "Zero Dark Thirty" relieves American audiences of the awful images and guilt of terroristic beheadings and torture committed against itself and other Western civilizations during this past decade of America's unabated war on terror. That it says to America's enemies that you may expect as worst in retaliation and retribution. And although this is small comfort to those who have suffered or lost their lives both here and abroad - whether friend or foe - a civilized country should always remember to temper its frustrations and griefs from employing similarly horrendous methodologies utilized by opposing countries and their gang of thieves and rogues.

Especially for Christians who are charged by Jesus to love and to justice in a past ancient biblical world rife with torture and injustice committed by countries large and small. And perhaps this a contemporary example of an actualizing American myth as it works itself off the silver screen and x-box games into the public venue of historical actualization and acceptance by fell deeds of inhumanity taking root within the incorporated behavior of its people's consciousness. Transversing to American policies committing her to do the same to her enemies should they continue in their support and participation of terrorism - rather than pursuing more civilized methods of civil dissonance and patient diplomacy. An actualizing myth in the sense of moving America's acceptance of such brutal interrogation onto the public docks of coercive policies both domestic and international.

And by recent judgement it seems that America's public posture may have drastically changed since 2001 during our present war on terrorism from selective practices of enactment to aggressive policies of enforcement and methodology. Not that it hadn't ever been done before, but that it is now being pursued so vigorously, however the means employed (waterboarding being one such practice). To this precedence the several articles below would caution restraint and general disuse realizing that barbarity can come to any culture idealizing freedom and liberty. Certainly, laudable aspirations for any nation, but especially venomous to a nation not actively practicing its constitutionally appointed rights and mandates to even those whom it would consider as its enemies. Turning a blind eye to its inherent charters of constitutional humanity and pursuing more brutal policies to its own destruction and demise.

Thus, we would advocate the lessening of saber rattling in Hollywood, and in caustic media portrayals of America, and a return to a more civil restraint of mind and conscience. But this cannot be done by national mandate and laws, but from within a society's heart and soul. That we demonstrate an America no longer epitomized by its 
international image as a self-serving protector of its own rights, to that of a country more cautionary and respectful in its policies and aggrievement proceedings, corporate resolutions, and stands on solidarity with other similarly aggrieved countries. Providing, as it were, a common ground of civil ideology from which to work in recreating an era of peace from the turmoils and manifold injustices currently existing between hostile nations in grievance with America.

To not be content with mythologizing our enemies as zombies, aliens, predators, vampires, and stereotypical images of thuggery and violence. Nor promoting ourselves in the form of anti-heroes, or by roving mob attitudes of kangaroo-court justice, or cowboy gallantry. But focused on the legitimate rights and needs of even our enemies chaffing at America's deployment of force and strength against its coffers of blood money and capitalistic lust. To stand down from actualizing our mythologized ideas of ourselves by returning to a more civil engagement of humanity found in personal and corporate practices of public service to disenfranchised minorities and dispossessed ghettos everywhere replete within the 21st Century's moiling masses of humanity. Crying out, as it were, for merciful justice, human rights advocacy, meaningful and permanent civil services, beneficial civil infrastructures, and generally, personal empowerment.

By realizing that by serving the needs of others we might re-establish our own balance of civility towards a more corporate posture of compassionate human rights and solidarity previously unimagined or expected. Relieving us of our guilt and fears ingrained by previous policies orientated towards war and suppression in the name of defense and security. And thereby reducing us to an isolated, posturing population of brawn and muscle rather than focusing on the legitimate needs and outcries of our enemies as fellow human beings reacting to the capitalistic oppression and unjust rape of their people and resources. Even if it were by America's willful propping up of oppressive heads of state within their own regional jurisdictions of control and oversight pursuant to America's goals rather than to that country's means and interests.

