My Dear Sisters and Brothers on this Journey of the Soul…
Recent days have seen two headlines in the news that once again invite us all to deeply consider who we are as a species — and who we choose to be.
One headline focuses on just released official U.S. Government documents that reveal that this nation was, past the middle of the last century, seriously considering a proposal to establish a manned military base on the moon that could be used for global intelligence gathering purposes — with the possibility of exploding a nuclear device on our Earth’s satellite.
The second story involves the two-hour death by lethal injection of Joseph Wood in an Arizona execution chamber.
According to the first story, at CNN.com, “The purpose of a nuclear detonation near or on the moon would be for show, a document said. Its ‘foremost intent was to impress the world with the prowess of the United States’.”
The CNN story opened with these words: “The U.S. military races to the moon to build a base — to beat the Russians to the punch. Maybe test a nuclear weapon on the surface. Consider a lunar-based bombing system to target earthbound foes. That was the plan in the 1960s, according to declassified national security documents released this week — some of them stamped as ‘SECRET’.”
While the idea of a lunar military outpost never got off the ground (so to speak), this was not because anyone in any official position wrote about the moral or spiritual implications of such a plan. It was apparently shelved because it was consider too risky, the CNN report said.
This says something about the human mindset that we all may wish to ponder.
The second headline involved the two-hour-long death by lethal injection of convicted murdered Joseph Wood in an Arizona prison on July 23.
According to this story at NBCnews.com, Mr. Wood is described as gasping something like 600 times by an approximate count of witnesses, seeming to be reaching for air as his execution took two hours to kill him.
Reporters who have seen executions before wrote in the Arizona press that in the past executions by injection took ten minutes to produce death. Any suggestion that Mr. Wood may have suffered cruel and unusual punishment was, however, dismissed by relatives of the two people Mr. Wood was convicted of murdering in 1989.
Asked about the possibility that Mr. Wood experienced an excruciating death, Jeanne Brown was quoted is this report by ABC News as having said: “You don’t know what excruciating is. Excruciating is seeing your dad lying there in a pool of blood, seeing your sister lying there in a pool of blood. That’s excruciating. This man deserved it.”
Ms. Brown is the sister of the woman and the daughter of the man that Joseph Wood was found guilty of shooting 25 years ago. Her husband, Andrew Brown, was quoted in the above ABC News story as saying “Everybody is worried about the drug. These people that do this, they deserve to suffer a little bit.”
“I saw the life go out of my sister-in-law’s eye as he shot her to death,” ABC News said he added. “I’m so sick of you guys (referring to the media) blowing this drug stuff out of proportion.”
Without commenting on the merits of the sentiments expressed by Mr. and Mrs. Brown, I am moved to wonder: Is the death penalty the way a society can best teach its members that killing people is wrong?
Does an advanced civilization use killing to end killing, violence to end violence, hatred and anger to bring an end to hatred and anger?
And what if it is not about a deterrent? What if it is just about what some people call simple justice? Is it a demonstration of a high level of evolution for a race of sentient beings to embrace a philosophy of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”? Is that the grandest notion that evolution brings?
My Dear Brothers and Sisters on the Journey…I ask these questions in the spirit of gentle but important inquiry.
Pope Francis is really making headlines these days, “telling it like it is” in many areas of life seldom, if ever, commented on by anybody in the Vicar’s chair in Rome.
I am encouraged and impressed to know that a global spiritual leader is saying things that have needed to be said for a very long time.
Describing the rapid deforestation of the Earth as one of humanity’s biggest offenses, the pontiff s said that “one of the greatest challenges of our time,” is to “convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation.”
“When I look at America, also my own homeland, so many forests, all cut, that have become land … that can longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to her give us what she has within her,” the Argentine pope is reported to have told students in an address at the University of Molise, in southern Italy.
Francis’ remarks were reported on the alJazeeraAmerica internet news site.
Speaking not only to students, but to “struggling farmers and laid-off workers” as well in the university’s hall, the Pope urgently “called for more respect for nature…branding the destruction of South America’s rain forests and other forms of environmental exploitation a sin of modern times, the alJazeeraAmerica story said. The full report is found found here.
In a separate ajJazeeraAmerica news story last month, Pope Francis was quoted as criticizing the wealth made from financial speculation, calling it “intolerable” and saying that speculation on food was a “scandal” that compromised access by the poor.
“Addressing a seminar on ethical investing in the Vatican,” the Pope “said financial markets must serve the interests of the people and the common good of humanity,” the alJazeeraAmerica report said.
“It is increasingly intolerable that financial markets are shaping the destiny of peoples rather than serving their needs, or that the few derive immense wealth from financial speculation while the many are deeply burdened by the consequences,” the network further quoted the Pontiff.
“Pope Francis added, ‘Speculation on food prices is a scandal which seriously compromises access to food on the part of the poorest members of our human family’,” alJazeeraAmerica’s report went on.
The network’s story also offers the Pope’s urgent call to the world’s governments, and his powerful suggestion to global investors on how they could wield their financial power for the common good, and explaining why it would be “logical” for them to do so.
Francis’ remarks on this subject may be found in full here.
It has been a long time since the exploiters of the world’s resources and the world’s people have been called to task so openly by so powerful a global figure — and by any spiritual leader at all.
This pope has made it clear that he intends to use his high profile to challenge the world’s elite to overlay its so-often vaunted spiritual principles on its so-often shameful behaviors.
The raising of his voice in such a manner has begun to raise concerns in some quarters that Francis is creating more and more enemies in more and more powerful places—and could be putting himself in danger.
At no time was this more frequently whispered than when the prelate took the breathtaking step a few weeks ago of actually excommunicating every member of the so-called Mafia family in Italy, describing one crime syndicate as “the adoration of evil.” That story, also from alJazeeraAmerica, is found here.
The question now before the house: is the global public ready now to launch a global Evolution Revolution, calling on a worldwide basis for the application of the highest spiritual principles to the day-to-day machinations of our species?
I do not personally agree with all of the pronouncements of Pope Francis. I was particularly dismayed when a few days ago he decreed that the Catholic Church formally recognized an organization of priests who perform exorcisms, thus adding new papal authority to the notion that Satan exists and continues to inhabit people.
Yet leadership, in any position, is about taking positions that risk disapproval and virtually guarantee backlash, and I give high marks to this Pope for fearlessly speaking his mind, and being willing to call the minds of other people to explore and examine their own truths on topics with which not every person agrees.
A true leader is not one who says “follow me,” but one who says “I’ll go first”…and this pope is the first head of the Roman Catholic Church in a very, very long time to say the kinds of things he has been saying — such as, when asked about gays: “Who am I to judge?”
I like this man. I really do. The whole world’s falling in love with him. Now if we could find such leaders in the halls of our globe’s governments, we might actually change some things…
Yet if the world’s politicians won’t turn the tide, it will, in fact, be left to us. I invite you to check out the link at the top right of the Front Page, and join the Evolution Revolution.