Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 24 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/25/11

Torture at 'Justice': Better Not to Ask

By       (Page 3 of 4 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page. (View How Many People Read This)   4 comments
Author 2452
Message Ray McGovern
Become a Fan
  (175 fans)

This piece was reprinted by OpEdNews with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Referring to the effect of the sanctions against Iraq, Stahl noted: "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Horoshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?"

Albright: "The price, we think the price is worth it."

In an address eight years later at the Yale Divinity School, Albright elaborated on her Realpolitik approach to matters of state. She asked what would have happened if after 9/11 the President had said, "Resist not evil. Whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Albright's exegesis: "I suspect most of us would think it a preposterous prescription in a time of national crisis."

She went on to speak of the dilemma that "we each face in trying to reconcile religious beliefs with professional duties," and came down squarely on the side of "professional duties." She then went on to misquote Scripture, claiming that President George W. Bush, in vowing to rid the world of evil, echoed the words of Jesus, "You are either with us or against us."

In a gratuitous reflection of her empire-centric approach, the former secretary of state went on to endorse Vice President Dick Cheney's "sincere" religious beliefs. She singled out as a "good thing" his controversy-provoking Christmas card the year before (2003), which bore the inscription: "If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"

Stanley Hauerwas, a Yale alumnus now professor of theological ethics at Duke Divinity School, was moved to comment on Albright's speech in a Yale Divinity School publication. He noted pointedly that much of what she said was designed to "underwrite the assumption that we cannot follow Jesus and pursue the limited justice possible in foreign affairs."

But wait. Was not "His" message a direct challenge to empire -- in his day the Roman Empire and religious and civil collaborators in the Roman occupation? Isn't that why the religious and civil authorities put their heads together and ended up torturing and executing him?

Had Jesus allowed himself to be co-opted by the empire and its Quislings; had he chosen to divorce his nonviolent but challenging vision of justice from the politics of the day, he could have died peacefully in his bed -- as did the leaders of the institutional church in Nazi Germany.

And we can too. All that is required is a mind-trick to convince ourselves that Jesus did not really mean to say what he said, that he did not really mean to do what he did in exposing the evils of empire.

Sadly, help is at hand. It is easy to find a pastor preaching a domesticated Jesus -- an ahistorical Jesus far more interested in "piety" than justice. I still find myself wondering how the Cheneys' pastor reacted to their Christmas card.

Letting Our Institutions Do Our Sinning for Us

Often it takes a compassionate but truth-telling outsider to throw light on our country, its leaders, its policies. Methodist Bishop Peter Storey of South Africa, who walked the walk in his courageous, outspoken resistance to the apartheid regime (and was chaplain to Nelson Mandela), provides this prophetic word:

"I have often suggested to American Christians that the only way to understand their mission is to ask what it might have meant to witness faithfully to Jesus in the heart of the Roman Empire. Certainly, when I preach in the United States I feel, as I imagine the Apostle Paul did when he first passed through the gates of Rome -- admiration for its people, awe at its manifest virtues, and resentment of its careless power.

"America's preachers have a task more difficult, perhaps, than those faced by us under South Africa's apartheid, or by Christians under Communism. We had obvious evils to engage; you have to unwrap your culture from years of red, white, and blue myth.

"You have to expose and confront the great disconnect between the kindness, compassion, and caring of most American people and the ruthless way American power is experienced, directly and indirectly, by the poor of the earth. You have to help good people see how they have let their institutions do their sinning for them.

"This is not easy among people who really believe that their country does nothing but good. But it is necessary, not only for their future, but for us all.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).


Must Read 3   Supported 3   Well Said 2  
Rate It | View Ratings

Ray McGovern Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What's Hayden Hidin'?

Asylum for Julian Assange -- Former Awardee for Integrity

Petraeus Cons Obama on Afghan War

Obama Stands Up to Israel, Tamps Down Iran War Threats

Note to Nancy Pelosi: Colin Powell Got Snookered at CIA, too

Mullen Wary of Israeli Attack on Iran

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: