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Faith-Based Imperialism

by Rev. WILLIAM E. ALBERTS

The very nature of Christianity is imperialistic. A resurrected Christ reportedly told his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore,” he ordered them, “and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey [italics added] everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus’ assumed resurrection is believed to be proof of his own unique divinity as the only Son of God and savior of the world. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” he is recorded as asserting. “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) It is about authority and obedience far more than about individuality and equality. Thus Christianity is embraced by most adherents as “the highest revelation of God.” In the words of The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church: “We believe the Christian Church is the community of all true believers under the Lordship of Christ. . . . the redemptive fellowship in which the Word of God is preached by men divinely called . . . {It} exists for the . . . edification of believers and the redemption of the world” [italics added]. (“Article V ­ The Church,” pages 67, 68) Jesus’ death on the cross is also central to many Christians imperialistic claim of possessing the global religious truth for all human beings. A favorite authoritative verse is John 3: 16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” [italics added] As the passion of the Christ-makers dictates: Jesus died on the cross “for the sins of the whole world,” and whoever believes in his sacrificial act of atonement, as the only pure Son of God, will not perish but inherit eternal life. Thus may an otherwise theologically damned hell-bent humanity escape the eternal punishment of an otherwise loving god.

“The sins of the whole world?” It all started innocently enough, if one believes in the literal truth of the Bible. “In the beginning God created” Adam and Eve and a womb-like Garden of Eden for them. Unfortunately, they committed the “first” or “original” sin: they disobeyed their god by eating from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;” and their “eyes [were] opened” and they became “wise . . . like God, knowing good and evil,” which evidently was taboo. So an obedience-demanding, apparently jealous god banished them from the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3) Thus much of hierarchical and “bibliarchical” Christianity would have us believe that Adam and Eve actually existed, or represent mythical truth, and that their disobedience marks or symbolizes “the fall” of the human race: i.e. all human beings thereafter inherited Adam and Eve’s disobedient, sinful nature. The only saving grace for all people is prayed often in many Christian churches: “Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of they tender mercy didst give thine only Son

Jesus Christ to suffer death on the cross for our redemption, who made there, by the offering of himself, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.” [italics added] (“The Great Thanksgiving,” Holy Communion ritual, The United Methodist Hymnal, 1989, p.28)

“Original sin” of a real or mythical Adam and Eve? Or taking a bite to see the light, and cutting the “umbiblical” cord of patriarchy and moral obliviousness? Disobedience? Or individuation? Religion as power over people? Or as empowerment of people? Mindless? Or mindful of right and wrong?

On any given Sunday in almost any given Christian church one may hear professions of an ingrained imperialistic faith. It may be heard in a call to worship: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, . . . full of grace and truth. . . . No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known [italics added] (John 1).

On any given Sunday, faith-based imperialism may take wings in an opening hymn: “From all that dwell below the skies, let the Creator’s praise arise; let the Redeemer’s name be sung, through every land by every tongue.” (Words: Isaac Watts; Music: John Hatton, The United Methodist Hymnal, p. 101)

A similar affirmation of an imperialistic faith, often said in unison in Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches, is the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; . . . rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty and he will come to judge the living and the dead” [italics added]. (“Apostles’ Creed,” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

Faith-based imperialism may be reflected in the Scripture lesson read at a given Sunday service: “Therefore God has exalted him and bestowed on him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” [italics added] (Philippians 2:9-11) Then may follow “the Word of God . . . preached by men divinely called” to lead “the community of all true believers.” Here again the emphasis is far more on believing than on being. Far more on submission and domination than on liberation and equality.

Faith-based imperialism is oblivious to its own self-contradictions. On any given Sunday one may hear the following prayer “For Peace”: “Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace [italics added] as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and forever, Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 p. 815) Here is unawareness of the “banners” under which people of other faiths may “glory.”

At any given Sunday service, the closing hymn may sound an imperialistic note: “We’ve a story to tell to the nations, that shall turn their hearts to the right, a story of truth and mercy, a story of peace and light . . . For the darkness shall turn to the dawning, and the dawning to noon-day bright; and Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth, the kingdom of love and light.” (Words and Music by Ernest Nichol, 1896, The United Methodist Hymnal, p. 569) And following the hymn, this benediction may be said: “Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time now and forever. Amen” [italics added] (Jude 1: 24, 25)

Faith-based imperialism is especially seen in claims regarding which Christians represent “the one true church.” Catholicism teaches it alone possesses “the keys to the Kingdom,” since disciple Simon Peter, who became the first apostle, is recorded as recognizing Jesus’ unique divinity: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and Jesus rewarded him with, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven . . .” [italics added] (Matthew 16: 16-19)

Citing the above Scripture as its authority, the Catechism of the Catholic Church stakes Catholicism’s claim as the one true church: “This is the sole [italics added] Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic.” (811, p. 232). The Catechism continues, “The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church . . . subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in commune with him.” (816, p. 234) The Catechism then reinforces its imperialistic authority: “The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: ‘For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.'” [italics added] (Ibid) The Catholic Church’s bottom line: “God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.” (848, p.244) Faith-based imperialism, in Germany, in other European countries, and in America, made it easier for Hitler’s fascist Nazi ideology to murder some six million Jews in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

If Catholics find their imperialistic authority in their Church, evangelical and other Christians find it in their Bible. Many evangelical Christian websites declare that salvation is not through any “church but through Jesus Christ alone.” Christian Resources Net, for example, states Catholicism’s position: “The Second Vatican Council Decree on Ecumenism explains: ‘For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. Vertification: pg. 215, #816” But Catholicism is wrong because, “When checking God’s Word on this subject, two critical facts leap out: 1. The Bible never remotely indicates that one must go through a church to obtain salvation. 2. Literally hundreds of Scriptures proclaim that salvation is a free gift from God, readily available to anyone, but only through Jesus Christ” [italics added). Christian Resources Net then proceeds to list at least 20 Scriptures, including, “Neither is there salvation in any other (except Jesus): for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4: 10,12” (“Catholic Beliefs vs. the Beliefs of God”)

The historic pervasiveness of faith-based imperialism is seen in United Methodism’s invitation to church membership: “The Church is of God, and will be preserved to the end of time, for the conduct of worship and the due administration of God’s Word and Sacraments, the maintenance of Christian fellowship and discipline, the edification of believers and the conversion of the world. All of every age and station, stand in need of the means of grace which it alone supplies.” [italics added] (The United Methodist Book of Worship, 1992, page 106) These words are in keeping with the mission of The United Methodist Church, which “affirms that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and Lord of all.” And, “as we make disciples, we respect persons of all religious faiths and we defend religious freedom for all persons. . . . We embrace Jesus’ mandates to love God and to love our neighbor and to make disciples of all peoples.” [italics added] (The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2004, pp.87,88)

United Methodists, and other evangelical Christians, appear to want their “cake of superiority” and eat at the table of equality, too. How can one “respect persons of all religious faiths” and “love our neighbor” if the intent is to convert and “make disciples” of them? Such “respect” and “love” for “persons of all faiths” appear to be code words needed to rationalize the very opposite. Such evangelism reveals a subtle, inherent disrespect for “persons of all [other] religious faiths.” It represents another example of the obliviousness of an imperialistic faith to its own self-contradiction.

Evangelical Christianity is imperialistic. It presupposes that one’s religious belief is better than another’s. That one’s faith is superior and another’s inferior. That one’s religion is true and another’s false. Here there is not respect but religiously code-worded disrespect and inequality, with ingrained paternalism and arrogance that assume, “My faith is best for you.” Here another’s reality is unconsciously interpreted rather than consciously experienced. Here there is the negating of another’s identity and inherent worth and right to believe as he or she chooses and to be who she or he is.

Faith-based imperialism encourages obliviousness to the rights and well-being of people of other religions. It is believed to restrict an evangelical Christian’s capacity to identify with and perceive the reality of people of differing beliefs. It discourages walking in the shoes of different believers or non-believers. It violates the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31) It sets limits on empathy for and caring about what happens to persons beyond one’s own “true believers.” Where there is caring, it is often with proselytizing strings attached. It encourages an ethnocentric, “our kind” only interpretation of Jesus’ commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39) Faith-based imperialism puts people of other faiths out of mind and out of sight, which obliviousness is subtle and pervasive and has deadly consequences.

