Tuesday, February 11, 2003

The Whitened Sepulchers
In George Bush's War House

If Jesus Christ had to bear the misfortune of launching his "Second Coming" ministry in the year of our Emperor, George Tiberius Bush, how would he fare? Sadly, he would discover: the more things change; the more they stay the same.

There's little doubt his name would have been omitted from the Emperor's Inaugural Ball list. In fact, there's every reason to believe he would have been beaten and arrested with the other protesters who were denied access to the presidential parade route.

Jesus Christ would begin his ministry among the exploding millions of hopeless Americans. He'd spend every waking moment in soup kitchens feeding the hungry; at family shelters housing the homeless and visiting AIDS hostels healing the sick. As he fulfilled his calling, he'd spread his gospel of redemption to the abandoned and betrayed in our runaway nation.

News of Jesus Christ's radiant personality, inspired oratory, compelling journalism and healing hands would spread like wild fire. Dozens of peace and progressive movements would beg him to speak at their rallies or join their little band of rebel writers. He would respectfully decline their invitations to spend more time doing the "hands on" healing work of his ministry. Unfortunately, Christ's growing reputation wouldn't go unnoticed by the Emperor's Royal Guard.

Jesus Christ would understand the urgent need to respond to our Emperor's frantic drum beats for world war. His speaking engagements would multiply overnight. He would be among the featured guests at the Washington rallies against another Iraq war. By this time, the Emperor's Royal Guard, known as the Homeland Security department, would've compiled a giant file of Christ's profile, movements, speeches, e-mails, phone calls and articles, replete with photos and videotape. Further, the Emperor would secretly sanction an expansion of the "Ten Most Wanted List" to include Jesus and all twelve of his apostles.

As Tiberius Bush glad-handed supporters after his grim State of the Union address, Jesus would burst through the crowd and stand defiantly before the Emperor. He would shake his forefinger at George Bush and condemn the president in an awesomely thunderous voice. He would accuse the Emperor and congress of being whitened sepulchers for endorsing crimes against humanity. In his brief TV exposure, Jesus Christ would've had enough time to express humanity's outrage at American imperial policies. He would declare: "The world wants peace now and no more war! You, George Bush, and the spineless rabble in congress and the Supreme Court are not worthy of the offices you hold!" At that moment, Jesus would pull a makeshift whip from his pocket and begin beating the Emperor. Instantly, the smugly contented crowd would flee for their lives into the congressional hall, running over their fellow legates. Jesus would chastise dozens of lawmakers in the chamber, sparing no one. The plug would be pulled on the TV broadcast just as federal security fell upon the whip wielding prophet.

Jesus Christ would be whisked away to an offshore detention center to avoid the long arm of US constitutional law. There he would be relentlessly interrogated. When it became evident no information was forthcoming, Jesus would be handed over to torturers from our Middle Eastern "allies," specially flown in for this purpose. After several days of savage abuse and no answers, Jesus would be dragged before a military tribunal at midnight.

In a cold and dimly lit room, Jesus would be forced to stand and listen to the litany of charges against him. It would take several hours before the prosecutor's dull monotone ended. The head magistrate on the three judge panel (hidden behind a black curtain) would inform Jesus many of the charges carried the death penalty. The head judge would state Christ's insurrectionist activities forced the court to declare him an "enemy combatant." Jesus would respond: "It is you who say that I am." After a brief consultation with the other judges, the head magistrate would slowly stand up and declare the verdict: "It's the determination of this court the defendant is an enemy combatant and a grievous threat to the sovereign security of the United States of America. Based on the facts presented before the court in this trial, we find the accused guilty on all charges and thereby sentence the defendant, as prescribed by law, to be hanged by the neck until he is dead." With these words, the judges would swiftly escape through a rear door as the military police hustled Jesus to the barracks to await his dawn execution.

Barely a word would appear in major media about the televised riot following the Emperor's address to the nation. Only a few obscure papers would make it a front page story. Every copy of the lone publication which featured a small picture of the incident would be quietly confiscated. That paper would later remark it was under IRS investigation. The Emperor's War House would offer no explanation as to what happened to Jesus Christ and his twelve apostles.

There would be mounting outrage in the nation following these traumatic events. The Emperor would schedule a short address to the nation in an apparent attempt to calm the unease. Tiberius Bush would use the opportunity instead to rant against the rise of enemy combatants in the US. He would strongly assert his "court" was doing everything possible to bring these criminals to justice. And, due to the SOFA incident, the Emperor would assert it was vital to strengthen the Patriot Act further and invoke martial law indefinitely. No mention would be made of Christ's execution or the fate of his apostles.

If Jesus Christ were alive today he would face the same cruelty as two millennia ago. Indeed, the more people struggle for change, the more vicious vandals like George Bush fight to ensure conditions remain the same. Humanity stands at an unprecedented crossroad. The battle line has been drawn between those who support endless war and those who prefer to build endless peace. We don't need another hero. For the first time in history, we have the Information Age tools to defeat the dogs of endless war and guarantee universal peace.

George W. Bush will be the last American Emperor. Today's worldwide peace movement is resistant to the "divide and conquer" tactics boiled up in Bush's War House basement. His whitened sepulchers of death and destruction will be defeated by the dynamic, liberating effect of informed opinion.

Francis Fukuyama was prophetic in his 1992 landmark essay: "The End Of History." However, he came to an incorrect conclusion. When the cold war expired of its own futility, we didn't witness the end of history. It was the end of state sponsored secrecy and propaganda and the beginning of open access to information. With the rise of the Internet, no nation has absolute control over the news. The fear of external enemies is harder to sustain when people have universal access to the truth about the lies. Demonization is no longer enough to convince the public our problems are caused by someone other than ourselves.

Throughout the ages, great leaders are legion on the long march toward global peace and justice. Many are known only to those who had the good fortune to benefit directly from their service to humanity. Among the saintly servants, no life shone brighter than that of Jesus Christ. Despite this fact, his hard work and sacrifice have fallen victim to the greatest misinterpretation in human history.

Jesus Christ did NOT come into this world to die for the sins of mankind. Our sins are our personal responsibility. Like all prophets, Jesus Christ redeemed weary souls through the example he set in his life, not his death. Simply put, he came into this world to show us "The Way" to redemption through leadership and a well lived life.

When we focus on a prophet's passing, we brainwash ourselves into believing the only way to save souls is through death. Since no one wants to die, salvation is left to the few with the "superhuman" courage to confront tyranny. Of course, this is the convenient excuse tyrants used for centuries to murder the prophets who tend to disturb the status quo. Tyrants absolved themselves of their deadly deeds by proclaiming the martyrs "were somehow asking for martyrdom" or bleating the officials were only "doing their jobs" and "following the law."

When we demystify the lives of the prophets and live according to their teachings, we begin to understand there's nothing superhuman about standing up for truth and justice. We ultimately discover the most important reasons for existence are to walk humbly with God and make ourselves worthy enough to be of value to others. If we committed ourselves to these simple principles for life, love and happiness, no army on Earth would have the power to defeat us. Let's remember Jesus Christ and the prophets brought salvation to the world through service to humanity. We're all born to be prophets and peacemakers. The saints would thank us when we finally get this message. And God would be happy to shutter the prophet foundry in order to work on other divine business.

Franklin L. Johnson


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