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Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Thom Saffold, a fellow member of the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace and publisher of the Street Wall Journal sent the following message to our group:


Today I am ashamed to be a Christian. Tomorrow will be worse.

The center of my spiritual life is Jesus, a/k/a the rabbi, Yeshua bar Yusef who--according to Himself--was NOT the Son of God, but came "to give [humanity] the power to become the sons and daughters of God"; can you imagine how different the world would be if we recognized that all people--regardless of our differences--are truly sons and daughters of the Creator? We might actually relate to and treat everyone else as our sisters and brothers, even if they were Muslim, even if they were Iraqis.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the birth of Yeshua in Beth-lehem, the city of bread, a town under military occupation, governed by a corrupt and hypocritical king, backed by the Empire of Rome. The infant Yeshua grew into a man who embraced the finest teachings and characteristics of Judaism/the faith of the Hebrew people and became known as the Prince of Peace. His radical philosophy of equality of all people (including women, eunuchs, and the poor), of the necessity of resistance to injustice (he made it a condition of discipleship), commitment to what we call creative nonviolent direct action/civil disobedience, and devotion to love--even love of enemies--got him crucified, but also inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Church, beginning in the Third Century when it sold out its principles to Constantine in return for worldly power, has consistently perverted Yeshua's message and meaning, despite the fact that a few each century (like Dr. King and many of the civil rights activists) have rediscovered His essential message and sought to manifest it. The Church, in response, has tended to kill such "heretics," of course.

And so it is that tomorrow, good Christian Church folk in nearly all the churches in our area will sing Christmas carols about the Prince of Peace and Bethlehem, and IGNORE their responsibilities as followers of Yeshua. They will be ignorant of (or is it, rather, out of callousness) the fact that the real, live, flesh-and-blood people of Bethlehem are today living under a brutal military occupation, run by a corrupt and hypocritical government backed by the Empire of Corporate America.

The overwhelming majority of these Christians (apparently "Christ" has NOTHING to do with Yeshua!) will celebrate their holiday by engaging in a consumeristic orgy and then eat too much, and go to bed feeling very self-satisfied. They will NOT be organizing or demonstrating or committing acts of civil disobedience to stop Bush's insane vision of total, unending war, or to stop US funding of Israel's cruelties. And after tomorrow, they will continue to be blind to the reality of what's happening in the world, and to the true meaning of their faith.