Here there are prayers by ministers and priests at various public gatherings that often end with, “In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”-as if only Christians were in attendance. Here there is an unsigned note placed on the altar of the interfaith chapel in a big metropolitan hospital: “A chapel without a cross? Is this what has happened to Christianity in our country? Sad” (underlined three times). Here there is President Bush’s United Methodist minister, Rev. Kirbyson Caldwell, ending his Benediction at Bush’s January 2001 Inauguration with, “We respectfully submit this humble prayer in the name that’s above all other names [italics added], Jesus, the Christ. Let all who agree say amen.” Here there is evangelical Christian-professing Bush himself justifying a criminal war against Iraq with, “Freedom is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to every man and woman in the world.” (“Acceptance Speech to Republican Convention Delegates,” The New York Times, Sept. 3, 2004) A “gift” wrapped in “shock and awe” bombs and brutal occupation. And here Bush’s faith-based initiatives also serve to numb Christian consciences and buy support for a criminal war.

Christians, whose faith-based imperialism prevents them from being aware of the Jews and Muslims in their midst, are far more likely to be oblivious to the Jews and Muslims being oppressed around them-or beyond them by their government in their name. Thus can an unchallenged self-professing evangelical Christian President Bush say at a news conference, “I pray daily. I pray for guidance and wisdom and strength. . . . I pray for peace. I pray for peace.” (The New York Times, Mar. 7, 2003) And two weeks later unleash 21,000 pound “shock and awe” bombs on the people of Iraq-a war of choice planned by his administration long before the horrific 9/11/2001 attack against America which then served as a pretext for his criminal war.

The faith-based imperialism of many Christians apparently prevents them from perceiving the fear-mongering lies on which this “Jesus changed my heart”-president based his administration’s unnecessary war. Belief in a superior faith and country may be preventing them from imagining and feeling the overwhelming death and destruction this falsely-based war is causing.

The facts should be shockingly clear by now. Saddam Hussein did not possess imminent “mushroom-cloud”-threatening weapons of mass destruction nor ties to the terrible 9/11/2001 attack against America. The person practicing a “game of deception” regarding weapons of mass destruction was not Hussein, as President Bush repeatedly charged, but Bush himself. War crimes against humanity, disguised as “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” are being committed: hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children dead; the country’s life-sustaining infrastructure devastated; some four million civilians forced to become refugees inside and outside their country; a deadly massive civil war raging, triggered by the US-led invasion and occupation; and thus far over 3400 American soldiers killed and tens of thousands wounded in body and mind, along with the terrible waste of our nation’s resources.

The faith-based imperialism of Christians is assumed to well serve the Bush administration. A Christian evangelical-professing President Bush can attend an Easter service, where he again “prayed for peace at an Army post that has sent thousands of soldiers to Iraq.” (“Prayer for Peace,” The Boston Globe, Apr. 9, 2007) A public Easter “prayer for peace” for the ears of his god or for the eyes of Christians? The contradiction between his “prayer for peace” and his insistence that Congress continue to fund his war, with no timetable for withdrawal of troops attached, appears to still fall on many imperialistically conditioned minds and hearts.

The obliviousness of faith-based imperialism to its own self-contradiction was on display in President and Mrs. Bush’s visit to Virginia Tech, after the shocking killing of thirty-one students and a professor by another student who then killed himself. A tragic heart-rending massacre in Virginia, leading to memorial scrvices throughout America. People readily identified with the victims and wept with their families, as did Bush and his wife, who hugged and shed tears with families and students. And Bush was quoted as saying, “Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate. . . . They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they’re gone,” he continued, “and they leave behind grieving families, and grieving classmates, and a grieving nation.” (“Bush offers condolences at Virginia Tech,” Forbes.com, Apr. 17, 2007) Reported also was “first lady Laura Bush [who] said she met with two families that had lost their only child.” She was then quoted, ” ‘ The idea of that for any parent [italics added] is so devastating that it’s hard for us to imagine what they are going through,’ she told CBS News.” (Ibid)

It is evidently “hard” for many Christians with an imperialistic mind-set to “imagine . . . any parent” in Iraq, never mind “what they are going through” in our name.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi mothers and fathers and sons and daughters “leaving behind grieving families, and grieving classmates, and a grieving nation.”-because of Bush himself and his neo-conservative advisors. All one had to do was read the headlines before and after the horrible killings at Virginia Tech: “Dozens killed in violence across Iraq” ( The Boston Globe, April 11, 2007); “85 people found dead across Iraq,” (The Boston Globe, Apr. 18, 2007); “Bombs Rip Through Baghdad in Wave of Attacks, Killing 171,” (The New York Times, Apr. 19, 2007); “Suicide car bomb kills 9 US soldiers,” (The Boston Globe, Apr. 24, 2007); “Dozens killed in bomb attack in Shiite Shrine,” (The New York Times, Apr. 29, 2007). Tragically, faith-based imperialism fails to make the connection between Blacksburg and Baghdad. “Those who lives were taken, did nothing to deserve their fate.” “The idea of that for any parent is so devastating that it’s hard for us to imagine.”

