Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lent: Repentence and the U.S.

Duccio di Buoninsegna. Temptation on the Mount. 1308-11. New York City.
To-day is the first Sunday of Lent.

The devil is wily and devious. Jesus, the man, had spent forty days fasting, and was in a physically weakened posture. The devil gave three temptations. Jesus, as both God and man, was not stupid and fooled. The devil could not give Him anything that He could not have Himself. Permit me an odd diversion, this lyric is metaphorically close, “Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didnt, didnt already have.” And this is a message to all of us, the devil has nothing to give; he wants to possess. He wants your soul, your true allegiance, and clever trickery is his method.

The second temptation (in Luke, the third in Matthew):
And the devil led him into a high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; And he said to him: To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them. Lk iv. 5-6. When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. Lk iv.13.
As we understand, Jesus could have done this without help. He chose not to. He was one with the poor and downtrodden, not with the powers of the earth. But, what does this tell us of the powerful? The roman empire was the great power then, as the United States is to-day.

Now in Lent, we are meant to repent. What is it to repent? To be sorry, feel remorse with sincere contriteness for past sin. One is self reproachful. “God, God, what have I done?, is the sentiment.

Now this is not the ‘american way’. The United States shows no remorse and admits to no guilt, or at least a certain partys advocates. Anyone who recognises the evil the country has done and is doing, is denounced as part of the ‘blame America crowd’. Part of this is the extreme nationalism that is jingoism and chauvinism, part of this is distilled calvinism, or as it is called currently in political theory, ‘american exceptionalism’, a divine gift of predestined grace. It is also a sick form of self love, narcissism.

We have seen this recently proved by the Justice Department in giving passes to the architects of torture, Jay S. Bybee and John C. Yoo. Dick Cheney even boasts of his crimes, and scolds, and berates those whom may refrain. Any crime committed for the government, by the military or secret police or mercenaries, is waived. The Geneva Conventions and Nuremberg War Crimes principles are inapplicable to americans by the US government. The great fear espoused supposedly by the busheviks about a supposed Democratic administration has proved groundless. Neither Obama, nor Holder are willing to execute justice. The change promised is the status quo ante done reservedly. The Republicans feared punishment, for they knew they were guilty, but the government has shown it is bi-partisanly complicit.

The rules of God for us are not those of Cæsar for Cæsar. The godless hypocrite says the former and does the latter.

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