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
April 29-31, 2016
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
Alice Donovan
Cyberwarfare: Challenge of Tomorrow
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
April 28, 2016
Miguel A. Cruz Díaz
Puerto Rico: a Junta By Any Other Name
Alfredo Lopez
Where the Bern is Fizzling: Why Sanders Can’t Win the Support of People of Color
Peter Linebaugh
The Commons and the Centennial of the Easter Rising
Dan Arel
What Next? Can the #Movement4Bernie Accomplish Anything?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail