FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Sole of Christmas

by Rev. WILLIAM E. ALBERTS

Christians believe that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” and that a central message of  Christmas is “on earth peace, good will toward men.”  (Luke 2:14).  In fact, belief in “Peace” permeates the Christian’s New Testament: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9); “For the Kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Romans 14: 17, 19); “It is to peace that God has called you” (I Corinthians 7:15b); “For God is a God not of disorder but of peace” (I Corinthians 14:33); “Live in peace and the God of love and peace will be with you.” (II Corinthians 13:11); “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruit, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (James 3:17); “As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace[italics added].” (Ephesians 6:15)

Iraqi television reporter and journalist Muntader al-Zaidi was ready with the shoes on his feet at a Baghdad news conference: he “proclaim[ed] the gospel of peace” by throwing them at President Bush.  He was painfully aware of Bush’s hypocrisy.  The “I pray for peace” president hell bent for a falsely based, unjust, illegal, pre-emptive war of choice.  As “commander in chief” responsible for the deaths of over one million Iraqi civilians, over four million Iraqi refugees, and for the devastation of the country’s life-sustaining infrastructure.  A “war president” who lauds how his administration’s criminal “Operation Iraqi Freedom” has brought “democracy” to Iraq.  Yet his “unannounced” visits to Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, including his latest legacy-refurbishing trip, reveal his own keen awareness that he would not be able to duck far more lethal weapons than “size 10 shoes” if he showed his face in public.

Journalist al-Zaidi had the courage to throw the truth at President Bush.  First he threw the one shoe with the words, “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!”  Then he hurled his other shoe while speaking more truth: “This is for the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.” (The New York Times, Dec. 15, 2008).  Finally a reporter who dared to speak truth to a murderous tyrant who repeatedly mouths “God” and “freedom” and “democracy.”

Journalist Muntader al-Zaidi leads us to the “sole” of Christmas.  Christmas is about throwing truth at falsehood and hyprocrisy  in the name of peace and love and justice.  That is what Jesus was about.  He was much more than a sweet, little, innocent, non-threatening baby in a manger calling for a seasonal adoration.  His birth is not a once-a-year sentimental flight into fantasy (however precious fantasy is) but the thrusting into our society’s midst every human being’s right to his and her and their place, identity, belief, fulfillment.  His mission was to liberate his Jewish people from Roman occupation, which is why he was crucified.  His calling was “to set at liberty those who are oppressed (Luke 4: 18b), not use their oppression as a pretext for coveting their oil and empire-building and self-aggrandizement.

It is time for political and religious leaders and journalists to follow in Muntader al-Zaidi’s footsteps and throw the book of justice at President Bush and torture-authorizing Vice President Cheney.  “Peace on earth” depends on justice and justice depends on love and love does whatever justice and peace take. “As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.”

Journalist Muntader al-Zaidi is Christmas’s peace person of the year.  He is to be modeled not mocked.  He is to be praised not prosecuted.

Rev. WILLIAM E. ALBERTS, Ph.D. is a hospital chaplain, and a diplomate in the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy.  Both a Unitarian Universalist and a United Methodist minister, he has written research reports, essays and articles on racism, war, politics and religion.  He can be reached at william.alberts@bmc.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D., a former hospital chaplain at Boston Medical Center, is both a Unitarian Universalist and United Methodist minister. His new book, The Counterpunching Minister (who couldn’t be “preyed” away) is now published and available on Amazon.com. The book’s Foreword, Drawing the Line, is written by Counterpunch editor, Jeffrey St. Clair. Alberts is also author of A Hospital Chaplain at the Crossroads of Humanity, which “demonstrates what top-notch pastoral care looks like, feels like, maybe even smells like,” states the review in the Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling. His e-mail address is wm.alberts@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
Pete Dolack
Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
Murray Dobbin
Canada and the TPP
Steve Horn
Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill
Colin Todhunter
“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants
Franklin Lamb
ISIS Erasing Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
David Mihalyfy
#realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform
Graham Peebles
Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK
Yves Engler
On Unions and Class Struggle
Alfredo Lopez
The ‘Bern’ and the Internet
Missy Comley Beattie
Super Propaganda
Ed Rampell
Great Caesar’s Ghost!: A Specter Haunts Hollywood in the Coen’s Anti-Anti-Commie Goofball Comedy
Cesar Chelala
The Public Health Impact of Domestic Violence
Ron Jacobs
Cold Weather Comforts of a Certain Sort
Charles Komanoff
On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane
Charles R. Larson
Can One Survive the Holocaust?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail