Saturday, December 26, 2009

FYI: Faith and Socialism During the Holidays By Josh Hatala,, Socialist Party USA


So Let It Be Known ~ So Let It Be Heard!
Venceremos Unidos! Education for Liberation!

Peter S. López, Jr. aka~Peta





----- Forwarded Message ----
From: "moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG" <moderator@PORTSIDE.ORG>
Sent: Sat, December 26, 2009 11:08:03 AM
Subject: Faith and Socialism During the Holidays

Faith and Socialism During the Holidays

By Josh Hatala,
Faith & Socialism Commission member,
Socialist Party USA
December 24, 2009

The Holidays are a time filled with stark contradictions. While most religions offer inspiring messages of peace and love, commercial enterprises attempt to put a
price tag on every human emotion and
social relation. But the shiniest presents in
the world
can't hide the raw inequalities that exist in our country and across the
globe. This Holiday season, as a
member of the Faith and Socialism Commission, I ask you to consider what really matters - our communities, our planet and the cause of social justice.

What lessons do the scriptures offer religious Socialists during this time of the year?
For Jewish
people, the story of Hanukkah commemorates a miracle attesting to
God's love for His people, as well as
fidelity to truth in times of hardship. Within the story of the rededication of the temple after persecution by Antiochus IV, and the unexpected burning of lamp oil for eight days, lies another truth- perhaps more interesting and sadly still relevant today. At the core of the Hanukkah story is a celebration of the Jewish victory over the Seleucid Empire. Then, as now, peoples
living under the domination of empires are
subject to the will of that empire- whether
it be the
Seleucids or a modern-day empire of global capital. The minority Jews stood little chance against this mighty empire, yet they fought for the continuation of their
communities, their customs, and their beliefs. They stood up to empire- and won.

There is also a message of liberation within the familiar Christmas story. In the
context of the Roman
Empire, the most powerful empire the world had ever seen,
a boy was born to a mother who, as tradition has
it, declared:

" He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away."

During his time on Earth, Jesus exalted and fed the poor and castigated the rich who
had made idols of
their earthly wealth, declaring that, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" - a
important enough to Jesus' disciples to be included in three of the four
canonical Gospels.

How might Jesus respond to the massive disparities in wealth in the United States?
Or to the fact that 50
million people -including almost one in four children- struggled
this past year to obtain sufficient food? How
would He react to global inequalities
such as the sad
fate of the 18,000 children who die each day from hunger? What
would He have to say about the wars
initiated by modern empires? It seems
obvious in these
cases whom he would rebuke, and whom he would aid- which
system he would indict, and which he would

Jesus turned the "worldly" wisdom of His day on its head and taught that His kingdom
is a kingdom of
justice for the oppressed, where the mightiest of this world are in fact the lowest in His. Jesus placed God's kingdom of peace and justice in direct opposition
to an
unjust system of imperial rule.

This holiday season let us not forget those who like the Jews of Judea, or the early followers of Jesus, suffer at the hands of empires. Let's remember the enduring light
the Jews commemorate, or the "light of
the world" that Jesus became to his followers, as symbols of hope for the future. With this hope let's act with resolve to challenge injustice, defeat the modern empires, and build bonds with our fellow humans
strong enough to make real the message of peace and love that is so central to the holiday season. Our traditions show us that this is possible and, just as importantly,
that we are on the right side of history
when we do so.


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