Category Archives: Evil

Justice and Sustainability

An attorney friend not long ago asked me, “What is justice?”

Good question.

I had no answer for him, but the very next day, while doing research for a theology class, I read the answer. It came from Matthew Fox’s book A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality and the Transformation of Christianity. In it, he says: “Sustainability is another word for justice, for what is just is sustainable and what is unjust is not.” The flavor of that phrase resonates with me as truth.

Today, of course, I’m thinking about the heart-wrenching oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. But I’m also thinking about poverty and social inequities. I’m thinking of the poor people in Haiti without shelter during the hurricane season as the Goldman Sachs people defend their million-dollar bonuses.

I’m thinking about Capitalism and how it is neither sustainable nor just, and wondering what will replace it. I’m thinking about our energy, taxation, health care policies all of which are neither sustainable nor just, and wondering what will replace them. In fact, what policies do we have in place that are sustainable and therefore just?

Few, if any.

Even the way we elect our officials is unsustainable and therefore unjust, but to ask them to effect real change in the electoral system is like asking a knife to cut its own handle. Therefore, it’s up to us.

This is the task that lies ahead for all of us–personally and individually–and as an election approaches, these are the questions we should be asking the candidates. Ask them to define sustainability. Ask them to define justice. Challenge every decision they make on our behalf to consider, as the Iroquois Nation does, the effects of their policies seven generations hence.

 In 1887, Lord Acton said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This has always been true, but these days it can no longer be hidden. Now that it has been exposed, let us hold our elected officials to a higher standard. 

Let’s not let them get away with any of this any longer. Our lives depend upon it.

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Filed under Evil, politics, Possibilities, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

The Power of the Word

I am a writer. The job of a writer is to use the limited universe of word symbols correctly — to employ the word symbols that most precisely depict what I mean to say, and put those word symbols in the correct order so that I can be as accurate in my communication as possible. Communication is about taking what’s in my head or heart and conveying that to you as completely as I am able.

When people consciously and with considered aforethought choose the wrong words to mislead, misdirect and confuse, we call that spin. We don’t like it when politicians spin, and we don’t like it when news analysts spin. Spin is an affront to me, and it should be an affront to you, too. We should demand accuracy from our politicians, who are our employees. We have a right to know the truth, and the whole truth.

I’ve already taken space on this blog to rant about the Pro Life movement, which is really an anti-abortion movement. You cannot be Pro Life if you are pro war, or pro killing anything–even wolves, as we encroach upon their habitat. There’s nothing wrong with being anti-abortion, but let’s not spin it. Pro Life and Anti-Abortion are two completely separate things.

My current heart sickness is over “Childhood Sexual Abuse” by the Catholic priests. Heartsick doesn’t begin to convey the soul sadness and overwhelming empathy for the victims that I feel. Anger and fury don’t begin to describe how I feel about this wretched practice and its decades-long cover up. But here’s what really fries me. The term “Childhood Sexual Abuse” indicates that there is something that is acceptable called “Childhood Sexual Use.” Well, I don’t think so.

Two words that are overused and under-defined are “abuse” and “molestation.” I don’t know what either of those words mean, and neither do you.

I think that this situation would have been handled differently, and could still be handled differently, if every one were as outraged as they ought to be. Did that pedophile monster rape and sodomize two hundred little deaf boys? If so, let’s say it out loud. “Hey! A pedophile monster dressed as a man of God parlayed his power into raping and sodomizing two hundred little deaf boys who thought he was their God.” Put that on the news. To my mind, that goes a lot further than “Some priests committed childhood sexual abuse.”

I’m so angry about this I could spit.

I know that my previous post was about anger and fear. So here I am, angry. Furious. What do I fear?

I am afraid that our journalists have decided to stop reporting the truth and are allowing themselves to use inferior words to soften the harsh realities of powerful men brutalizing innocents. They are spinning, and it is a dangerous precedent.

I am afraid that softening the blow of these awful word symbols will keep the masses from mobilizing into insisting that every single person who knew about this heinous practice be removed from power and severely punished. Now! Right now! 

I am afraid that people will turn away from God as the result of the despicable, corrupt organization that has fostered this cancerous code of secrecy.

And that would be the worst tragedy of all.

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Filed under Evil, Social Consciousness, Spirituality, Truth, Writing

Anger and Resentment

I’m learning a lot about anger and resentment at Serenity Lane.

Holding a resentment, I heard, is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. So true. Resentment and anger is spirit poison, and the person toward whom we hold the resentment can be going on about their life, blissfully ignorant of the evil intentions we brew in our hearts. Who does that hurt?

I learned long ago that all resentment and anger stems from one thing: fear.

And fear can only be one of two things: fear of losing something we have or fear of not getting something we want.

I don’t have any control over either of those things. What I get to keep and what I get to lose isn’t really up to me. I only have control over my attitude about it all.

So the old way of dealing with resentment and anger was either to engage and escalate, or to walk away and seethe. But now I know there is a third way. One can take a pause, discover how we’re threatened, and realize that it’s nothing to be afraid of.

Could this really be the key to world peace? First, we’re peaceful within our selves, then our families, then our communities, then our country, then our world?

It all begins with me. Today.

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Filed under Evil, Learning, peace, Resentment, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

Is Evil a Treatable Disease?

Yesterday, I took a friend to her cancer treatment. I sat in the waiting room, reading, while she endured a painful and humiliating event. When she emerged, she was tearful and trembling.

As I waited, I read an ancillary textbook for my next class. In the book was an excerpt from M. Scott Peck’s book, People of the Lie. In it, he postulates that evil is a disease, much like alcoholism. People who engage in both evil and alcoholism are participants, he says. Whether they are willing participants or not is the point of the matter.

As an alcoholic who has been clean and sober for many years, I can say that my participation in drinking was the result of a physical craving that was so severe that I would do anything, anything, to satisfy that craving, at the expense of all that was dear. Was I a willing participant? Yes, in a manner of speaking. We all have a need to feel like we’re the good guys, doing the good thing, even when we’re committing heinous acts. I, having no control over my drinking, embraced it as the cool thing to do. Until the time came when I could no longer do so, and shame took over. The only thing that keeps my alcoholism at bay today is a program of spiritual living.

But evil… now that’s a completely different thing. Isn’t it?

The Urantia Book defines evil as “a partial realization of, or maladjustment to, universe realities.” It goes on to say: “And of all forms of evil, none are more destructive of personality status than betrayal of trust and disloyalty to one’s confiding friends.” It is a “deficiency of wisdom.”

And so it would seem that evil is within our control, until we turn that corner and discover that we cannot stop. There was a moment at which I could not stop drinking. Does there come a moment when we cannot curtail our destructive (evil) actions?

Is evil addictive?

And if it is, will a program of spiritual living cure it, or halt its progression? Keep it in remission?

But what about my friend who emerged from the treatment room in the cancer center, shaken and traumatized by the error visited upon her body?

Evil may be an action; it may or may not be a willful action. But the darkness that we call cancer is certainly born of evil–a maladjustment to universe realities.

The treatment isn’t pretty, no matter what the circumstances. Today, cancer is a treatable disease, and my friend will endure whatever discomfort it takes to eradicate the darkness from her body, along with millions of others, recovering from cancer, recovering from alcoholism.

I hope that some day, other manifestations of evil will be similarly treated and eradicated.

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Filed under Cancer, Evil, Friends