The failure of faith-based imperialism to recognize its own self-contradiction is especially seen in another response of President Bush to the horrible killings at Virginia Tech. When asked what lesson might be drawn from it, he responded, ” ‘Make sure when you see somebody, know somebody exhibiting abnormal behavior,’ do something about it.” (“Bush seeks war support in small Ohio town,” Los Angeles Times, Apr. 19, 2007).

When you see somebody . . . exhibiting abnormal behavior?” The person “exhibiting” the most dangerous “abnormal behavior” is President Bush himself:

Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of mass deaths and destruction. Facing the evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof-and the smoking gun that would come in the form of a ‘mushroom cloud.’ (“President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat,” Cincinnati Ohio, The White House, Oct. 7, 2002);

I pray daily, I pray for wisdom and guidance and strength. . . . I pray for peace. I pray for peace. (The New York Times, Mar. 7, 2003);

Tomorrow is a moment of truth [italics added] for the world. (“President Bush: March ‘Moment of Truth’ for World in Iraq,” The White House, Mar. 17, 2003);

I pray for peace. I pray for peace.

Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. . . . Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision, and speed, and boldness the world has never seen before. . . . You have shown the world the skill and the might of the American Armed Forces. This nation thanks all of the members of our coalition who joined in a noble cause. (“Test of Bush Speech: President declares end to major combat in Iraq,” CBS NEWS, May 1, 2003) “Mission accomplished.”

I pray daily . . . for wisdom and guidance and strength. . . . I pray for peace.

There are some that feel like if they attack us that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don’t understand what they are talking about if that is the case. Let me finish. There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring ’em on.’ (“Bush warns militants who attack U.S. troops in Iraq,” by Sean Loughlin, CNN.com/inside politics, July 3, 2003)

I pray daily. . . . I pray for peace. I pray for peace.

I’m a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind. . . . I see dangers that exist and its important for us to deal with them. (“Bush sets case as ‘war president,'” BBC NEWS, Feb. 8, 2004)

I pray for peace. I pray for peace.

Islamic fascists. Evil doers. All they can think about is evil. Flat evil. Killers. Murderers of women and children. Terrorists. Lenin and Hitler [types]. [A never-ending] global war on terrorism. They want to create a unified totalitarian Islamic state and destroy the free world. A struggle for civilization. The war on terror . . . is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st Century and the calling of our generation.

 

I pray for peace. I pray for peace.

Four years after this war began, the fight is difficult, but it can be won. . . . It will be won if we have the courage and resolve to see it through. . . . Congress can do its part by passing the war-spending bill without strings [a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq] and without delay. (“Bush Pleads for Patience in Iraq on War’s Anniversary,” by David Stout, The New York Times, Mar. 19, 2007)

I pray for peace. I pray for peace.

The faith-based imperialism of many Christians is believed to have enabled and accommodated the “I pray for peace” psychopathic insanity of the most dangerous man on the face of the earth. The “I pray for wisdom and guidance and strength” evangelical Christian President who uses “God” and “freedom” and bended knee to murder and maim and displace millions of children of “any parent” in Iraq, who “were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.” The pious President who brings not the biblical “oil of gladness” to Iraq but who seeks to oil America’s military-industrial-complex there and to control the oil under its ground. The “war president” whose intent is not to liberate but occupy Iraq and use its land as a military base for his administration’s aim to dominate “the darkest corners of our [Muslim] world . . . [with] this untamed fire of freedom.” (“Transcript of President Bush’s Inaugural Address,” (The New York Times, Jan. 21, 2005)

Many Christians have allowed President Bush to get away with mass murder. Their faith-based imperialism is short-sighted and narrow-minded: it apparently cannot see or feel beyond its own kind-unless there are evangelistic strings attached.

