The March 23rd issue of Commonweal Magazine was intellectually stimulating on several subjects. Most were disturbing. Here are some brief summaries of several that I thought worth reflecting on
The editoral comment was about America's wars. It pointed out that “the United States has been at war for more than a decade. Thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Afghans, and others have been killed. Tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians have been maimed or crippled. Trillions of dollars have been spent on these wars, and billions more on rebuilding Iraq and Afghan society and trying to establish some form of democratic government.” But, the comment observes, in spite of this massive overkill the effort to bend our adversaries to our will through military force or massive funding support has not worked. Yet the insanity of maintaining these military efforts continues. it's difficult for me to understand why. Ron Paul may have some strange ideas, but he is dead right on the issue of our military actions around the world.
In an article by John Garvey, which he subtitles “We are complicit,” he says: “every Christian who votes and pays taxes has already agreed to pay for our wars, for the deaths of small children caused by our drones, for the continuation of the injustice of Guantanamo , for the “rendition of suspected terrorists” to countries where they are tortured, sometimes to death, and – depending on what state you live in – for the salary of the person who will kill someone condemned to death. With the exception of Ron Paul, every Republican candidate has defended the use of torture, as did the Bush administration.” Garvey notes that not one Catholic bishop or cardinal has protested any of this. He says all the talk about religious liberty and contraception funding “amounts to drawing a little line in the sand – about 6 inches long – as we stand with their backs to a sea full of blood.” Garvey says “The general silence of religious people about serious moral matters in which we are implicated as citizens is impressive, and in an entirely negative way…The narrowing of morality to matters involving sexuality, while we overlook such issues as torture, our shameful incarceration rate (America has more people under correctional supervision than Stalin had in his gulags) and the deaths of innocent people in wars no one seriously believes we can win – is truly obscene. People who worry about same-sex unions and contraception seem to sleep easily with the thought of torture and the imprisonment of millions. This is really straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel, and it is easy to see why so many people find it hard to take what passes for religion seriously.” I agree with Garvey. I have repeatedly complained about church leaders who unrelentlngly obsess about sexual morality while virtually ignoring morality issues involving war, capital punishment and poverty. The all male Catholic leadership seem to live on another planet than the rest of Americans in too many areas of our lives and with myoptic views of morality issues.
Richard W Miller wrote an article “Why don't we take climate change seriously?” Miller says that 2010 was the warmest year on record. He notes that “Nashville Tennessee experienced massive flooding that killed more than 20 people and caused widespread damage. That same year, northwestern Pakistan received 16.5 feet of rain over a five-day period. The resulting floods killed 1600 people, leaving 16 million homeless and destroying 6,000,000 acres of crops. In December 2010, Australia experienced unprecedented flooding that covered an area the size of Germany in France, combined. While some of Africa's wheat crop was being battered by excessive rain, Russia (the world's third-largest wheat exporter) lost 40% of its wheat harvest to July temperatures 14°F above the norm. That heat wave, according to the Earth policy Institute, led to the death of 56,000 people and to $300 billion in damage from forest fires. In the fall of 2010 China's Shangdong province experienced its worst drought in 200 years. Because of the long life of CO2 unless we immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% globally – that is, down to the level at which land vegetation and the oceans remove these gases from the atmosphere – we can expect more extreme climate impacts for at least the next 1000 years.” it's hard for me to believe that there are intelligent people who still insist there is no abnormal climate change or that climate change is not primarily from human conduct. Not even the United States is willing to sign any treaty or take any real steps to combat this global threat. it's our children and grandchildren who will pay the price for our failure to remedy this threat.