35. GOD´S NAME. Do not swear in any way

Created: Sunday, 01 December 2013 Last Updated: Monday, 31 March 2014

35. GOD´S NAME
Do not swear in any way


1. -  The 11th of September attempts and the war of the United States against Afghanistan make necessary to think over what is done in the name of God. “Let God continue blessing America” said president Bush the day he ordered the initiation of the bombing. On his part, Osama Bin Laden affirmed that same day in a video: “All powerful God has stricken America”.
2. - The United States, with the support of so called free countries (although under this denomination fit dictatorships and feudal regimes), began the bombing against Afghanistan, where it is said that there are terrorists bases installed with the approbation of the Taliban government. Some talk of “a just war” and others of “holy war”. So, a question arises: Is it a religious war? And also: Is God’s name taken in vain?.
3. -  A 90% of North Americans support the war and the 67% do it, although innocent lives are lost. The Episcopal Conference of the United States supports the war, respecting “the sane moral principles”. The Vatican talks of “legitimate defence”. The humanitarian organizations warn that massive Afghani population exodus may end in thousands of dead
4. - The Islamic Conference, that represents 56 countries and some 1.200 millions of Muslims, has pronounced itself against the 11th of September crimes, that “contradict the teachings of all religions and the moral and human values” and has requested contention in the military response, that should avoid, at any price, the death of innocent civilians.
5.- Living together is a big European challenge. There are fifteen million of Muslims in Europe. The process is irreversible: we go towards a cultural pluralism after the affirmation of a political pluralism. Sheltered by a political and religious freedom that perhaps is inexistent is their countries of origin, arriving Muslims cannot ignore the values of the sheltering country: “The citizenship values, human rights, sex equality, religious freedom and respect to the lawful State” (H. Tertsch). At the same time, the Europeans cannot forget the respect to the difference.
6.- In this historic moment that we are living, we ask ourselves what is the meaning of the Decalogue’s second commandment: Do not take the name of Yahweh, your God, in vain (Dt 5,11). The original context makes reference to the judicial process. We cannot be unjust with anybody in any court and less in the name of God.
7.- According to the Catholic Church Catechism, the false oath and the blasphemy are two grave ways of taking God’s name in vain. The blasphemy consists in saying words against God, and also to “resort to the name of God to justify criminal practices, to reduce peoples to servitude, to torture or to put to death” (2148, 2152). Nevertheless, says the Catechism, Jesus words are not opposite to the oath “when this is made for a grave and just cause (for instance, before the tribunal)” (2154).
8.- Really, Jesus position is this: You have also heard that people were told in the past: Do not break your oath; an oath sworn to the Lord must be kept. But I tell you this: do not take an oath for any promise… Say yes when you mean yes and say no when you mean no: anything else you say comes from the devil (Mt 5, 33-37). Jesus words invite us to practice the fraternal sincerity, nothing more. So, you not only will not swear in vain, but you will do it in any way.
9.- In other aspects, the violent zealots do not find support in Jesus words, but critical words: they deliver their fellows to be decapitated by the Romans, like it happened to those galilees (Lk 13,3); they are thieves and assaulters, who steal, kill and destroy (Jn 10,1-21). Jesus denounces that the temple is stained: Zeal for your House devours me (Jn 2,17), and he even announces its destruction: Not one stone will be left upon another (Mk 13,2). His adversaries deform his words, and accuse him to have said: I will destroy this Sanctuary (Mk 14,58). Jesus is a sword sentry who is coming. (Ez 33,1- 6). Besides, he denounces the social injustice, one of the zealots worries: But unhappy you who have wealth (Lk 6,24). But Jesus does not impose himself by the strength, he calls to conversion. The High Priests and the Pharisees decide to denounce him: If we allow him to follow on like this, the Romans will come and they will destroy our Holy Place and our nation (Jn 11,40). Pilate condemns him like a political rebel, like a zealot, to the roman death penalty: the crucifixion (Mk 15,25,26).
10.- Saint Paul denounces the several hypocrisy ways (personal, institutional) that generate atheism: If you say that one must not steal, why do you steal?. You say one must not commit adultery, yet you commit it!. You say you hate idols, but you steal in their temples!… In fact, like the Scriptures say: the other nations despise the name of God because of you (Rm 2, 21-24).
11.- The last Council results should be this: “defenceless delivery of the Church to the world” (Von Balthasar), same than Christ, ramparts and bastions abandon, no more chariots in Ephraim, no more horses in Jerusalem, the warrior’s bow shall be broken, peace announcement to the nations (Zec 9,9-10). And this, without new triumphal second intentions, once the old one became unviable. Without thinking that, once retired the Crusade battle horses, belonging to the Saint Inquisition or the Vatican State, it would be possible to come into a renewed Jerusalem (humbly, on a donkey) immersed in new belligerence, indirect ways of alliance with the powers, implicit pacts.
12.- The Synod of Bishops, meeting in Rome from on September the 30th  to October the 27th  to talk about: “The bishop, Jesus Gospel’s server for the world’s hope”, goes by with more pain than glory, “between the lack of interest and tedium”, while “the Pope, when talking about the war, transfers the voice to the State Secretary” (1). In his final document, the Synod condemns “in an absolute way” the 11th September attempts and the terrorism in general, because “it cannot be justified in any way”, but it does not condemn the United States war against Afghanistan. In this sense, the Synod became mute and a question is raised:  have they a pact with the empire?
*Dialogue: Is God’s name be taken in vain?