Tuesday, September 12, 2006


"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as they do when they do it from religious conviction."
--Blaise Pascal (1670)

(Written 9/11/06) The religious right make a big conservative play that their position vis. Iraq is legitimate, and also reflects Christian values. But legality and morality, and truth and justice, are not equivalent concepts.

The first rule of leadership in the military is that a commander never asks a soldier to do something that he personally would not do. Since Clinton, Bush and Cheney never saw fit to participate in active military service in a time of national need, this moral dimension is AWOL.
Both Bush and Clinton were Commanders in Chief of our military in the legal sense, but this does not mean they wielded the moral authority to command honest military personnel.

A leader (Bush, not Osama) that claims to look to a Higher Authority should take a better look at Jesus's morality, which invalidated the Old Testament concept of an eye for an eye. Jesus taught to turn the other cheek and love your neighbor. He beseeched His Father to "forgive those" who had transgressed against him.

Congress can propose retroactive legislation legally forgiving torture and torturers, but this legality will be as shaky as the notion of Christians espousing torture. Morality can't be legislated, and legislation can't dictate morality. The protection of American life never justifies torture, The preservation of American lives cannot be a justification for torture under our humanistic or Christian heritage. Some things are more important than life; isn't that what the image of Jesus on the cross is supposed to embody?

As Dylan wrote in Masters of War, "even Jesus would never forgive what you do." The ash and rubble surrounding 9-11 signified nothing less than the disintegration of the Constitution and the New Testament.

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns

You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Bob Dylan, (c) 1963


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