Faith-based imperialism is self-deceptive because it is unreflective. An insecure person’s overriding need for authority and certainty can lead him or her to give up the inalienable right to think for herself or himself. Here Adam and Eve’s eating of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” is interpreted as evil rather than as good. Their “sin” was opening their “eyes” and knowing the difference between good and evil. Here obedience is the cardinal virtue and critical thinking for oneself the cardinal sin. Here religion is about authority not authenticity. Here is where a deluded political or religious leader gets much of his and her power. Here one is told which neighbor to love and which to hate. Here the Jesus of history is kept in the shadows of a resurrected Christ. Here salvation is re-interpreted as an individual matter apart from institutionalized political and economic realities that greatly determine who, in the gospel words of Jesus, may actually “have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Faith-based imperialism does violence to the reality of oppressed people-Jewish and Muslim-and obscures what Jesus was really about. He was not about dying for the sins of the world so that believers everywhere could inherit eternal life, but about setting at liberty the oppressed Jews in his country from Roman occupation. (Luke 4:18) The great conspiracy of the early Christian Church was turning Jesus’ model of liberation from an oppressive state into one of accommodation to the state. Why? It is safer today, as in the past, to believe that Jesus died for the sins of the world than to join in seeking, as he did, to rid the world of political, corporate and military sins that deny other people their birthright of freedom and fulfillment to be who they are. It is safer to worship a

liberator than to follow in his liberation footsteps. Tellingly, the imperialistic command of a resurrected Christ to his disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” was a Christological formulation of the early Christian Church created long after Jesus and his disciples lived.

The early Christians apparently stood history on its head in order to put a resurrected Jesus on his feet-and give him legs and wings. They transported him from a political to a theological realm in order to survive, evangelize and flourish in the Roman world. (See Alberts, “Decoding the Coders of Christ,” Counterpunch, June 14, 2006)

Religion is doing what the prophets worshiped not worshiping what they did. Jesus was recorded as emphasizing an often overlooked way to eternal life: by behavior, not be belief. When a lawyer tested him by asking, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered that the greatest commandments were the way: love of one’s god and one’s neighbor as oneself. “Do this [italics added] he said, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25-28)

Jesus did not say which neighbor to love. Nor specify the neighbor’s race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation. Which evidently led the lawyer to test Jesus further by asking, “And who is my neighbor?” And Jesus said any person robbed of life and in need of a Good Samaritan. And there were no proselytizing strings attached. (Ibid, 10:29-37) Jesus is quoted as saying, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) He warned about “hypocrites [who] love to stand and pray . . . so that they may be seen by others.” (Matthew 6:5) “Hypocrites,” in our day, who publicly “pray for peace” and really have the power to make peace but use it to make war. “Hypocrites” whose deception is based on their belief that Americans are in awe of authority and stupid.

The Bible says Jesus transcended faith-based imperialism with, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies . . . so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun shine on the evil and the good, and send his rain on the just and on the unjust.” And his anti-imperialistic bottom line: “If you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing then others? [italics added] (Matthew 5:43-47)

Many Christians do more than love only those who love them. The Jesus of history has inspired people of faith to cross sectarian, nationalistic, and racial borders and embrace people everywhere as sisters and brothers. Such Christians believe that their god’s steeple is the aspirations of all people. His alter the common ground on which everyone walks. And Jesus’ cross the oppression from which any individual or group is seeking to liberate himself or herself or itself. They are “peacemakers,” and oppose our country’s criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq. They sing another hymn: “O young and fearless Prophet of ancient Galilee, thy life is still a summons to serve humanity; to make our thoughts and actions less prone to please the crowd, to stand with humble courage for truth with hearts uncowed.” (“O Young and Fearless Prophet,” words by S. Ralph Harlow; Music by John B Dykes) Hymnal of The United Methodist Church, 1989, p.444) These Christians have moved beyond faith-based imperialism to faith-based “humanity.” And more movement by people of faith is especially needed now.

Just as state and local governments are passing resolutions calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney, people of faith should censure them in their own local, regional and general bodies. And The United Methodist Church should be out in front of such a movement as Bush and Cheney are Methodists. People of faith should also urge Congress to impeach them for their war crimes and to really “support the troops” by ending this criminal war now and bringing them home to their loved ones and communities. Religion is about “knowing good and evil” and being “peacemakers.”

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. This article is being presented as an address on May 27, 2007 at The Community Church of Boston where Rev. Alberts was minister from 1978 to 1991. He can be reached at william.alberts @bmc.org.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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