Peeling it to the Core…
PEELING IT TO THE CORE
AND DECLARING PEACE
Although history is one of our greatest teachers, and though mastering it affords us the opportunity to keep it from repeating itself, I think that history in the final analysis is like the onion. The more you peel off layers looking for truth, the more layers of former illusion you will discover. Finally, it seems, as you peel down the layers of history or science to discover the core of “truth” within, the cores turn out to be alive and growing, and as such, are incapable of exact measurement or analysis.
In our life time, for example, the Jews have been victims of the holocaust of WWII and a myriad of other travails and persecutions. Peel the onion of their history down to their origins (their own Genesis/Exodus/Leviticus accounts) and it appears the original tribes of Israel were among the world’s first genocidal peoples, who, under the license and directive of their “God”, entered into lands occupied by others whom they serially and systematically slaughtered on their holy trek to secure and dominate the real estate promised them by their God in a special covenant which excluded all but them.
Displaced and homeless Jews persecuted in Europe displaced—and rendered homeless–as much as 85 percent of the resident Islamic population of the region which became the State of Israel in 1948, a state formed by an ad-hoc caucus in which none of the displaced Islamic residents had a single delegate.
The citizens of the United States were liberators and saviors of Europeans in 1945, but two hundred years before were “insurgents” who murdered the agents and soldiers of the ruler to whom they had sworn fealty. During the two centuries before that, they invaded , murdered, imprisoned or otherwise displaced scores of native American cultures, all in the names and sakes of their primarily Christian cultures and creeds.
Bin Laden is a C.I.A. ally, trainee and protégé in America’s covert alliance with Afghani insurgents in 1982 and the heart of Evil’s Axis when he remains allied with those same insurgents as they turn their war-frenzied gaze from the retreating Russian infidels to the incoming infidels…those increasingly-militant allies of Israel…you guessed it…oil-drilling, sheik-hand-holding, wealth and resource-seizing America. Us.
Saddam is American’s ally and oil-bargaining buddy in 1980 and our arch enemy in ‘93, and moreso (allegedly) in 2003.
The “peeled onion” point: Read history long enough and there are no consistently “good” or “evil” entities among the several nations and peoples contending with one another. The “liberator” of today is the aggressor of tomorrow.
The United States built its seminal wealth by stealing assets of aboriginal cultures and subsequently developing those assets and resources by the use of slave labor. At the end of this growth process, and the civil war to humanize and anneal it, America became strong enough to act as liberator of the free world, and twice within a single century. With that success came the recognition, the gratitude and indebtedness of the rest of the world, and with it the power no other nation had to this point in time ever attained. The question yet unanswered by history’s perennially-peeling onion is… Will America’s near absolute power wind up corrupting America absolutely?
Every nation — like every individual human–when viewed chronologically (through significant time in their historic “lives”) is a patchwork quilt. There are some pretty and “good” patches, and some ineptly-sewn, sloppy and even ragged patches. The moral of the American movie (“The Making of an American Quilt”, starring Wynonna Ryder) was quite beautiful: Let’s judge each other as we do our communally-sewn patchwork quilts—not on the basis of any individual patch, but on the basis of whether, taking it as a whole, on a cold and dreary winter’s night when we wrap it about our shoulders…does it keep us warm?
Saint Francis of Assisi put it poignantly when he confessed there was no way he could ever have come to be viewed as “saintly” had he not first lived as one of the world’s most reprehensible sinners.
If America in this Middle Eastern conflict, or more broadly, in its apparently increasing determination to condemn and wage war on Islamic peoples for the criminal acts of some of their radical fundamentalists, has gone astray as a peace-loving nation, America as a nation is not necessarily lost. American and all peoples and nations are better viewed in the contexts of the sum of their historically mosaic parts. It’s not only what we’ve done that will define us in the future, but rather what we do today and hereafter. The American Quilt, like the onion, continues to grow even as I write.
The point I was hopefully leading up to here is this: Some time, somewhere along the karmic-patchwork progression of history we’ve got to get off the wagon of cause and effect, climb down from the pulpit of “who threw the stone first” and simply draw a line in the sand and say this: “It doesn’t matter who threw the stone first. There will be no more stones thrown. From this point on, there will be no preemptive aggression. Men may defend their lives, but they will defend with the use of force only after every means of international diplomacy and peaceful resolution has been exhausted. They will be intolerant of nothing but intolerance and untruth. They will cease justifying aggression in the present with the aggression of their opponents in the past.”
We must unite in a cease fire. And finally, if the source or seeds of the problems of aggression are centered or being fostered within the walls of religious institutions and ideologies, then that is where the peace effort must be focused and exerted. If a Jihad exists within Islam which advocates the taking of innocent lives, then the Jihad must by some means be extinguished. If a plan is underway within the walls of either Judaism or Christianity (or both in conjunction) to fulfill putative Biblical prophesies of Armageddon’s end-time wars in order to either lay the way for the second coming of a prophet or procure by force land reportedly promised to Jews and/or Christians of which they are not presently and legally seized, then the plans for actively ordaining such prophesies must by some means be extinguished.
