A letter to my neighbors in Ward 6.

Dear neighbors,

There’s a city council election coming up on March 3rd. As I drive around Ward 6, I see a lot of “deferred maintenance” situations. I see potholes that have been there for years. Often there’s water seeping, which suggests that there is an underlaying problem with the water pipes that isn’t being addressed. I see neighborhoods that have no curbs and gutters.

I see a police force with the same number of police officers in 2015 that it had in 1995. Yet, our population is up 33%. Overtime is nearly universal. Crime cost me personally more than a thousand dollars in out of pocket costs in 2014. My car was stolen once, and an attempt was made to steal it a second time. Each time I had to replace the steering column and make other repairs because of the vandalism. I hear from my neighbors about thieves following delivery trucks and stealing packages and problems with drivers recklessly speeding through residential neighborhoods running stop signs.

In the next four years Oklahoma City will make major decisions regarding nearly two billion dollars for city projects that will take 20 years to complete. We need a bigger table to ensure that every part of Ward 6 benefits from these decisions. For example. . . there is a Tax Increment Financing district that goes as far south as SW 29th in Ward 6. Of the $85 million spent thus far, $82 million was spent north of the river, and $3 million has been allocated – but not spent yet – south of the river for an OCCC extension in the Capitol Hill area. Obviously, the next MAPs plan should be “MAPs for Neighborhoods.” The continued diversion of property tax money away from the schools contributes to our education problems.

Sure there are lots of exciting things going on in this town, it’s not all doom and gloom. But while some have prospered, others have not, and there are serious questions about the way city tax resources are spent.

Let’s do something about these issues. Call me at 405-200-8155 and tell me what’s happening in your neighborhood. If you need to register to vote, the deadline is February 6th. (I can help you register and/or request an absentee ballot.) You can also visit my website at www.bob4okc.net to learn more about me and how I approach the issues. I am available to speak at meetings in the ward. Starting in February I will be holding “Breakfast with Bob” gatherings in Ward 6 where you could meet me personally at a local restaurant and get to know me. Thanks for this moment of your time. I would be grateful for your vote on March 3rd! Please stay in touch!

Your neighbor for Oklahoma City,

Bob Waldrop

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Should Bob Waldrop run for Oklahoma City Council Ward 6?

Twenty-one years ago, I moved to Oklahoma City, to the neighborhood where I live now. These are exciting times to live in Oklahoma City, but we also face tremendous challenges. While many have prospered, others have been left behind. The plunge in oil prices may have serious negative economic impacts on the community. Our streets are not as safe as they should and can be. This City continues to have a problem misallocation of resources.

This is why I am contemplating running for Oklahoma City Council.

But the point of that campaign would not be to simply make a point or get some publicity for the good causes I am involved with. It would be to actually get elected.

There is no way that I can out spend my opposition.  But I am betting that I can out-organize them.  The present incumbent won election with 2,000 votes in a ward with a population of 71,000 — 32,700 are Hispanic, 6,000 are African American, and 2,000 are Native American.

Whether I run or not depends entirely on whether people are willing to commit to help me by endorsing my campaign and volunteering their time.  I figure I need 100 volunteers at least to get elected.  The filing period is the last week of January, and the primary election is the first Tuesday of March, so there’s not a lot of time.  If only two candidates file, the winner of the March first Tuesday primary is the new city council member.  If there are more than two candidates, there will be a run-off election April 7.

If you are willing to be involved, email me!  See also my Facebook page.

Here are some of my preliminary thoughts.


We live in a big city that is composed of smaller villages – our neighborhoods. But there are problems with the fair and equitable distribution of city resources throughout the City. If elected, I pledge to ensure that all areas of Ward 6 will benefit from city resources such as community block grants and bond issues.


Jobs are the heart beat of the Oklahoma City economy. For the past 11 years, as president and one of the founders of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, I have helped nurture many small food and craft businesses. I know first hand what a nightmare the Oklahoma City bureaucracy can be for small businesses trying to get started. Just figuring out how to legally erect a sign for your business is astonishingly complex. I think it’s past time to slash the red tape and for the City to stop hassling job creators!


