Thursday, July 19, 2007

HONESTY, AMERICA & THE WORLD

GOD’S POLITICS. When it was first published, I worked through Jim Wallis’ book God’s Politics with a diverse group of friends. We discussed the role congregations and Christians might have in honestly addressing issues that are currently trivialized, buried, or unknown. There ARE buried and unpopular realities which are just as important as the oversimplified truisms about America which we most often hear and repeat. I offer this Wallis quote as a contribution to this unveiling.

POLICIES THAT ANGER THE WORLD. “Many people in the world may not be mad at America for ‘our values’…but for ‘our policies.’ But the U.S. policies that most anger people around the world are generally unknown to most Americans. Perhaps the religious community can play a critical role here because it is itself an international community and not just an American one. We also should have the capacity for self-criticism and even repentance, while national governments are seldom good at either.”

DID YOU KNOW? “The truth that most of the world knows is that the U.S. government has far too often supported military dictators in Latin and Central America, Asia and Africa who have murdered as many or more innocent people as Saddam Hussein. The truth is that the United States has not been an honest broker for Middle East peace and has not sought the proper balance between Israeli security and Palestinian human rights.”

AMERICAN IMPACTS. “The truth is that American and Western appetites for oil have led to a corrupt and corrupting relationship with despicable Arab regimes. The truth is that the United States sits atop and is the leader of a global economy in which half of God’s children still live on less than two dollars a day, and the United States will be blamed around the world for the structures of injustice that such a global economy daily enforces.”

HARD CONVERSATIONS MAY HELP. “To speak these truths is very hard, sometimes especially in American middle-class congregations, but speaking hard truths is part of the prophetic religious vocation. Yet such a hard conversation could illuminate the confusion many Americans feel and could actually help in the necessary process of national healing while offering practical guidance for preventing such atrocities in the future.”

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