And yet, standing so near the truth, Thomas Peters and Mark Shea and many of like-mind totally lose their minds. Example: they have likely Marched for Life in Washington D.C., but not before attending the idol-worshiping ceremonies that precede it, where the multitudes pledge their allegiance to a flag soaked in blood, to a Republic prostituted for Mammon, to a nation kneeling under a god called Constitution. “That’s just proper patriotism for the good parts of America,” they might say. But anyone who pledges allegiance to the American flag or gets goosebumps at the National Anthem just doesn’t get it: America is the greatest force for evil in the world in the history of mankind.
… Is America a (rather than the) Beast of the Apocalypse? Has it gone beyond the authority willed by God and made itself a deity? Have false prophets induced people to adore it? I would affirm, yes. Without doubt, the United States is another Beast of the Apocalypse, like Rome, like Babylon, like every degenerate civilization that worshiped its own power rather than God.
That’s the problem facing us: some people only see the horror of abortion, some only the horror of poverty, some only the horror of war . . . but if we put together all the pieces, we would see that we only held different parts of a Beast — a Beast that Saint John tells us to resist and escape rather than reform and heal.
How could the Pope repeat United States propaganda, and express admiration for US bloodshed? I racked my mind for ways to interpret his words in another way, but I couldn’t. Not in that context. Not at the White House with the President standing next to him. Not as the Iraq war rages on. The Pope meant what he said, but not as propaganda. He spoke sincerely. He marvels at American monuments and sees those who “sacrificed their lives defense of freedom”. Pope Benedict looks at our country and sees . . . goodness. When I look at our country, I see . . . evil. I want the Pope to condemn war and abortion, not to call our country ‘great’ and ‘religious’. I want brimstone and fire and words of fury! But from the mouth and heart of our Pope come nothing but goodness.
I have so much to learn.
After a great deal of reflection and prayer, my heart has moved, my neck has bent. I have seen something startling: we live in a society where “defense of life” and “nonviolence” are mostly mutually exclusive, and because the defense of life must take priority over a commitment to nonviolence, most Christians are duty-bound to defend life with the least amount of violence possible.
and so, I don’t get too bent out of shape about it. Chalk it up to a momentary lapse of reason. 😉
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From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the “self-evident truth” that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations. […]
Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience – almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good.
Certainly, nobody could accuse the Pope of moral blindness with these words. But if Benedict, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, could even at this point in time praise the United States of America for the good it has done in the world, and to call its citizens to faithfully embody the worthy principles upon which this nation was founded . . .
Well, who am I to disagree?