Special interest groups should not hijack local government and impose their political or economic agendas on everybody. Serving on the City Council requires work and I am prepared to put in the hours to do the job right. Besides attending council meetings, I will meet with Ward 6 residents at regularly scheduled town meetings in the neighborhoods so that everyone’s voice can be heard at city hall.  I am committed to the common good of the entire ward and city.


The misallocation of Oklahoma City’s resources is a crisis issue in this election. Funds that should be directed at strengthening our neighborhoods and public safety programs have been diverted to corporate welfare and to satisfy special interests.  As a result, our neighborhoods are not as safe as we can and should be.


City government should treat everyone with even-handed fairness, compassion, and common sense. That isn’t always the case at present when it comes to the workings of Oklahoma City government. We should beware of cutting off our noses to spite our faces with city policies that can have adverse unintended consequences.


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Why we can’t trust conservative leaders when it comes to poverty.

Recently, an op ed piece in the Washington Times lauded the commitment of the Koch brothers to the poor.  It was authored by John and Carol Saeman,  who are wealthy Catholic philanthropists.  They proceeded to tell us that they also supported the Koch’s Freedom Chambers of Commerce because as far as they were concerned, the Koch brothers were doing more to help the poor than some social justice campaigners who attacked them.

On and on they go about the “free market.”  But never once do they — or the Koch’s for that matter — mention the legal and regulatory barriers to micro enterprise that prevent poor people from starting small, part-time businesses that over time and with work can grow into a full time job that they own. Nobody in the conservative movement seems interested in addressing this issue.  I have said that the reason for their silence is that our economic aristocracy benefits from maintaining a large class of under and unemployed low income workers who are desperate for work at any price.  What’s the point of being an aristocrat if you don’t have serfs?  Which is to say, conservatives don’t actually support free enterprise.  The support a system of economics which is regulated to benefit the economic aristocracy at the expense of the common good.

If poor people were allowed to start microenterprises, then the price of what we call low wage work would rise.  McDonalds and Wal Mart might find themselves forced to offer wages upwards of $15 to $20 an hour with benefits in order to attract workers.

This isn’t going to happen, because we can trust our politicians to look out for the interests of our economic aristocrats, lip service to solidarity notwithstanding.  So they will never support policies that protect the rights of the poor to free enterprise.  The only rights they are willing to concede to the poor is the right to work for a cheap wage.  A man was just killed on the streets of  New York City, for selling single cigarettes!  That’s how far our system is willing to go to protect the economic aristocracy. Do you think that doesn’t send a message to poor people everywhere in this nation?

Whatever form of enterprise the Freedom Chambers of Commerce are promoting, if they aren’t publicly defending the rights of low income people to entrepreneurship by demanding the repeal of the petty federal, state, and local laws and ordinances that effectively criminalize low income microentrepreneurs, then it isn’t “freedom”.  It’s just another defense of rent seeking economic aristocrats who profit from their ability to rig the economy to suppress initiative, eliminate competition and lower wages. What happens every time wages start to rise? The Federal Reserve can be counted upon to rig the economy so that people lose their jobs and the price of labor goes down. Somehow, rising wages is considered an inflationary problem, but a rising stock market (capital value) isn’t. Like I said, we can always count on our economic aristocrats to look out for their own interests.

This is why we shouldn’t trust conservative leaders when they claim that work is the way out of poverty.  They don’t really believe that.  They are just pandering to the crowds. If they really were in solidarity with the poor, they would be marching and organizing in support of the economic rights of low income people.

They are conspicuous by their absence.

For details (to the point of tediousness) about how this economic oppression plays out, see my Open Letter to Paul Ryan, which I wrote during the last presidential campaign.  Yes, I understand that many of these laws and ordinances are local and state issues, over which Congress has no control.  But Paul Ryan,  the Koch brothers, and John and Carol Saeman have bully pulpits and they could be pounding those and demanding economic freedom for the poor as a way out of poverty.

