Jesus was a
radical nonviolent revolutionary
who hung around lepers, hookers, and crooks;
and never spoke English;
and anti-public prayer (M 6:5);
he never called the poor lazy,
never justified torture,
never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes,
never asked a leper for a copay;
and was a long-haired homeless,
middle eastern Jew.
Christ drove the money changers
out of the Temple.
But today nobody dares
to drive the money lenders
out of the Temple.
And nobody dares
to drive the money lenders
out of the Temple
because the money lenders
have taken a mortgage
on the Temple.
When church builders build churches
with money borrowed from money lenders
they increase the prestige
of the money lenders.
But increasing the prestige
of the money lenders
does not increase the prestige
of the Church.
Which makes Archbishop McNicholas say:
“We have been guilty
of encouraging tyranny
in the financial world
until it has become
a veritable octopus
strangling the life
of our people.”
– Peter Maurin
Remember, Jesus of Nazareth was a prisoner, found guilty by a court, & sentenced to death. He went to the temple (the church) & turned over tables, scattering the collection money, & chasing out the church’s money handlers with a whip. Jesus challenged the established rules & out of hand & unfair traditions, and because of this some of the people who knew of him considered him a horrible criminal who blasphemed against God & deserved to be arrested and put to death.
So if you ever hear about someone who was found guilty by a court and sentenced to prison, if you ever hear of someone who goes to places of establishment & attempts to overthrow, run out, or change them, who challenges the rules & the current way of doing things, remember…
…Remember that Jesus was that person.
As a Christian, I try to live my life as Jesus would live. Jesus was a convicted criminal who tried to overthrow/runout corrupt establishment; Jesus lived amongst the prostitutes & homeless, the ill, & those suffering from personal demons; Jesus stood up against the establishment for the good of the poor & the discriminated. I as a Christian want to be all of those things, & because I hold Jesus within me, because he lives within me, I already am those things.
I tell you this: I am a convicted criminal, I stand up against the establishment, I stand up for the poor & discriminated, the prostitutes, the homeless, & the ill, for they are my friends. There are people who believe I am a horrible criminal, that I blaspheme God, and that I should be put to death.
I am a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, & he lives within me.
– Jack Danya Kemplin
† The Executions of Sts. Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stien
† The Woman caught in adultery, whom Jesus refuses to condemn to a Legal Execution
† The Executions of Sts. Lawrence, Agnes, Lucy, Agatha, etc.
† The Stoning of St. Stephen
† The Execution by Arrows of St. Jude
† The Stoning and Clubbing of St. James
† The Beheading of St. Paul
† The Crucifixion on an X-Shaped Cross of St. Andrew
† The Upside Down Crucifixion of St. Peter
† The Execution by Crucifixion of Jesus
These were all lawful executions of innocents carried out by the official governing bodies of the time.
Even the guilty have a right to life.
The New Testament teaches that we do not put sinners to death
because Christ has already been put to death for every act of human sinfulness.
on July 23, 2014, at Florence State Prison in Arizona, the execution of prisoner Joseph Wood was botched, he gasped and struggled for nearly 2 hours before he finally died after the supposed ‘lethal’ injection was administered by his executioners.
What happened to Joseph Wood on the table in Arizona happens to innocent people in interrogation rooms and jury rooms more often than most of us would like to confront.
To turn a blind, blithe eye to such injustice, however, places us under St Paul’s auspicious words,
Romans 10:3-4 “I have great sorrow and anguish. For I testify of them that they may have great zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own form of justice, they did not submit to the justice of God.”
Other than the Cross itself, the most compelling reason for Christians to oppose the death penalty is that it commits what belongs to God alone (the taking of life) to a system which is vulnerable to human error and moral corruption. To insist that system is immune to such error risks violating the first commandment, as it places a degree of faith in the criminal process that belongs to God alone; it values our justice system over God’s justice.
-An excerpt from the article The Death Penalty Violates the 1st Not Just the 5th Commandment by Jason Micheli
In the August 6th 2015 Republican Presidential Debate, Marco Rubio said, “I believe in protecting every human life at every stage. I believe we have that law – it’s called the constitution.” and the next day many people who claim to be Christian were praising him for his pro-life statement. It is a statement that has been made by many politicians in the past decade; & because they have made such statements, many people have chosen to vote for them. But are these politicians truly pro-life according to The Church’s definition?
If they are, then I hope Marco Rubio & the rest of them are anti-death penalty, because those people (prisoners) fall under “every human life” Jesus has already came out in support of showing love to prisoners (Matthew 25:31-46), & The Catholic Church is also anti-death penalty (source).
I also hope they are in favour of free universal healthcare, because that helps protect human lives at a stage of life (the stage of being ill). Again Jesus supports the sick in Matthew 25:31-46, & so has The Church (source).
If they try to proclaim to be pro-life, yet they are pro-death penalty or anti-universal healthcare, then they are not pro-life according to The Church.
I am pro-life: I am anti-abortion, anti-death penalty, anti-euthanasia / assisted suicide, & pro-universal healthcare.
So if you wish to vote for only pro-life candidates, make sure to find out what their stances are on the death penalty, universal healthcare, & euthanasia; & vote for the one who’s stance is pro-life according to The Church:
One that respects & supports all people in all stages of life: The newly conceived, the sick, the depressed, and the prisoner; for Christ loved & helped all of these people, & Christ was a prisoner who was killed by the death penalty.
