We have lost our way

To the editor:

It’s time to look in the mirror. What was missing was someone of prominence to hold up that mirror and refuse to put it down, and Pope Francis is doing just that. I renounced my Catholicism as a teenager for the very reasons Francis says the church, and the flock, has lost its way. Had Francis been pope and the voice of the church then, maybe I would have stayed, but it remains to be seen if his voice of conscience and justice will be listened to and if he can help muster real opposition to the forces of greed overrunning the planet.

I have often deliberated whether the real Jesus and capitalism are diametrically opposed, and have come to understand Jesus as a unique revolutionary whose philosophy was instrumental to the ideas of both democracy and socialism.

Democracy and capitalism have conflicting goals, but democracy and socialism are not mutually exclusive political endeavors. Most serious thinkers through the ages realized that democratic government would fail through the capture of that government by wealthy and powerful interests, and that is the case of the former democracy of the United States.

In 1953 American and British spies and saboteurs overthrew the democratically elected president of Iran because he ran on, and was popularly elected on, the promise to nationalize Iran’s oil for the benefit of Iran and its people. We installed the corrupt and bloodthirsty Shah Reza Pahlavi as our puppet monarch and were instrumental in creating a brutal police state there which eventually led to the popular revolt and the ejection of the U.S. from Iran.

Ever since then the U.S. has waged a war of revenge against Iran for this insult to our manifest destiny. It has been confirmed that during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s that we supplied Sadam Hussein with logistical support during chemical and biological attacks against Iran. We also assisted Sadam in similar operations against the Kurds in northern Iraq. I would have bet a month’s pay that we would find no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq except for the damnable fact that it was Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who were instrumental in giving those weapons to Iraq in the first place before they began frothing at the mouth to illegally invade that country.

I was often saddened by “The Power of Pride” bumper stickers during our most recent military crime and debacle. The church of my ancestors and its greatest prophet taught that pride is not a virtue, but a vice, and its power is mostly corruptive and destructive.

Saudi Arabia wants to draw us further into its sectarian conflict with Iran, and it has made an unholy alliance with Israel in denouncing peaceful negotiations with Iran.

This may be the Saudis’ undoing, for as long as there is no justice for Palestinians there will be no peace in the region, a sentiment shared across most sects of Islam.

The claim would probably aggrieve Jesus, that this is a Christian nation.

Vince Lawrence

Cross Creek Township