We will not solve the problems causing wars by assigning unreal causes (religious prophesy) for those wars. If a cow is trampling an innocent child, that cow needs to be restrained, albeit sacred or sacrificial. If there are Jihads or undeclared wars of Zionist ambition (or either Armageddon or Rapture fulfillment) underway, then those responsible must be approached, counseled and dealt with.
But to whom do we turn for such a change? Will it be our politicians who dare to “meddle” with the onion’s core (theological/theocratic) problems within Islam, Christianity and Judaism that may be the prime movers or at least co-efficient causes of the conflict in Middle East? If in fact anti-Western Jihad and anti-Islamic Zionist sermons are being preached in the Mosques, Maddrasses, Churches and Synagogues of our world, will our politicians be willing or able to initiate any meaningful change, given the historically inveterate jealousies and divisions between clerical and secular powers within diverse cultures? Tony Blair’s efforts in this regard in Great Britain following the terrorist bombings of the subways have thus far backfired and been condemned by Islam as failed efforts on the part of a secular infidel to pervert the interests of Islam for the benefit of the Satanic U.S./G.B. coalition.
But it is clearly the subversion of fundamentalists of the several faiths by the demagogic secular leaders of presently warring cultures that has led us into this war with terrorism. Bin Laden is essentially a secular power-mongering demagogue and opportunist who became a successful terrorist by perverting Islam and manipulating impressionable, depressed and devout fundamentalist Islamic followers to become tools for his secular agenda, and as such to perform as self-sacrificial “I.C.B.M”’s (intercontinental ballistic Muslims) against the West. It is widely believed in the non-Western world that the Bush leadership has harnessed, through similar Machiavellian stealth, the fundamentalist Christians of America to falsely perceive (and thus elect and support) him as a “Christian warrior” in spite of the fact that the same oxymoronic posture was first assumed by Adolph Hitler in 1938.
Given the efforts on the parts of secular (political) leaders of both sides of the terrorist struggle to exploit their respectively-faithful fundamentalist supporters and activists, it is naïve to look to politicians to institute or mediate any détente or separate accord of peace among the religious leaders of their respective constituencies and/or armed holy warriors.
I say, therefore, it is the responsibility of our religious leaders, quite independently of our politicians, military personnel and secular leaders, to assume the responsibility. It is their clear and present duty to weave and take up the banner and find a way to unite with one another, collaborate with one another, cooperate with one another and declare peace with one other. Innocent people are dying in Iraq, England and around the world. Thousands perished on American soil on 9/11. This killing violates shared tenets of Christianity, Judaism and Islam alike. The leaders of all faiths have independently agreed and declared as much, but they have not yet done so together, in pro-active concert with one another. They have all espoused peace from pulpits ensconced in secure and separate quarters within the militarily-gated communities of their secular kings, ayatollas, presidents, prime ministers and their respective nation states.
Bin Laden’s version of Islam is false and itself a perversion and sin against Islam. The great majority of Islam’s clerical authority has openly and formally condemned terrorism carried out in the name of Islam. Our attack on Iraq was a violation of Christian and Jewish Commandment and is clearly the antithesis of Christ’s clear teaching; but where—anywhere—from the Vatican to the Church of England to the Southern Baptist Convention–is there any righteous Christian condemnation of Americas aggression? Where in the Christian faith, in the entire institutional “Body of Christ” is there evidence of anything but endorsement and complicity in America’s admittedly preemptive aggression in the Middle Eastern Holy Land of Christians, Jews and Islam?
The followers of Christ, Mohammed and Islam all have a common progenitor and patriarch. His name was Abraham. Although they have different names for Him, they worship a common God, because they all agree there is but the One.
Mark Twain once said (ironically in retrospect), “Everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” Amazingly enough we now have. No one disputes global warming presently exists. There’s apparently nothing humans can’t accomplish with their God-given inventiveness and collective ingenuity.
By the same space-age token, there was once a time one might have safely and sanely said, “let’s not worry about history, because earthly life and history will go on…like an onion, which–even while one is peeling it–may continue to grow.” But since Einstein and our ability to harness—and unharness—the atom, it appears there is definitely a way people can today stunt and potentially terminate the growth of all life on their planet, including that precious onion of man’s historic progress hidden in his larder, carefully wrapped up in possibly the finest patchwork quilt in the universe.
But—before that happens–I propose an international summit for the negotiation and drafting of a united Global Declaration of Peace by the clerical leaders of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and all the other religions of world. We know where our Captains of War are today. But where are our Princes of Peace? What are they waiting for? I hope and pray it’s not simply Armegeddon and/or the Rapture. If and/or when God might intend those events to occur, He certainly has not appointed any of us to engineer or pro-actively pursue them.
