Pope Francis on Walls and being Christian

Today Pope Francis reminded the world that building walls isn’t Christian.  Donald Trump took this personally.  But Pope Francis got it right.  The Judeo- Christian texts are filled with instances of God breaking down walls, removing barriers, and lifting veils.  Nothing- not even the powers-that-be, as the Apostle Paul reminds us-  can separate us from the love of God.  This is not metaphorical for Paul.  The Christian faith is about community.  We can’t have authentic community when barriers stand between us, especially those built by fear mongering politicians.  Putting up a wall between nations, especially in the 21st century, runs counter to all our ancient texts proclaim.

For centuries, political hopefuls have co-opted the Good News, corrupted it, disembodied it, and gutted it of its economic and social implications in order to posture themselves for more power.  Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are merely the latest in a long line of offenders.  But they didn’t get where they are on their own. They had help.  They have been aided and abetted by “Christian” leaders and their followers for a very long time.

The Gospel of Jesus is, both, spiritual and social.  They cannot be separated. God’s justice is for all. It is distributive. It is not limited one faith over another.  And it certainly isn’t about this business of building walls.

If the question is whether or not Pope Francis as any business calling out potential world leaders for misrepresenting the Christian faith, the answer is: absolutely he does.  In fact, a leader in his position had better call them out or further risk the integrity of the church universal.

There are seismic shifts occurring in religious communities everywhere.  People of all faiths are tired of their religion being used as a justification for terrorism, or a shield for some to stand behind, while they deny the civil rights of other, or as an excuse to carry out xenophobic and oppressive policies.

So, a word of gratitude for Pope Francis and those like him who muster the courage to spoke for the voiceless in our world and calling out those who misrepresent the Good News.

**I recognize the Pope lives behind walls as do many people.  The point is that bridges send an entirely different signal than barriers.  Our world needs a different kind of leadership.  I think the Pope is expressing, in part, what that kind of leadership looks like. 

 

The world is not interested

[Eliezer to his father] “I could not believe that human beings were being burned in our times; the world would never tolerate such crimes…”

“The world? The world is not interested in us. Today, everything is possible, even the crematoria…”  Elie Wiesel, Night.

We live in a world where, yes, the gas chamber and the crematoria is possible.  So, we should not be surprised at what we see today. The world has been playing this game of chess for a long, long time. The only thing that changes are the faces on the pawns and the manner in which we abuse them.

One foe will send its pawns into a crowded cafe strapped with “the Mother of Satan.”

Another foe will send its pawns to war and welcome the survivors home with park bench for a bed.

As for those who flee the horror, being volleyed this way and that, they are not welcome. For them there is no refuge, no sanctuary.

. . .because the world is not interested and everything is possible.

 

 

We fight because it’s profitable

President Obama announced today that he supported military action against Syria. This should come as no surprise.   However, he will seek permission from the US Congress.  Despite the fact the UK Parliament, no doubt our strongest ally, rejected military intervention, I suspect the US will proceed as usual.   Why? The late Chalmers Johnson summed it up best in the 2005, yet relevant, film “Why We Fight:”

The ‘defense’ budget is three quarters of a trillion dollars. Profits went up last year well over 25%. I guarantee you: when war becomes that profitable, we’re going to see more of it. ~ Chalmers Johnson in “Why We Fight”