America is a great county. Made great by its idealized version of itself as a "City on a Hill" planted within its own heart by its originating forefathers who were refugees themselves fleeing political, religious, and civil persecution. Determined to rediscover their personal rights within a new society no longer hostile to their differences and heritage. Forefathers who wished to open America up to all dispossessed refugees of oppression seeking asylum, basic human rights, civil liberties, and humanitarian forms of justice. It was the right of every man under God to which the American constitution provided political structure and will. However, we harm ourselves by not more actively exploring how to help and assist other countries in obtaining what little freedoms and liberties we have carved out for ourselves by God's largess and blessing. Though lately it would seem that we have not committed our ways nor our will to God's benevolence and grace. For without this most basic human commitment America's corporate responsibility for its behaviors and policies will disintegrate under its own self-interests. Hence, we must work everyday as a blessed people to humanize the best forms of our citizen government in order to better enact peace, freedom, and responsible relations to a world racked by pain and injustice. This would include the Muslim countries no less than to China and Russia.

Moreover, we do well to realize that we do not stand alone in our fears, our angers, nor our sufferings, within this world that we live in. That many times over it has been the sad experience of other woeful citizenry caught between powers of oppression. From Eastern Europe, to the Muslim masses, to the impoverished African countries controlled by fierce, inhuman gun lords and tyrannical governments. To SE Asia's experiences of aggressive sino-socialism, even to countries in South America and Mexico powerless to stop the rape and pillage of their own citizenry before the cruel hands of powerful crime and drug lords. For this America bears responsibility to lead by strength, and by strength of will, in all matters of human resolution, protection, civility, and justice. Even to unempowered nations ravaged by sin and hatred within their own assemblies and land-bound contracts with one another.

Hence, we do not wish to turn a blind eye to our own governmental policies as citizens of Nazi Germany once did. A Catholic Christian country that became inhuman and hellish to the very state of humanity itself. Nor to become powerless citizens before the creation of an oppressive state system by the hands of our own making in its socialistic and militaristic endeavors. Charged with the simultaneous mandates of peace and humanity but found within its parts to be anything but that. But to become citizens actively declaring to our government and media industry a stronger will of intolerance to any deviations from Jesus' mandates to love and to service to one another. To behave ourselves wisely and not to become caught up in the lifeboat malpractices of ethical confusion to the general harm of those "unlike" ourselves. To consider every man, woman, and child, as an image bearer of God, and precious in His holy sight. To mandate the right of civility and humanity in actualizing terms that would remove any images and myths that would reduce us to civil impoverishment and divine judgment.

Movies like "Zero Dark Thirty" cannot be so much ignored or boycotted as accepted and published in public declaration to just how far we have strayed from America's former commitments to life and liberty for all mankind. Rather than denying Hollywood's horror flicks and indiscretionary violence for violence sake, it should reawaken us by putting our pulse upon the lifeblood of our great nation and forthrightly declare to us our fears, our shame, guilts and sin. Fighting Hollywood and the media is not the issue here. It is we ourselves that this industry is portraying. And it to ourselves that we must work to change by the help of Almighty God and in the power of His Holy Spirit. For within the heart of man is sin and darkness. And in man's rebirth through Jesus can be found light and life. It is to this Kingdom that we wish to share and envisage with all the nations of the earth.

Consequently, music and movies, novels and news, may more accurately tell us of ourselves than we may wish to accept or believe - though we would pay dear coinage for any revisionary image of ourselves that we can find - myths and game technology included. For in those images do we find our actualized versions of ourselves if we continue to allow our selfish absorptions to continue and progress. But these are imperfect, dithering images made by man in his own lamentable image, and not in the Son of God's own image of grace and goodness. Against which we find hope in any local municipality, corporation, school, college, church, or community group, promoting the welfare of others by active service, giving, personal involvement and participation. These are the laudable sublime practices of a liberating nation wishing to break its stereotypes by opening up hand and heart to the needs of those around it. For it is by giving of ourselves that we may find ourselves. By focusing upon the needs and rights of all men - even our perceived enemies - if we wish to dispel the boogie-man of our fears and nightmares, fantasies and delusions.

R.E. Slater
February 25, 2013
 
 
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Is This (Torture as Entertainment) What We Have Come To?