The sixth book of the Bible is the Book of Joshua. It is horrifying. The book teaches that God wanted Joshua to exterminate the local people, the Philistines, who had lived there for centuries. Today we would call that genocide. Do you believe God would demand genocide? It is one of the biggest lies in the history of religion. In 2023 the same lie is being told with regard to the slaughter of the Palestinians and Jewish religious leaders are claiming the right to kill God’s and their enemies.
We want justice for the Palestinians against the Jews.
After World War I (1914-18) the world saw two frightening ideologies seeking to control Europe, Communism and Fascism. Stalin and Hitler became the leaders, east and west, and religions were helpless to give their people a strength of moral leadership. Bishops did not speak to each other, as successors of the apostles to bring good news to the poor, but they spoke with nationalist leaders urging the people to defend themselves by war. Read the pastoral letters of European bishops during World War II and cringe – as they did, when they apologised to their people many years later.
We know how the Jewish people suffered in those cruel years and the horror of concentration camps. Many priests died with their people in those camps, no bishop did. Our love is with the suffering Jews of the 20th century, our love is with the suffering Palestinians of the 21st century. We are with the oppressed in their suffering.
I am with the Ukrainian people, unjustly invaded by Putin with his warped mind and mindless supporters, but I am not with Zelenksy using cluster-bombing which doubles the violence of the war. I am disappointed that Zelensky is desperate enough to use cluster bombs which will kill many innocent people. We are all willing to die for those we love – but none of us is required to kill for the God we serve: die, yes; kill, no.
History tells us of all major religions killing their enemies in the name of God and that makes all religions false because all are guilty. It is faith we need to save our world, to make one people of the human family. From the first murderous pope, the thug St Damasus who is honoured on 11th December, the papacy has a shameful history, with some inspiring exceptions.
Other religions know their shameful histories and we see their crimes continuing today. We watch murderous butchers smile and grasp each others’ bloodied hands and know their black hearts. Mammon has claimed them and they smile and bow and group in Mammonite wealth and power.
There is no compromise with God. We serve and love and die for God and the people of God, we do not dominate and hate and kill in the name of God. To kill in God’s name makes a mammon of God, the ultimate blasphemy.
Don’t kill in hate, die for love. Jesus’ simple Gospel message is to love one another. The Mammons scoff – power, wealth, persecution, violence, war. Let them. We look to those who feed the hungry, minister in the migrant and refugee camps, bring healing and the longings for justice and education.
God bless us to be true,
(16th July 2023)