As we watch President Obama's noble promises getting swamped by the entrenched powers- the bankers, the warmongers, the fascists- many of us are in despair. The bankers keep getting bailouts, while the poor keep getting squeezed. The bombing of Afghanis and Pakistanis has escalated, Guantanamo stays open and torture continues, single payer health care doesn't stand a chance- the list of disappointments goes on and on.
The economy is crashing while the military budget goes up and up.
The press is so controlled that the kidnapping and incarceration of a US presidential candidate- Green candidate Cynthia McKinney- by the Israeli government is not front page news, and none of the mainstream or alternative news services follow the story.
Like sailors on a sinking ship, maybe we should start praying.
As I talk about prayer, I want to make it clear that I respect all religions and forms of worship. Whether one prays to Adonai, the Father, Grandfather, Allah, one's higher power, or the Great Mother is immaterial. There is one Creator with many names, and there are many ways to approach this Being. I will discuss the Christian version, because 85-90% of Americans identify themselves as Christians.
Prayer, of course, implies faith, a belief in a higher power, which can solve problems and save situations which are beyond human ability. Many good people have lost faith. It hasn't helped that Bush et al used Jesus as a logo, and distorted His teachings beyond recognition. The Bible has been lied about by the right wing Christians to impose a false morality for purposes of demagoguery,- to win elections. In fact, abortion and same-sex marriage are not even mentioned in the Bible, let alone condemned.
Certqin right wing preachers have twisted the Bible to make people believe that God intends to destroy planet earth and "rapture" the elect, who according to them, are good Republicans who worked for George Bush. These bloodthirsty hate-mongers glory in war and beckon nuclear holocaust. In fact, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, the advocate of the poor, the challenger of the Establishment of His day.
Now these same "Christians" are doing everything they can to smear President Obama and obstruct his stated goals of restoring the Constitution, abolishing nuclear weapons, bringing a just peace to the Middle East, caring for the poor at home, and creating a green future for our children. Obama's stated goals are consistent with the Bible, and the teachings of Jesus.
To understand Bush and the right wing theocrats who call themselves Christians, read 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2, which describes the "man of lawlessness", and how he deceives the people, especially the "true believers". Jesus said of such people:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to."
And in fact, the rapture cultists have succeeded in alienating great numbers of good-hearted Americans from the Bible, and even from God. I'm talking about my family and friends, people who are fighting for peace and justice. They have cut themselves off from our culture's traditional source of authority on what constitutes right and wrong. The Bible has been hijacked by a small group of power-hungry hypocrites, along with the American government.
The rapture theology is totally cynical- it enables a wealthy cabal to plunder the planet with impunity, with the fanatical support of enough "true believers" to intimidate the traditional churches who work for peace and justice. Very few clergy have been brave enough to denounce the rapture heresy and expose the hypocrisy of "dominionism" and "dispensationalism"- associated beliefs, that support America's right to rule the world, and the right of its adherents to sin with impunity. Thus Bush et al have gotten a free pass to torture, murder, start wars on the basis of lies, make a mockery of the oath to uphold the Constitution, etc.
When Martin Luther King, Jr. prayed, we knew he was serving Jesus. He worked for peace and justice and, like Jesus, was willing to be beaten, imprisoned, and finally martyred. The people followed him, and the civil rights movement succeeded in integrating the Southern schools, buses, lunch counters, and politics. Above all, the civil rights movement made sure black people could vote. Although these gains are frequently challenged, we now have a black president and 43 African-Americans in Congress.
We need a similar movement of the people now, to break the power of the war profiteers and bankers over our government.
Prayer can help us if we pray to the true God, the God of peace, justice, love. The Muslims worship Him as Allah, the Jews as Yahweh, Christians as Father, Native Americans as Grandfather, and He has many other names. God is universal and does not favor one group of His children over another. For all faiths, God is just and merciful, and stands for truth and righteousness. God is the source of the strength which is necessary to transcend our social limits and work for change for the better.
Prayer works by guiding us, inspiring us, connecting us with like-minded people. It gives us the courage and strength to tell the truth and do the right thing. It enables us to put our individual egos aside and focus on the common good.
Here are some of my prayers for America.
I pray that our faith in ourselves and our Higher Self be restored, despite the many deceptions and blasphemies to which we've been subjected.
I pray that we remember that We the People are the sovereign authority in the US, and that we take back our power.
I pray for President Obama. He was elected fair and square by a clear majority. His campaign was mostly funded by small donations. When he first took office, he said repeatedly that he was working for the people, not the corporations. In 6 short months, he seems to have capitulated to most of the corporate demands. He needs our prayers, to stay true to his word, to get back on course, to represent We the People, who put him in office.
I pray for peace, justice and truth. I pray the torturers and murderers be brought to justice. I pray that the power of the bankers and warmongers will be broken, so that they will no longer set the course of American government. I pray that President Obama will be able to work for the good of all.
But mostly I pray for the people of this country. I pray that we will be humbled by the economic crisis. I pray that we will repent of our passive support of presidents who kill millions of people in other countries with our tax dollars. I pray that we will have a spiritual awakening, and replace material goods, which we can no longer afford, with community. I pray that we will start planning for our grandchildren, economically and ecologically.
I pray that we remember how to pray.
In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman