Monday, February 09, 2015

"Unfortunately, the American people are mostly OK with torture, and Christians poll consistently in favor of the same tools that crucified their Lord."

by Rev. Rich Lang
With CIA torture and militarized police, it’s time for churches to use the pulpit to demand change
Dec 31, 2014, Vol: 21, No: 53
The release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s unconstitutional torture campaign, the CIA’s lies to Congress and its illegal spying on Congress ought to be a moment of repentance throughout the country. Unfortunately, the American people are mostly OK with torture, and Christians poll consistently in favor of the same tools that crucified their Lord.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that Christian clergy, perhaps now in our own last gasps of moral clarity, ought to see clearly that the American people are moving into a time of great moral squalor. Clergy ought to be teaching their congregations to discern the “signs of the times.” That is, we are no longer living in a democracy, but an oligarchy, where we’re ruled by a few; we’re no longer a nation of laws, but a nation of permanent war that supersedes law: we’re no longer free, but increasingly monitored.   

It is my hope that clergy will address the state from the pulpit and, in its spiritual work, demand:

1.  President Obama end the official “state of emergency” and “Continuity of Government” operations, which allows the government, in the face of a catastrophe, to continuing operating, procedures put into effect after 9/11
2.  That we release Chelsea Manning and the dropping of all charges against Edward Snowden, and other truth-tellers who have released illegal state secrets
3.  That we dismantle the CIA as a consequence of its pattern of lying to the American people
4.  That we close Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and, as an act of penance, the return of the land to Cuba
5.  That we end solitary confinement in domestic prisons, as a prelude to a complete overhaul of our own domestic — racist — penal system
6. That we sever the link between local policing and military armament
7. President Obama appoint an independent prosecutor, with subpoena powers, to investigate the chain of command that allowed these abuses to become policy.  Given America’s disregard of the U.S. Constitution, perhaps that prosecutor should be under the protection and authority of the United Nations.
Further, it is my hope that clergy and their churches will:
8. Open our buildings for communities to congregate for the purpose of organizing resistance to and protest of the lawlessness of the state
9. Renounce American imperialism and its wars, teaching our parishes the ways of nonviolent resistance, while counseling our congregants to renounce participation in the armed forces and intelligence agencies of this lawless state
10. Use sacred story to connect the dots between imperial war and domestic repression. 

The Church should teach its congregations to act as truth tellers and defenders of those who are called to protest and resistance. 
All of this amounts to penance, a true remorse for becoming an unjust empire.

I think it’s time for the American church to re-read how Christians endured communism, colonialism and apartheid. (Blacklogic.blogspot editor's note: How he left out slavery is perplexing) Our task will be to endure unleashed military-capitalism. It is a time of warning, and the future will unfold through our faithfulness — or lack thereof.

Rev. Rich Lang is the pastor of University Temple United Methodist and can be contacted through

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