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Notes from Exile

Goodwill To All! But What About Those On Death Row?
Posted by David Irby on Dec 18, 2005 - 7:15:00 PM

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
UNITED STATES—I hear that some in the USA want to ban civic-sponsored Cr-ches on, "No Establishment of Religion" grounds.  But I think that's sad because, while the Cr-che is undeniably Christian, it is also a trans-religious symbol, which really should be unifying.  After all, nearly all of the people represented; Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Child Jesus, of course; were Jews. 


And there was no Christian religion as such then, and the greatness of the essentially Jewish message of Monotheism is really mediated to the world through what was originally a Jewish sect, which followed the Crucified Jesus. 


But there are also three non-Jews depicted in the Cr-che, the "Wise Men" were polytheistic pagans from Mesopotamia, now Iraq.  And had the "Wise Men" come from there today, they might have been a Sunni, a Shia and a Kurd, all Abrahamic Muslim Monotheists. 


And the message, which the shepherds heard from the angels was, "Peace to ALL people who are of goodwill."  So can we not ALL unite in that?


I began this column nearly a year ago in opposition to Mr. Nathan Tabor, a "Christian" who seems to sincerely oppose abortion, but who opposes nearly all of the rest of our beloved John Paul II's "Culture of Life" (which as to the unjust Iraq War anyway, is also supported by nearly every other Christian leader, except the American Protestant ultra-right) and supports Bush's "Culture of Death" in just about every respect.


And that year, which is almost done, has been one of great change.  I have just learned that it includes the death of Eugene McCarthy.  In my first political campaign, I supported Bobby Kennedy instead of McCarthy on "practical politics" grounds, but my heart was with McCarthy and he should have been the Democrats' anti-Vietnam War nominee after Bobby was killed. 


How different would the world have been if Nixon had not been elected?  Well, nearly two a million Vietnamese would not have perished in that unwinable war, for one thing. 


The main killer of "The Mississippi Tree" has been convicted and Americans have finally realized that Bush hoodwinked them into the illegal and unjust invasion of Iraq, and it is to be hoped that this will be reflected, at least, in the election of a Democratic Congress next November.


But change has been reflected in death, but also rebirth.  Our "Santo Subito" John Paul II was succeeded by Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI.  An "even more ultra-right-wing Pope?" 


As a Cardinal, Benedict wrote of the "unity of creation and evolution and of faith and reason," and he has also raised questions as to whether there can ever really be a "just war" at all.  John Paul was a "Pope of Peace."  Expect that Benedict will try to outdo, even John Paul, in that.


But deaths of the great, has also been met with hypocrisy from people who are really pipsqueaks.  "Hypocrite in Chief" George W. Bush mourned before the biers of both John Paul and Rosa Parks.  But he invaded Iraq against John Paul's heartfelt pleadings and he built his career on the basis of Nixon's "Southern Strategy" whereby the South's most racist elements were made into the chief mainstay of the Republican Party's "base."


And Californians have become soured on Schwarzenegger too, as reflected in their stunning defeat of all of his "Propositions."  So I look forward to the termination of "The Terminator" next November.


But as a person who is mostly "left" but also resolutely opposed to abortion (indeed on grounds which I THINK should be "leftist", protection for the most vulnerable in society), I was also saddened that Proposition 73 didn't pass.  Again in America, death has won over life!


By the time this column is published, will it be the same for Stanley "Tookie" Williams?  I have little sympathy for Williams as a person, and I remain conflicted about the death penalty in general. 


But I also wonder if the time has not come for Americans to join the rest of the Western world by saying that we are better people than such violent murderers.  And how can we do that when we allow the State, which represents us, to do in cold blood what they did in hot blood?  


The State Legislature will be considering a moratorium on the death penalty in January.  So I think that all of us, Jew and Christian, Muslim and Pagan, should "gather around the Christ Child" to support this moratorium!


Cliffside Malibu




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