They are conspicuously silent on this issue.

And as we all know, silence is consent.

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The blunt truth about the present situation.

For irrational reasons, I always experience a surge of hope just before elections. Somehow, I expect something magical to happen.  Maybe all the independents and minor party candidates will win — Congress would be MUCH more interesting and helpful and productive if it was Libertarians and Constitutionalists and Greens and Socialists.

But the blunt truth is that at the present time there is no political solution to our four-fold dilemma — economic irrationality, climate instability, political criminality, and peak oil.

There is no political solution because in the United States our politics do in fact grow from the people.  Because We the People of these United States are greedy, wasteful, narcissistic, and violent, so is our government.

If we want a better government, we have to become a better people.  That means that We the People, as individuals, families, and households, must become less greedy, less wasteful, less narcissistic, and less violent.

I accuse myself first and foremost of complicity with these continental-scale structures of evil. Whatever I have done, has not been enough.  I, personally, Bob Waldrop, must do more to lessen the greed, waste, narcissism, and violence that is embedded in my life and that of my household and in those areas of life where I have some responsibilities.

Because that’s the problem.  It’s not that I stand before the mirror for hours a day admiring my good looks and praising my self.  I don’t wander around drunk and stoned looking to get into fights.

But there is violence, greed, waste, narcissism embedded in my life.  Every gallon of gasoline I pump comes with a cost in blood. Every ounce of packaging I throw away embodies waste.  Etc.

There is a spiritual discipline known as the Examination of Conscience, where, in a somewhat organized way, we review our life to discern our issues — our sins — and to come to an understanding of how we need to amend our “ways and manners of living.” Going forward, I recommend that practice to us all as a matter of political reform, and to assist in that process, I am beginning a blog series whose working title is — “A Secular Examination of the American Conscience”.

We have met the enemy, and he is us.  But we have also met the leaders of our future salvation, and that is also us. Within each one of us is both the Enemy and the Savior and I think it is a fine thing to picture that reality in the traditional form of the little devil sitting on one shoulder, and an angel sitting on the other, whispering in your ear, for that really is what is going on. Voices everywhere call us this way and that way and one of the most important secular and spiritual graces in this post modern, devolutionary world is discernment of “spirits” and of choices.  In a world of a multiplicity of options, the ability to make good, better, and best choices is a practice to be cultivated.

So it comes to pass that at the present time, whatever you do in the ballot box on the various election days, what happens on the other 364 days of the year is of more importance.  Let us learn to vote with our bodies — by what we do and don’t do, by how we spend our money, by where we give our attention — to make the world a better place.

Long ago, Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Everything we do has consequences — for good or for ill. The path towards developing your ability to make the best choices is paved with observation and evaluation that is informed by virtue.  And what is virtue? “The habit of doing good.”  This is  praxis — action informed by contemplation — and it is a way forward into a better future than what we presently see coming at us.

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We have met the enemy, and he is us.

When I heard that organizers were encouraging people to travel to NYC for a climate march, I cringed. The greatest enemy of rational environmental and climate policies is not Senator Inhoff and his ilk. In the words of the immortal Pogo, we have met the enemy , and he is us.

In this day and age, authenticity is the only coin of the realm that is worth much in the public square. By sponsoring this march in NYC, the climate movement did major damage to itself, as noted in this editorial from today’s Oklahoman.

Sometimes I think the problem with our movement begins with the leaders, but then I remember that the leaders of a movement are reflections of those within the movement. Too many of us have a sense of narcissistic entitlement when it comes to hopping on airplanes and flying all over the world, who cares about the cost to the environment.

