Monday, November 03, 2008

what's the right answer?

When people say Obama is a Muslim we jump to say that's not right: he's a Christian.

Why don't we say "So what? A Muslim can't be President?"

Yeah, I know. The "real world" and all that.

I can say it, though, even if the campaign "can't."

But that's not such a big whoop--in fact, it's just an indication of how meshed with empire I am, how my identity in Christ is compromised by my identity with the global capital empire for which this "nation" stands, that this nation serves.

Colin Powell, on Meet the Press a couple of weeks ago, told a stirring story of a gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery. It was that under which is laid a 19 year old casualty of the the Iraq war and at the top of which is the crescent and the star.

Powell was saying that anyone can meet the "test" and that there should be no presumption based on the external indicators. If one can show one is sufficiently committed to this country and endorses the myth of redemptive violence as the means to maintain its pre-eminence in the world then one is in the club.

Most Quakers do not buy into the myth of redemptive violence, at least insofar as its implications in our own lives are clear to us. But we should recognize at the very least that integrity would require those among us who do buy into it to acknowledge that passing the "test" is not based on being part of one group or another. (Of course, integrity would require all who support a war to fight in or actively participate in it as integrity would require someone "supporting" a religion to actually practice it rather than merely tithe...I digress)

Of course, groups (as well as individuals) seek security in redemptive violence and what is "at stake" in the national/spiritual life of most Americans today is dominating one group or another to keep the "American Standard of Living," as our current leaders have sworn to do, "off of the table."

For Americans to realize that Muslims can serve the American Empire as well as Christians and Jews can is really not such a great leap forward.

I guess for me to try to point that out is not only fairly depressing as I realize what it's about but not good for my own spiritual condition. It's a bit like "favoring" gays in the military--advocating that anyone be allowed to destroy the image of Christ in themselves.

But, on the other hand, it's what separation of church and state is about, isn't it?

In school, years ago, I learned that if one is unsure of the right answer one should choose the alternative labeled "C." Having been a teacher, now, I know that's a myth.

But as I cannot help but touch the side of the airplane as I board I cannot help but say, in regard to this, the correct answer is "C."

For Christ.

No comments: