Just because we’re a Christian® nation does not mean we are going to embrace every Christian who comes down the pike. What we are looking for are State-friendly Christians who worship the Bronze Age tribal God that is always blessing America. These are Christians who interpret Jesus’ command to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and shelter the homeless as a metaphorical command to keep our corporate elite in their designer clothes, Beluga caviar and gated communities.
Christians who take Jesus’ teachings to heart are a source of disorder and destruction as we discovered during the Civil Rights movement with its illegal boycotts and sit-ins.
Thanks to a Religious Right that is as well-funded as it is loud and obnoxious, the voice of liberal religion has been almost muted. I say “almost” because there is still one tumor remaining on Jesus’ nose: the United Church of Christ (UCC). They are getting dangerous, George, with their calls for gay marriage and social justice.
The Religious Right hasn’t shut them up, so it is time to look across the Pacific for inspiration. And you need look no further than the Philippines, one of the first nations to whom we gave the blessings of Democracy™ in the days following the Spanish-American War.
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo is another world leader into whose eyes you have looked and seen the toenails of her soul. It seems she also has a problem with troublesome religious leaders who are making noise about social justice and all that other shit. One of the more radical organizations is the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).
Her strategy for dealing with those troublemakers is summed up in two words: extrajudicial killings. Just as the Inquisition purified Christianity with stake and rack, she is purifying Christianity with bullets. To date, her government has terminated over 900 human rights workers “with extreme prejudice.”
It is axiomatic that it is easier to kill a label than a human being. So she has designated the church and any other organization concerned with human rights as “Communist infiltrated.” Granted, that these days calling a man a Communist is a bit like calling him a Loyalist. But the purpose of a label isn’t to describe, it is to justify taking extreme measures against any group so designated.
To her credit, it is an equal-opportunity label. Not only did she hang is on the UCCP, but she expanded the tent to include other organizations, such as the Catholic Bishops conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the United Methodist Church of the Philippines. Actually, the label embraces anyone who gives a shit about poverty and injustice.
This allows her to justify the killing under the one rubric that lights your fire: antiterrorism. This is why we are funding the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as they carry out their Philippine Defense Reform Program. (Damn, George! Isn’t that a cuddly little euphuism? It is one of those squeegees that wipe away every trace of blood.)
Now, George, you know I am loath to criticize anything you do. But, I gotta ask, what in the fuck are you doing spending all that money on foreign death squads when there is so much to be done in this country? Would not a similar program silence liberal Christians? I admit you’ve taken some salutary steps like the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. But those are too subtle. We need Action! We need some bodies left alongside the Interstate.
It is true, this country does not have a strong tradition of extrajudicial killing. This is one area where the Third World is light years ahead of us. The best way to close this gap would be to outsource the prejudicial terminations to a private firm, like Blackwater.
Nothing makes a little girl a good citizen like seeing her mother raped and her father murdered. President Arroyo has shown you the path. It is up to you to take it.