For several years, I have been exploring the Benedictine vow of stability. I wrote the Abbot of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek last year to apologize for not visiting them for several years. I said words to this effect — “The older I get, the more interesting and valuable the Benedictine emphasis on stability seems to me.” The Abbot wrote back, “I think John Senior would say this is a sign of increasing sanity in your life.” (John Senior being the K-State professor who was instrumental in the formation of the young men who went to France for the summer and ended up staying and becoming monks, and who then came back here in the 1990s to start a traditional Benedictine monastery, one of them being said abbot.

The more that the climate movement practices what it preaches, the more credible it will be. Likewise, the less we practice what we preach, the more hypocritical we will appear in the public square, and the less influence we will have on public policy. If we encourage people to travel across the country, and then leave a trail of trash behind us, we announce to the world that we just aren’t very serious about the situation.

Which is to say. . . everyone should think thrice before they fly anywhere. and if your life is impossible without air travel, then you should redesign your life.


Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Climate Instability, Collapse, Environmental Sustainability, Peak Oil | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A less respectful response to the Secretary of State Chris Benge’s constitutional incompetence

This is a not-very-respectful response to the incompetence of Secretary of State Chris Benge which has shut down the No Sun Tax referendum campaign.  The press release just posted here is marginally more respectful.  But only marginally.

In any event. . . in honor of this august occasion, I have written a limerick.  I believe it’s the first limerick that I’ve ever written and published.  It’s only mildly naughty, so I think it is OK to publish here.

Chris Benge is our Secretary of State.
Of the Constitution he knows nothing of late.
When the people petition,
He declares it his mission,
Where the sun doesn’t shine, he will procreate.


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Secretary of State’s incompetence shuts down No Sun Tax petition campaign.

Press Release — for immediate distribution — September 24, 2014

Secretary of State gives bad deadline to No Sun Tax Petition, causes petition to fail.

For more info contact:
Jonathon Pollnow, 405-762-0591, jonathan.pollnow@okstate.edu
Bob Waldrop, 405-200-8155, bob@bobwaldrop.net

The “No Sun Tax” petition was an attempt to call a statewide vote on SB 1456 passed by the 2014 session of the Legislature, allowing electric utility corporations to add a surcharge to the bills of customers who use grid tied solar panels or wind generators, under the questionable economic assumption that such customers are somehow being “subsidized” by other classes of ratepayers.

On September 12th, Bob Waldrop received a copy of a letter from the Secretary of State Chris Benge to attorney Glenn Coffee, in response to his letter of August 24th requesting a clarification” of the deadline for submitting a referendum petition. Mr. Benge forwarded the request to the Attorney General’s office and the Attorney General  responded on September 8th.

In the letter, Tom Bates, First Assistant Attorney General, reports that there are two deadlines for referendum petitions. One is in Title 34, the law regulating petitions, which says 90 days after the adjournment of the Legislature OR 90 days after it has been cleared for circulation by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. However, the Constitution says that such petitions must be submitted within 90 days of the adjournment of the Legislature.  Since the State Constitution is supreme in such matters, the conclusion of the Attorney General’s office, dated September 8, 2014, is that the deadline was August 21, 2014, 90 days after the legislative session closed.

Pollnow and Waldrop released this statement about the situation.


We started this petition because SB 1456 is an outrageous abuse of the common good that was rooted in unproven economic assumptions.

The real threats to electrical rates are the capital costs of building new generation
capacity and the price of natural gas. By making private investments in electrical
generation capacity, that will feed electricity into the grid at the times it is most needed —
hot afternoons in the summer — these customers, over the long term, may help eliminate
the need for future rate increases due to power plant construction costs. They should
not be punished with a solar surcharge. They are not being subsidized by anyone.

When we asked the Secretary of State’s people questions about procedures and deadlines,
they repeatedly referred us to Title 34. We assumed that the Secretary was competent
and knowledgeable and had ensured that his people were properly trained in procedures
and legal requirements. At no time did anyone suggest that there was information in the State Constitution pertinent to this petition. Because of the incomplete information given to us by employees of the Office of the Secretary of State, we had to stop our referendum petition effort because the deadline was already past.

