I'm not the only person to note that if Jesus ever actually showed up in America it would be our "Christians" who would shout him down -- if, that is, he talked about peace and the horror of an imperial nation addicted to war. "Blessed are the peacemakers"? No thanks!
If you ever want to know what it looks like when a mob in love with far right nationalism and on fire with a lust for war, violence and empire is "answering" a reasoned appeal for Truth, Peace, Love and Tolerance there is a stunning visual document on YouTube you need to see. And it has become more relevant -- and historically important -- with time because the prophecy in it all came true.
In 2003 Chris Hedges the Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent and New York Times reporter gave a commencement address at Rockford College. He questioned America's war in Iraq and laid out a moving call to find love and camaraderie in peace not war. He was booed off the stage in this "liberal" arts college. His mike was cut twice and later police had to escort him off campus.
His boss-- The New York Times -- reprimanded Hedges for standing up for peace because they had sold out and backed the war. He was more or less fired, though officially he resigned because he would not agree to shut up.
America -- the new Rome, this fading empire -- has no room for truth tellers in the "mainstream." Believe me when I say that when this country slides into corporate sponsored decline that this historic YouTube video of Hedges being verbally lynched by an American mob will be studied as a portent of a grim future by those who someday will ask: "What happened to American democracy?" (Check out Hedges' new book Death of the Liberal Class if you want to understand the failure of liberal institutions to protect the truth.)
The video is in 4 parts and through the "boos" (poor visual quality) and near riot it is worth listening to every word Hedges speaks. First, this was a pivotal, little noticed moment in American history symbolic of the move of the vast middle to accept a permanent culture of war as "normal." Second, Chris Hedges' voice is prophetic. This was 2003! He spoke when few did. He was proved right down to the last detail of what then actually happened in Iraq.
Lastly, this video is what it must look like when a prophet is about to be killed. No one killed Hedges but it sure sounded like some people there wanted to silence him any way they could.
(And no, I'm not comparing Hedges to Jesus (!), just saying that here we have a classic example of what the message of Love and Redemption is up against in America, now more than ever. And by the way, my son served as a Marine in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm not "anti-military." I am anti imperial quests. As Hedges says, war is poison.
Here are the links to all 4 parts. Take 20 minutes and watch. This is our future: The American right wing mob turning on any truth speakers.
Watch, think, pray for America and fight to roll back a future we don't want: A future controlled by corporate interests where the mob has been conditioned to confuse empire and war with patriotism.
Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back