My reading of this commandment is very clear. It outlaws taking another life. It leaves no room for interpretation or exceptions. It's beautiful in both it's simplicity and absolute nature. Then how can the "religious" right retain it's aire of moral superiority when it supported the invasion of Iraq?
I teach at a small catholic liberal arts college. I saw the campus community there split between those who supported George Bush and those who didn't. Bush supporters were mostly conservative catholics while the others were mostly protestants. The catholics suffer from a more rigid organziational structure guided by the principles of scientific management theory. The local bishop, Carlson, allegedly directed his priests to tell parishoners that voting for Kerry was a mortal sin. Many did despite the fact that the Pope opposed the invasion of Iraq. The catholics followed their local leaders and voted overwhelming for George Walker Bush.
Now they have a crisis of conscience. The rules of their faith clearly indicts them of moral murder. Even so, I was amazed when one of the young catholic zealots on campus tried to explain to me that the commandment had been improperly translated. He claimed the true meaning would exempt any killings ordered by the government.
I don't buy it!
Let's take this premise to its extreme. Are the nazi soldiers who executed countless jews in gas chambers guilty according to the sixth Commandment? They were following legal orders from their government. Yes, they were as guilty as sin! They made a moral choice and chose wrong. Peer pressure does not exempt one from personal guilt.
How about 9/11 terrorists? Would they be guilty of murder if they had the support of their governments in carrying out the attack on the twin towers? Of course they would. Then why would anyone make such a rediculous argument for exemption from the commandment? Guilt.
Americans are feeling their guilt.
I would go so far as to say that George Walker Bush and hils followers can no longer call themselves christian. Jesus refused to take up the sword when offered an army to help free his people. He taught the path of peace. To kill would have violated the very foundation of his faith. He also taught forgiveness instead of vengence, brotherly love instead of hate, sharing wealth instead of greed. He chased the merchants out of the temple. Certainly he would chase the warmongers out of his church.
Guilt is a terrible burden when you live a faith based upon absolutism. As progressive thinkers we must empathize with our enemy's plight. However, they have lost the moral high ground. Its now up to us to keep it by not allowing anyone to forget the events of the past few years.
Copyright 2005 by Mark Leon Winegar