“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing . . . . You will know them by their fruits.”
— Matthew 7:15/16
As I write this, western media is doing near hysterical 24/7 coverage of the tragic loss of 129 “innocent” lives and the injuring of another 300+ in Paris.
The president of France has declared war on ISIS/ISIL. ISIS wins.
Very occasionally there is mention of the ISIS bombing of mostly Muslim “innocents” in Beirut and Bagdad in the days before Paris.
There was no hysterical coverage of these tragedies; no buildings lit up in the colour of their flags to show solidarity.
Why is that?
In Canada the Opposition leader is calling for the Liberals to reverse their promise to withdraw our jets from the U.S.-led bombing missions. These are killing or maiming hundreds of thousands of “innocents” while not containing or degrading ISIS/ISIL.
Why? These missions help ISIS recruitment.
Others are calling for the Liberals to reverse their election promise to take in 25,000 refugees. Islamophobia spreads. ISIS wins.
As tragic as these bombings are, it was the nature of the Paris coverage that generated a deep fear gripping my gut and heart.
Then it struck me.
Paris — it cannot be!
ISIS knows us well. It certainly knows how to push the buttons of most of our leaders, media, and war/surveillance technology profiteers.
By the time you read this, Paris will be or have hosted the vitally important COP 21 Climate Summit.
If these power brokers do not agree to implement an effective strategy to address the root causes of the environmental devastation our current dominant mode of development requires, we will continue to careen toward self-destruction. ISIS wins.
Laudato Si’ states: “The problem is that we still lack the culture needed to confront this crisis. We lack leadership capable of striking out on new paths and meeting the needs of the present with concern for all and without prejudice towards coming generations” (53).
France’s prime minister has announced that events during this summit will be limited to “core negotiations.”
This threatens all public events to pressure our leaders to negotiate effective “new paths” to achieve the kinds of deep structural changes required.
As outlined in Laudato Si’, constructively addressing the real existential threat to our and all other Earthlings that is anthropogenic climate change — is more complex that merely reducing greenhouse gases.
If we make the necessary structural changes to stop our rabid environmental devastation, we would also be starting to effectively address the root causes of the quagmire that is the Middle East, spreading while not contributing to ISIS recruitment. ISIS loses.
Now, all that is at risk.
The long-planned march on Nov. 29 of 200,000+ from around the world was threatened.
The numerous concerts celebrating life with dignity for all Creation are at risk.
Surveillance restricts people’s capacity to take actions drawing attention to the numerous authentic sustainable modes of development that enable us to have higher qualities of life for all.
The president of the U.S. states these attacks were against “all humanity” and the “universal values we share.”
Given the real threat anthropogenic climate change is to us, and how much fossil fuel is burnt each time a jet takes off on a bombing mission, I really have to wonder what these values are.
Based on the “fruits” we are experiencing, obviously they don’t include peace, inclusive economies or a planet that supports life with dignity for all its co-habitants.
At the G20 meeting in Turkey, Obama stated: “ISIL is the face of evil.”
That is the same language ISIS/ISIL uses to describe “us” — western civilization.
Let us remember the G20 is a meeting of the world’s richest nation-states — whose militaries tend to defend the “rights” of the world’s richest global corporations — no matter the cost to Earth’s ecosystems of which we humans are a part.
To me, they are all false prophets — except for the ones like Francis who are calling for honest dialogue enabling us to co-create a variety of authentically sustainable economies.
We risk voices of hope and compassion being drowned out by those of fear and hate.
It is tempting to become a cynic — or despair the “human condition.”
Laudato Si’ reminds us each “is called to be instruments of God.”
What can a person aching to be faithful to the Divine do in such charged, challenging times?
One thing is after experiencing your moment or two of fear or despair to not let it consume you.
Express it — literally — and then become a channel for loving, hope-filled social transformation.
Don’t “like” or “share” the numerous variations of “hate/fear speech” flying about Facebook.
Do gently and respectfully challenge your group of friends, faith community or through your local paper — any reduction of the complexities of the threats confronting us to simplistic good/evil categories . . . particularly scenarios where “we” are always the “good” or the “persecuted.”
Do take good care of your precious heart.
For me, that includes playing a tune by the young Vancouver group Delhi to Dublin: “Love is the hero.”
Then resume the thankless task of trying to enable loving, life-affirming relationships with all Creation to be the fruit flowing from our social structures — including our economies.
Anything less would mean I am following a false prophet. What about you?