We feel bad that we naively trusted the competency of the Secretary of State and didn’t
think about reading the Constitution itself.  But we feel worse about the evident incompetence and constitutional ignorance of the Secretary of State, Chris Benge.  One would think that all cabinet-level officers in Governor Fallin’s administration would have at least read the State Constitution and have some understanding of its requirements — especially one with so many constitutional duties as our Secretary of State. They would then ensure that all of their people were properly trained in the demands of the Constitution.  That evidently did not happen in the Secretary of State’s office.

We have no inside knowledge about why this mistake was made, so we are making the charitable assumption that the problem was the constitutional ignorance of Secretary Benge. He is the Secretary of State and so the buck stops on his desk for mistakes of this magnitude.   The alternative to constitutional ignorance, of course, is that he deliberately sabotaged our petition effort.  Business doesn’t get much bigger in Oklahoma than the monopoly electric utility conglomerates and we know which side of those arguments the Fallin administration is on.

Going forward, the only hope to have this law repealed is to defeat the legislators and governor who enacted it into law and elect new legislators and a new governor who are not the bought and  sold property of rent-seeking monopolistic business conglomerates who distort the public process  for their own private gain.

We are grateful for all of the support we received from people who circulated the petitions and from those willing to sign the petition.

And to all of them we say, “Our time will come!”


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Another splendid little war.

lady of sorrows profileThey will receive justice without mercy who have shown no mercy. James 2:13

Her nobles within her are like wolves that tear prey, shedding blood and destroying lives to get unjust gain. Ezekiel 22:27

So we have another splendid little war.  Our Tyrant Emperor himself himself assures us it will be a very antiseptic splendid little war.  No ground troops.  We will simply stand afar off and throw high explosive ordinance at our enemies and their wives and their children and any innocent bystanders who happen to be living in the area.

And this time our enemies are REALLY demented and evil — EVEN MORE demented and evil than our previous bad guys.

Notice what Der Fuhrer neglected to say.  He did NOT announce a major airlift to bring the Iraqi Christians and Yezidis here to safety in the United States.  When it comes to the Christians of Iraq, our policy is the same policy we had in the 1930s towards the Jews in Germany.  So sorry folks, but there is no room at this inn for y’all.

Also absent from our Tyrant Emperor’s remarks was any reference to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Recently, a group of Middle Eastern Christians gathered in Washington, D.C. for a summit.  Here is what one of their leaders had to say about the proper response to the crisis:

Earlier, in a homily at an ecumenical prayer service, Maronite Bishop Gregory J. Mansour of Brooklyn, New York, reflected on the Gospel reading of the beatitudes, which he called “a way of life for Christians.” He said even if a person was angry — and those looking at recent events had a right to be angry — it was hard to stay angry after listening to the reading.

He suggested to about 500 people gathered at Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel that there were three ways to respond when Christians and other minorities are persecuted:

— Pray and do nothing, “and say to ourselves, ‘Christianity was made for suffering.'” But, he added, “that is not the way of Jesus.”

— Declare war, fight with every tool available and “destroy those who destroy us. … But that’s not the way of Jesus, either.”

— Nonviolent resistance, which he said worked for Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and St. John Paul II. This requires “much prayer, much fasting, much building of solidarity.”

“This nonviolent resistance can be powerful,” he said.

Supposedly we have some “allies,” but today’s news says “not really.”  Those closest to the problem — Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the Gulf states, etc. — are the most lukewarm of all.  The United Nations, which one would think is the proper place to plan an organized response? Well, we are the Imperial United States of America.  We don’t need no stinkin’ UN. We’ll go anywhere we want, and bomb anyone we want, and kill any number of women and children that we want, and our President doesn’t even have to ask for a declaration of war from Congress.

So right there we see that this latest escalation fails the Catholic just war tests: it has not been declared by lawful authority, because the Constitution clearly states that only Congress can declare war.