Come forth, Billy and Franklin Graham– your pulpit was not built, nor does it belong, in the White House. Come forth Benedict XVI; the Vatican is no longer Papal puppet to any throne. Come forth Rabbis and Imans; Come clerical descendants of Isaac and Ishmael– your Sharons and sheiks have no final sway in what you must do and say.
You—all of you—hold…and manipulate…the theological needles and threads of sermons being woven in the patchwork quilts of your pulpits…not Bush, not bin Laden, not Sharon, and not any of the secular leaders of this world.
With those “theological needles and threads”, what practical stitching must be accomplished—as a practical minimum—by these brave clerics of our revolutionarily new world order of peace? Without attempting to cite the plentitude of peaceful statutes and verses within the Old and New Testaments and Koran, the necessary ingredients are…elementary:
Practical Patch Sewing at the Onion’s Core
(I.C.P. Axioms, Corollaries and Addenda)
The Intercontinental Congress of Peace (I.C.P.) will be assembled for the pre-declared purpose of adopting and integrating into its Interfaith Declaration of Interdependence and Peace (I.D.O.I.A.P.), inter alia, both a pledge to maintain and abide in peace, and a definition and joint condemnation and universal clerical prohibition of “terrorism” as hereinafter defined, all according to the following axiom, corollaries and addenda:
A X I O M : TERRORISM IS ANATHEMA and refers to: one human’s intentionally injuring or killing another human except in self defense.
F i r s t C o r o l l a r y : Attacks on either military personnel or civilian populations are never justified as “self defense” unless those personnel or populations are at the same time themselves actively engaged in the process of committing terrorism. Accordingly, all pre-emptive injurious attacks on human beings constitute terrorism, and this includes attacks on non-human targets that injure humans in the process.
S e c o n d C o r o l l a r y: The attacker is deemed to have intended the natural consequences of his acts. If a skyscraper 120 stories high is attacked and destroyed after the attacker has inspected and found vacant every room and closet therein save one which was inadvertently overlooked, he is a terrorist if a single human in the unfound closet is injured.
T h i r d C o r o l l a r y : Before the conclusion of the Intercontinental Congress of Peace, an Interfaith Declaration of Interdependence and Peace should be signed by all Clerics in attendance, who immediately upon adjournment will return to their places of religious worship and spiritual communion and preach and disseminate by all means conceivable and available the sermons and resolutions that peace has been declared and shall thereafter be invariably the required behavior of all members of the various religions with permanent excommunications from their respective bodies of all who thereafter violate the collective, Interfaith Declaration of Interdependence and Peace.
F o u r t h C o r o l l a r y : An invariably integral portion of each sermon will be recitations and avowals that the Clerics of all the religions assembled at the I.C.P. were responsible for the united adoption of the Declaration of Interdependence and Peace, and as such, that both they and their faithful following are perpetually entitled to all other faith’s according to both them and their partners in faith: peace, love, friendship, truth, respect, and inclusion in prayers.
F i f t h C o r o l l a r y : All clerical leaders who have attended the I.C.P. and signed the I.D.O.I.A.P. have walked the walk. It is thereafter mandatory that each of them, for the rest of their lives continue to both walk the walk and talk the talk of peace. Part of that duty may involve acts of civil disobedience in instances where secular leaders thereafter commit acts of terrorism or attempt to induce others to perform acts of terrorism.
A d d e n d u m: Consonant with its letter and spirit, it is recalled and noted that America’s first and foremost collective resolution, its July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence, was itself an act of civil disobedience. It is suggested that that which at the time was deemed moral and just for the sake of taxes and equal sway in British Parliament, is as well, if not clearly more compellingly founded (by the declaring consensus) upon the will and recorded commandments of infinitely higher authorities and allegiances.
You do not need the blessing, authority or permission of any politician or statesman in your midst. If declaring and waging wars and defending their peoples in wars is their primary focus and duty, declaring peace is yours. You do not need the protection of their warriors. Buddha did not seek the permission or protection of the warring lords in his homeland. Gandhi did not seek refuge. Martin Luther King stepped to the front of the many lines he drew in the deserts of bigotry and hatred. Moses and Mohammed heeded only a single voice, which was certainly not secular. Jesus Christ made of His life and blood a sermon of peace, and rendered none of it to Caesar.
It is your sermons—united in peace– that will save us from this war…not their swords.
Which of you will hear and heed this call to come forth and enlist as representatives of your faith and as pilgrims of peace and attend the world’s first Intercontinental Congress for Peace? Which will sojourn to Switzerland and subscribe to the world’s first Interfaith Declaration of Interdependence and Peace?
Which of you will come forward (and to Switzerland) in response to this challenge and call and be first to call the rest to a summit of peace among a coalition of clerics in the world? Which of you will become signatories of the world’s first Declaration of Peace?
War is the only enemy.
High Point, NC