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George, the Pope and the Sanctity of Human Life

The fall of Mazar-i-Sharif  in November 2001 resulted from the first major offensive of the Afghanistan War after American intervention. Photo shows U.S. Army Special Forces and U.S. Air Force Combat Controllers in "the first American cavalry charge of the 21st century" with General Dostum and his forces. (CC)

George and the Pope agree about the sanctity of human life. Both claim to be loyal to the teachings of Jesus. Sure, they’ve had their disagreements in the past. The Pope asked George to spare the life of Karla Faye Tucker, a convicted murderer who was, like George, born again. But her rebirth didn’t have the same pedigree as George’s and the then governor had to refuse the Pope. But he did say this was not Texas justice it was God’s. Hopefully that eased the Pope’s concerns about capital punishment in general. As George so often says in reference to people who don’t agree with him, “I’ll explain to him….” I’ll explain to them….” The implication of course is that they don’t get it and with the right amount of patience he will be able to delineate all the complexities that will shed light on what they are not grasping.

Will George explain Mazar-i-sharif? Will the Pope and George and Billy Graham Jr. stand in the middle of the blood-soaked fortress and proclaim the sanctity of human life? As the reports from foreign press come in, which contradicts earlier reports that the sight of a British journalist set off the “riot”, we are now learning that a CIA agent from Alabama was interrogating a group of Taliban prisoners. He apparently asked one prisoner, “What are you doing in Afghanistan?” A question that a more collected and less vulnerable person might have responded to by putting the question back to the interrogator. Instead the question itself, or the question in the context of other questions, or the face of the agent – or the tone – or just the entire angst of the moment lit the fuse. Clearly the situation was like a bomb that could have been defused or ignited. It seems as though the CIA agent, however unwittingly, ignited the bomb. What was he looking for? Information? A defector? Was he hoping that one of these desperate and defeated men would divulge the whereabouts of the mastermind of all our troubles – Osama? From the pictures it looked as of it was a shooting gallery. Human beings pulverized with overwhelming firepower. This is a war for civilization after all and when you’re fighting for civilization itself no firepower can be spared.

Stories and convoluted explanations will cover any hint of atrocity.

But getting back to the sanctity of human life – the prisoners of war in Mazer-i-sharif are now camera fodder for journalists. Was there sanctity to their lives? Did they have families? Will they be mourned anywhere? Or are they, as the apologists might claim, happy martyrs who got the death they wanted? But good Christians who believe in the sanctity of human life shouldn’t care how they wanted to die. Good Christians, as the two new celebrities who emerged from a Taliban prison looking as if they had been at a spa, will say, you must preserve human life. Human life is sacred.


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Even if the Pope and the president can’t quite get the absolute truth of that great Christian principle once they move outside a doctor’s office or a research laboratory, one hoped that these missionaries might have seized the opportunity to quote their personal savior as microphones and cameras were being leveled at them. Talk about missionary work. They were right there – they could have quoted Jesus safely at the White House or at CNN. No – they were just so grateful for all the prayers - for them. They forgot what propelled them to Afghanistan.

They brought pictures of Jesus and literature about him, but they skipped the tough, gut truth of Jesus, which could have been taught without mentioning his name in Afghanistan. They could have reminded born again George as he orchestrated his holy campaign against all things evil and they could have even used the name of their mutual savior. They, if the Pope and Billy Graham Jr. aren’t up to it, could have done the work of Jesus right there in the safe haven of a white Christian house. Christ said – “If you live by the sword you die by the sword.” He said, “Love your enemy.” He said, “Love even those who hate you.” He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” They could have asked the question, “What would Jesus do?” But they didn’t.

The man threatening the sanctity of human life, according to our two powerful Christian leaders, is that man doing that cloning in Massachusetts. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and cuddly Tommy Franks do not threaten the sanctity of human life. It’s good vs. evil. We will only kill evil human life and if neutral human life is lost in the process that will just have to be worth it. Of course Christ did teach redemption and forgiveness but he lived in a time that didn’t have weapons of mass destruction so those notions, sweet as they are, need to be streamlined and overhauled. And George and the Pope and Billy Graham Jr. are doing that and it’s a good thing for civilization. They and bible-reading John Ashcroft will keep all American lives safe as they bomb Afghanistan and shred civil liberties and impose secrecy. These are all good Christian principles because above all they want to keep us safe.

Our lives are sacred and valuable and if we keep praying and shopping, all will be well. The terrorists are getting killed at a respectable rate and that just makes the world and America safer and we have to thank God for that. And we will all pray that the rest of the world and the mad scientists in this country will respect human life because there is no greater value on the planet – except maybe safety. And the more evildoers we kill the safer we’ll be. And our smart bombs and our special op forces know the face of evil and they will kill appropriately because that is what Christ would want them to do. Kill only the appropriate people. Yes – that’s it. That’s the new message of Christ. Kill the people that need killing. And soon we will all live in peace. And all life will have sanctity.

Bill C. Davis

Bill C. Davis

Bill C. Davis is a playwright.  Archive of his Common Dreams' articles here. His personal website here.

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