So know that if someone supports the death penalty, then they are sentencing Jesus to death, & they are not pro-life according to The Church.
So if you vote pro-life, remember that means the life of the prisoner, & the life of the sick, & do not support candidates who support the death penalty or are anti-affordable/free healthcare.
Both Abortion and the Death Penalty involves medical doctors, who are sworn to preserve life, in the act of killing
– Jack Danya Kemplin
I have friends who sometimes wonder just that. They think that their vote won’t matter, or that elections are rigged or that politicians only server the elite, saying, “If voting changed anything, they would make it illegal.” However, that is not true, & even if it was, it is still worth a try.
It is true that those who hold power do not wish to relinquish it, & that those in power do not want the status quo to change; but that is the very reason why voting can be so powerful in a Democratic Republic. It has always been the case, be it a Democratic Republic, a Dictatorship or a Monarchy, that those currently in power could be removed by an outcry or mass protest by the majority of the people, by a revolution.
Voting is a chance to have a peaceful revolution every few years. The people can enter the ballot & make clear their outcry, make clear their protest, by voting out of power, those who are currently in power.
As much as a person may wish to pretend senators are like the common man, they are not. They have vast amounts of money, a mansion, & have to work very little. They therefore enjoy this life, & do not want these things taken from them. This is where voting can influence change; politicians will often do anything to remain in power, anything to maintain their easy lifestyle, so if the people make their demands clear, politicians will in fact be forced to do as the people say.
This means that people should not just vote on election day, but that they should vote every day with their actions, they should make it clear what they want. People should write their mayor, governor, congressmen, senators, & presidents, regularly. Tell them what you want, and that if they do not do it, then you will vote them out of office.
Now one might say, “But my letters won’t matter, they won’t care about just one vote.” True, however if a lot of people wrote to them, all expressing the similar things, then the politician would realize they have a choice: Either do as the people say, or lose your comfy position. When given that option, they will do as the people say, or they will be replaced by someone who will.
Some people may say, “But if we vote them out of office, then we are still being controlled by someone, we just replaced a cruel master with a kind master, that isn’t much better.” But it can lead to better things, for who would you rather have to protest against, a politician who believes in human rights & treating people kindly, or one who believes in gassing, jailing, & beating protesters?
It is far easier to gain what we want, if we are demanding it from someone who is willing to listen to the people, someone who cares about what the people want. When people protested against dictators like Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong-il, they were swiftly murdered, & to overcome such people would result in the deaths of many protesters. Where as protesting a more freer system usually results in the deaths of far fewer people, & may even be able to happen peacefully.
So voting gives us that option, would we rather have to protest against a dictator, struggling with them for more power for the people, or would we rather protest against someone who is willing to eventually do as the people say or step down from power peacefully? The choice is ours.
The right to the vote – the ability to organise and promote alternative ideas, is just one element in the hard won struggles of workers & suffragettes, & is worth defending. None of the rights we now enjoy were simply gifts handed to us by our rulers, they all had to be struggled for. In democratic societies it is easier to gain rights than it is from dictatorships, as Mikhail Bakunin said, “The most imperfect republic is a thousand times better than even the most enlightened monarchy.”
By voting every day with our actions, we can force politicians to respect the wishes of the people. If someone tries to limit free speech, we can encourage free speech, we can break unjust laws until they are revoked. Slaves kept breaking free & defending themselves until they were declared free, blacks & whites kept getting married until the laws saying they couldn’t were removed, workers fought with strikes for days off, child labour laws, & safe conditions until they got them. We must be a people of action, a people of deeds, we must fight for what we want or else lose them. We must vote for the things we want, be it by filling out a ballot, writing a letter, protesting, striking, or breaking unjust laws.
Voting for those who will listen to social protests (letter writing, strikes, rallies, boycotts, etc), & then protesting, would be an effective means of stopping authoritarian laws being passed. These forms of voting are vital as the government could happily handle hours of speeches by opposition politicians, but they could not ignore large social protest. Organisation & political engagement enhances the democracy & is an essential step towards social change.
By voting for people & parties that will not stand against our goals, we can eventually achieve them. Even if voting at a ballot won’t create any “serious or lasting change” surely the fact that ballot voting requires little effort in exchange for some change makes it worthwhile. Not voting would make less difference than voting, not voting would not decrease state power, If only 1% of the population voted then that simply means that the government will be decided by that 1%.
Ballot voting usually won’t bring about a complete revolution like how voting with actions could, at most we could hope for some reforms, but those reforms can benefit the people. Voting is an opportunity to possibly improve your lot in the short term and maybe give you some breathing room to undertake the real task of action to achieve a revolution of the heart.
Ballot voting on its own does not normally have operative power to reduce the government’s hold over us. But when combined with action, with protests, voting can provide withering power, voting can advance candidates and legislation that may help to wither, or forestall, oppressive authorities. For instance, voting for candidates who are against creating new bombs, missiles, & other instruments of violence, voting against the militarising of police, & voting for taxes to be used to fund education and social services, instead of thousands of bombs & jets we do not need, can advance the dignity and quality of the life of the people living in poverty. Which allows people to rise up, & learn how to grow their own food, build their own homes, & eventually realize that we do not need a government as long as we love one another & help each other.
-Jack Danya Kemplin