I worry that the sins of the father are handed down to the sons and daughters; I worry that words don't mean what they used to: words like principle, belief and right and wrong.
Whether you're a party member or an Independent; whatever your race, ethnicity or sexual preference, all of us have a sense of the tenets of our faith. Christians - those who proclaim their adherence to the words and suggestions of Christ may recall the Christ that spoke words of non-violence. (I'm speaking of the Jesus Christ pre-Constantine, and certainly pre-Augustine - Augustine, who penned, The Just War, making God a partner in the crime of war. Modern-day sensibilities could re-title his text as, War, Positive Pre-emptive Thinking with Jesus' Blessing)
Before Constantine no Christian parent would offer up their child for a war nor allow them to be sent off to kill or be killed, although they might pray the state would be successful in its endeavor. Since Constantine, Jesus not only condones war, but is expected to pick a side.
Pointing the barrel of a gun at our heads, destroying all of our possessions, torturing us for a confession or information, or just because they can, should not be the standard barer for moral authority; nor should the use of weapons of mass destruction that leaves the air, water and land tainted with radioactivity. (Radioactivity or depleted uranium (DU) that will eventually and lethally kill our soldiers and their families and our enemies and their offspring forevermore.)
The only moral authority We the People have given the State is defined by its social contract. That contract is the Constitution and The Bill of Rights. It exists only because we the people affirm its promise.
Our leader leads by fiat. No longer does congress proclaim their responsibility to be both check and balance. Signing statements have become the law of the land. We the people look for justice. We look towards the courts that used to represent mankind's last resort against tyranny.
If we begin with God's basic premise, Thou Shall Not Kill and continue with the rebellious and revolutionary teachings of Christ: Love one's enemy; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, one has to question if these teachings apply to modern times? Or are they quaint expressions?
Certainly, nowadays one risks being deemed an enemy combatant or accused of treason if they espouse such notions.
Today, Jesus would find Himself confined to a maximum security prison as a radical censoring his unpatriotic rantings of peace and non-violence. After all, He was a simple man. A man of principle: The Prince of Peace.
We knew how His story would end, even as children. We knew the State had to kill him; it was a given. Just like we knew in our hearts and minds what would befall Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
As we ponder our existence, question our reason and purpose in life, is it not the right to believe in non-violence and the right to practice it? Is it not the responsibility of those who govern to adhere to the social contract that we all agreed upon? Or is it all for naught: null and void; is it all conjecture; is hope the false prophet in a dismal world of chaos?
We need a new vision. A new belief that is more inclusive - so help us God.
ę Philip J. Rappa
Philip J. Rappa is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, documentarian, lecturer, and humanitarian.