Saturday, March 10, 2007

"Anti-Imperial" Spirituality by Jon Sobrino, S.J.

Here's an excerpt from the Sobrino article that Michael links to at the end of his post:

"Anti-Imperial" Spirituality by Jon Sobrino, S.J.


Empire and imperialism seemed like dead terms. But reality has awakened them to life again. In describing the subjugation of most people of this world, we cannot only speak today of capitalism and oppression. The North and multinationals, especially the US, have a grip on the majority of people that was unknown in the past. They are a holy empire.

With their immense power and will to victory, they force their will on the whole planet, in all areas of reality and with all means: with an economy that ignores the "oikos" (the well-being of the house), with the armament industry, with barbarically unjust trade through manipulated untrue information, through wars and terrorism with the appearance of legality, through ruthless barbarism, through contempt and contestation of international law, through violation of human rights when it seems necessary and through destruction of nature. In the long term, that individualism and success constitute the nature of the person and that irresponsible enjoyment of one's life can occur without reflecting on the consequences (so that an athlete, singer or film actor has nearly as much income as the budget of a state of the sub-Sahara) is very terrible.

All this frightens and alarms but the empire proclaims this is good for the world. It is Good News, eu-angelion, that the end of history has come, the eschaton, the global village, God's reign. The contemporary person is glad to live in this world. The empire has the divine mission of securing and expanding this world. Although people do not speak of theocracy, the empire can be described with religious categories. Like a divine being, the empire claims ultimate and exclusive importance. The power constellation does not represent a danger that destroys the weak but expresses the divine will taking effect all over the world. Like a divine being, the empire offers redemption, its supreme form of prosperity. It allows no discussion and no one can stop it. Absolute faith, a cult and above all - like Moloch - sacrifice are demanded. What is left for the poor of this world? Only the crumbs of Lazarus.

The shamefulness and impudence of the empire are horrifying. How should we act? Pedro Casaldaliga's answer is: "We oppose the liberating policy of God's reign to the oppressive policy of every empire!"

Others will outline the concrete content, theory and praxis of this liberating policy. We will concentrate here on "anti-imperial spirituality," the climate, impulse and spirit through which people can be moved to resist the empire and transform it into a realm of brotherliness and sisterliness. [click the title of this post for full article]

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