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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prayer of the Military-Industrial Complex

(With apologies to St. Francis for the adaptation of his blessed prayer of peace)

This morning I read the news of the launch of 110 Tomahawk missiles to destroy key anti-aircraft defenses in Libya.  Not mentioned were the people living, working, and playing in the vicinity of those targets, nor the people whose misfortune was to be near missile strikes that hit something besides a military target.  Nor was their mention of the cost to taxpayers of 110 Tomahawk missiles, which themselves were only a downpayment on further escalating military spending.

A Tomahawk missile costs $756,000, a bargain by aircraft standards.  Of course, it is a single-use item.  Those 110 missiles cost a total of $83,160,000.  The first thought I had was that blowing up cruise missiles was another stimulus package targeted at the weapons industry.  The executives are counting their bonuses now and giving thanks to the god of war.

Then by a perverse turn of imagination, the words of St. Francis of Assisi came to my mind, and the play of parodied lyrics got underway.  It's not elegant, but here is what I wrote down.

Lord Mars, let me make instruments of destruction;
Where there is hatred, let me sow weapons;
Where there is injury, carnage;
Where there is error, annihilation;
Where there is doubt, true believers;
Where there is despair, electronics and explosives for suicide bombers;
Where there is darkness, fire and smoke;
And where there is sadness, weeping for Rachel's and Hagar's children.

O divine Mammon,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To have convictions, as to be convincing;
To be understood, as to incite fear;
To be loved, as to love money.

For it is selling that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we lay off workers;
And it is in their dying that we are borne to eternal profit.

Finally, let me tip my hat to Bruce Cockburn's "Call It Democracy," where he showed he saw the big picture:

Padded with power here they come--
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers,
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor,

Who rob life of its quality,
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps--
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom.

1 comment:

Vincent said...

will post and have posted your links in my fb in order to let my students learn from you.

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