The end result?  Well, years ago I predicted that no good would come from our intervention in Iraq and that in fact we would drive the situation from bad to worse.  And that is what will happen here. Tomorrow and the day after will bring even more terror nightmares.  If we wanted a better result for Iraq, we should have started by NOT invading the country back in 2003. It’s hard to remember, since its been all of 13 years ago. . . but Iraq did not attack us on September 11, 2001.  Our war against them was the result of deliberate lies told by the Tyrant Emperor George Bush II  — the same man that Catholic leaders such as His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, proclaimed as the “most pro-life president ever.”

I checked the US bishops’ website, and there’s nothing there about this latest splendid little war, which alas is all too typical of the moral cowardice of the US Catholic Bishops when it comes to the Splendid Little Wars of the American Imperium.

The pro-war propaganda crusade is well advanced.  Some of its elements were documented by Daniel Nichols  at his blog, Caelum et Terra in a post “The Drums of War.”

This news brings a certain poignancy to this last novena in our 81 days of summer novenas for justice, peace, and Creation — the Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows and Oscar Romero.  We daily pray the prayer I wrote all the way back in 1998 during a previous escalation in the troubles of Iraq.  How great the judgment United States is accumulating, as we continue to sow bitter seeds in furrows of injustice.  When it falls upon us, we will all wish we had made better choices.

Our Lady of Sorrows, most holy and afflicted mother of martyrs, you stood beneath the cross and witnessed the agony of your dying Son. We pray for those who will die today because of war, economic chaos, injustice, and exploitation, especially the children.

Prepare them for the agony, despair, and terror of the violence that is upon them. Comfort them and hold them close to the bosom of thy Wounded Heart as they drink deeply of the bitter cup which is forced upon them.

Wipe their tears, calm their fears, welcome them to peace and safety. Eternal rest grant to them, and may perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.

O God, call all people to rise in judgment against the the wickedness that brings violence upon the world. Overturn the thrones of tyranny, scatter the unjust, judge the bloody rulers who make the cry of the widow and orphan rise to heaven. Give us your grace and strength to stand against the demonic powers which prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. May peace with justice come to the Persian Gulf. Amen.

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Hope and Despair.

twosmallheartsTomorrow is the last day of the first Novena of the summer Novena of Novenas for Justice, Peace, and Creation. During these nine days, we have prayed the Magnificat of Mary every night, as well as prayers to Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, founders of the Catholic Worker movement, and St. John Chrysostom.

On Monday we begin the second summer Novena, as we call upon Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Martyrs of Latin America as companions in our journey.

The general intention of this Novenas was — for the redemption of structures of violence, oppression, exploitation, and despair with beauty, goodness, mercy and peace. Reparations for all sins against life.

This intention goes right to root of the problem of the world. It is way too easy to do evil and it is often way too difficult to do good. The more we commit evil, the easier it becomes to commit more evil. But the same is true on the other side — the more good we do, the easier it becomes to do more good.

These novenas are not just pious exercises, although I certainly hope that we have an attitude of piety about them. The prayer ultimately is for the conversion of our ways and manners of living. It doesn’t matter if we are new to this journey or have walked it for many decades. There is always more to be done. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God — but we also know that with the Blood of Christ God is reconciling the world to himself.

It’s easy to fall into despair; hope is sometimes a difficult road to walk. Yet it is the path that leads to the peace that passes human understanding. We may not understand the path that is ahead of us. It may lead us to places that are unknown. We may not be able to see very far ahead of us and our steps may thus be tentative and unsure. Nevertheless, even when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit intercedes for us before the Throne of Grace.

The Novena of Novenas is well begun. May God, who has seen fit to set our steps on this path, give us the hope to see us through to the end.

Novena of Novenas for Justice, Peace, and Creation

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100 years ago today, a century of war, bloodshed and agony began with the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand.


Today is a day fraught with many layers of meaning.  It is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  We begin today our “Novena of Novenas for Justice, Peace, and Creation.”  And 100 years ago today, the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand kicked of World War I, which led to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, and all the evil that came after it, and also to the rise of Nazism and all the evil that flowed from that, and World War II, and the U.S. Military Empire, and etc. down a very long line of people dead.

