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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Recently retired, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 36 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program.Mike blogs at
The Siege of Gaza: A Palestinian Liberation Theology Perspective
According to liberation theologians in Palestine, there are four types of violence at work in the Zionist-Palestinian conflict. Three of them are employed by Israel's leadership against the Palestinians. In fact, only one level of violence can ever be excused. And that happens to be the very type our media uniformly designates as "terroristic" -- the violence of Palestinian self-defense.
Sunday Homily: Pope Francis & St. Peter -- Throwing Rocks at Empire Then and Now
Three weeks ago, Pope Francis reaffirmed what has become a theme of his papacy. Without mentioning the United States by name, he condemned the economic system "America" and its European partners champion. The pope's words put him on the same page with Jesus' rock-throwing friend, Simon Peter -- but not in the way you might think.
Monday, June 2, 2014(20 comments)
Cuba: the Most Important Country in the World
As the most prominent center of resistance to U.S. empire, Cuba is the most important country in the world. Its tourist attraction surpasses Costa Rica. It has already surpassed the United States in quality of life.
Sunday, May 4, 2014(68 comments)
What You Don't Know About Cuba Tells You About YOUR Future
I'm leaving for Cuba tomorrow. After many trips there, I've come to realize that Cuba's way of life and adjustments to the realities of Peak Oil and climate change describe the path that the rest of us must travel in the near future. Either that or perish!
Taking Pope Francis to the Movies: The Wolf of Wall Street (Film Review)
The over-the-top excesses of the Stratton-Oakmont investment firm amount to a send-up of the American Way of Life in general. At one point the film's main protagonist, Jordan Belfort correctly makes Scorsese's point, "Stratton-Oakmont is America" he proclaims. By this Belfort means his firm represents a vehicle of salvation for the poor. The film's narrative and Pope Francis' "Evangelii Gaudium" suggest otherwise.
Sunday, January 5, 2014(3 comments)
Celebrating the International Jesus
Epiphany calls us to wake up -- to grow up and to return home as the Magi did "by another way" that was not the way of ethno-centrism, wealth, power-over or cooperation with kings, priests and empire. Rather, the Magi's was the way of finding God in the poor and sharing wealth with them. Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives
The Church's Disastrous Domestication of Jesus as King (Sunday Homily)
Through 4th century sleight of hand, the Jesus who sided with the poor and was executed as a terrorist by Rome was kicked upstairs into the royal class. He became not only a patron of the Roman Empire, but a "king" complete with crown, purple robes, scepter and fawning courtiers. In this way the poor and oppressed lost their leader, example, and advocate. Jesus became instead a key part of the apparatus oppressing them. Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives
Sunday, November 17, 2013(4 comments)
If the Rich Won't Work, Let Them Starve! (Sunday Homily)
2 Thessalonians 3: 10 is a favorite of the Christian right. North Dakota congressman, Kevin Cramer, used it recently to justify his vote to cut nearly $40 billion from the Food Stamp program that keeps the children of poor families from starvation, along with the elderly and disabled. Tea Party darling, Michelle Bachman, did the same thing. But it's really the rich, not the poor who refuse to work. Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives
Respecting Hard Evidence: 9/11, Pearl Harbor, JFK, and Edward Snowden
Imagine if the proof against Saddam Hussein or al-Assad had risen to the level of that advanced by 9/11 scientists and other scholars. In that case, I'd wager there's not a person in the world who wouldn't recognize the guilt of Washington's designated enemies. The proof would be so overwhelming. But no war in recent memory has been based on anything like the evidence and reasoning marshaled in "9/11: The New Pearl Harbor."
Sunday, November 10, 2013(5 comments)
What "Terrorists" Think while Being Tortured (Sunday Homily)
This morning's first reading invites us inside the heads of tortured "terrorists." It raises the question, who are the real terrorists -- the forces of empire or those who resist them? In doing so, the reading from Second Maccabees sheds light on the contemporary debate about torture in service of empire.
A Pope and a Pimp Went into St. Peter's to Pray (Sunday Homily)
The focus of Jesus' story is not pride vs. humility. It's about rejecting the Pharisee's conventional morality. The parable even calls us to scrap conventional wisdom about pride and humility. More positively, the story is a summons to enter God's Kingdom by identifying with the poor and despised. It also explains why the conventionally good simply cannot enter the Kingdom of God Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives
The Rich Are Funny (Sunday Homily)
Jesus loved telling stories that made fun of rich people. He's at it again in this morning's gospel. Jesus' listeners would have found today's story especially entertaining. After all it featured an accountant who cheated his wealthy employer. And then the rich guy ends up appreciating the accountant's dishonesty. Series: Sunday Homilies for Progressives
Wednesday, September 18, 2013(24 comments)
Italy's Health Care System Is Much Better than Ours!
Bankrolled by Big Pharma and the insurance lobby, Obama's opponents in the heath care debate knew that most of us would choose a health care system like the one my family experienced in Italy over the inefficient, bureaucratic, and budget-busting monster that's ruining our economy.
War Again! What About OUR Chemical Weapons and, Our Problems?
Where are the millions (billions?) necessary for this intervention coming from? What has Syria to do with us? How is it connected with U.S. problems of unemployment, income gaps between the super-rich and the ever-expanding ranks of the poor, failing schools, overcrowded prisons, voter suppression, crumbling infrastructure?
Why I'm Not Celebrating July 4th This Year
We've been robbed of reasons to celebrate. This year I'll do no flag waving or banner display. I'll recite no Pledges of Allegiance, nor stand for the Star Spangled Banner. Patriotic speeches and other jingoistic claptrap will draw no applause from me.
Sunday, May 26, 2013(3 comments)
A Prominent 'Christianist' Cleric Supported Montt's Genocide: Should He Be Droned Next?
In all the analysis of the Rios Montt trial and conviction for genocide, it is rarely even mentioned that the General was a born again Christian. He was directly and vocally supported not only by Ronald Reagan and Elliot Abrams, but by prominent clerics like Pat Robertson. Robertson's support of Montt was not casual. Nor was it ignorant of Montt's tactics. Will Robertson be the next target of U.S. drones?