The peace sign is not really an upside-down cross, as some religious leaders claim. They refer to an unrelated pre-Christian Celtic fortune-telling stone with a chicken foot on it. To insist that the universal symbol for non-violence is an evil thing, suggests an incomplete grasp of what Jesus was saying. The real things he taught are sometimes discussed more in workplace lunchrooms, and in homeless hovels, than in some churches. With massive blocks of dependable votes, the Right supports unfair economic policies that are against what Jesus taught.
Most Republican voters think they’re doing the right thing, voting to save the unborn or preserve the family. Powerful business interests are more than happy to use their votes to enact unjust policies all over the world, which most of these voters would never agree to if they knew more about them. These same business interests also control the media, where the constant portrayal of the violent and the weird puts distrust and fear into every human contact in our lives. This makes it hard for us “liberals” and “conservatives” to stand together and fix our problems.
Some religious leaders, in their eagerness to prove that the Bible is infallible, don’t seem to see the harm and human suffering caused by business policies their Republican support unleashes. Corporate de-industrialization, globalization, privatization, and deforestation, are not on their list of sins people should watch out for. The infallible notion that man has dominion over the earth comes in handy for profit-minded polluters, war makers and destroyers. Paul’s teaching that mankind is cursed, John’s that the Earth will be destroyed anyway, and Peter’s advice to “obey every ordinance of man,” don’t help.
The amazing thing is that Jesus’ beautiful words about love and the high possibilities of man have been preserved, and have somehow survived the ravages of theologians. Like a suitcase containing treasure, buried inside a house with packrat conditions, Jesus’ gift of truth and light is still there for us to use to heal our country and our world.
If legislative and business leaders used the Golden Rule to make decisions about how we live, then mankind could be free at last from economic oppression and exploitation. “Peace on Earth and goodwill to men” could be more than a Christmas carol about some other time and place. The rich and powerful could also be the heroes that help bring change, because many of them also “hunger and thirst after righteousness.”
The Way of Peace taught by the Prince of Peace might be the only avenue to reconcile the brotherhood of man, to prevent the machines man has made with his “dominion” from destroying every living thing. The belief in infallible prophecies of doom is a deadly and dangerous thing. Think of the voting power decent people might be able to generate, if they stop half-believing they and others are cursed sinners!