Below is a guest column, authored by Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, one of the leading spiritual guides to the Catholic peace movement, who can be found online at www.centerforchristiannonviolence.org or www.emmanuelcharlesmccarthy.org.

NB:  There are some photographs that accompany this text but for reasons unknown to me I am getting an error message when I try to insert them into this blog post. I have contacted technical assistance and hope to add them soon.  RMW

 AD June 28 1914: May they all rest in peace,through the Mercy of God, who is love

100 years ago today, on June 28,1914, an Orthodox Christian man, Gavrilo Princip, shot and killed a Catholic Christian man, Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. This lit the fuse that the arms dealers, called ‘the merchants of death’ after the war, had been trying to light for some time. A feverish frenzy of mutual homicidal violence and destruction, on a scale never before seen, began to engulf Europe. World War I had commenced.

Approximately 65 million combatants fought in Word War I, each of whom was the precious and beloved child of some mother or father, each of whom was deceived by the rulers of their states and their Churches to believe that what they were embarking upon was a holy war for God and country. Bishops, priests and minister on all sides blessed, in the name of Jesus, their choice to do their manly duty in spreading the heinous conflagration of World War I.

Central Powers: 22,850,000 

  • Germany – 11,000,000
  • Austria-Hungary – 7,800,000
  • Ottoman Empire – 2,850,000
  • Bulgaria – 1,200,000

Allied Powers: 42,632,000 

  • Russia – 12,000,000
  • British Empire – 8,904,000
  • France – 8,410,000
  • Italy – 5,615,000
  • United States – 4,744,000
  • Japan – 800,000
  • Romania – 740,000
  • Serbia – 707,000
  • Belgium – 267,000
  • Greece – 230,000
  • Portugal – 65,000
  • Montenegro – 50,000

With the exception of the Ottoman Empire all the nations on both sides in this campaign of mass human slaughter and destruction were ruled by Christians and had majority Christian populations. 

These were the Christians who in 1914-1918 were “our heroes.” They are all now dead. Each is now where he wanted to put the enemy a hundred years ago—in the grave. So, where are they now besides the grave? Heaven? Hell? Are they now? Who cares now? Who will ever care? But “our heroes” of today, 2014, will never be forgotten! They will forever live in glory in the hearts and minds of future generations. What claptrap! This is just the ancient deceitful patriotic and military propaganda ploy used to snookers young people into laying down their lives, their sanity, their health, their time, their family, the truth taught by Jesus and their consciences for the “state,” and to abandon themselves to the whims and wishes and interests and orders of the local economic, military and political titans.

Starting on this date, a hundred years ago, sixty-five million human beings, mostly Baptized Christians, fell for this lie and went the way of achieving everlasting glory by killing, terrorizing, torturing and maiming tens upon tens of millions of their fellow human beings and fellow Christians—with Jesus as their spiritual support person. These Christian went from glory to glory via homicidal violence in the Verdun, at the Somme, in Ypres, to name but a few stops on the glory road “our heroes” traveled between 1914-1918.

Of course such a road to glory would have been considered asinine by any sane follower of Jesus, if the states and the institutional Churches had not unrelentingly worked together to craft from the cradle the minds and souls of children, through the glorification of militarism, into the lie that the road to glory lay not in unconditional fidelity to the Way of the Nonviolent King of Glory, Jesus, but rather in unconditional obedience to the way to glory as taught by the entrenched sociopaths at the top of the economic, political, military and church institutions of their individual tribes. Such brain washing was so successful because the Churches’ leaders cooperated fully in hardwiring into children the absurdity that the way to glory as taught by the local big shots was the same way to glory as the Way of Jesus. And, as Voltaire with prophetic clarity observed hundreds of years earlier, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” As history makes clear, holy atrocities, Christlike atrocities, as a way to everlasting glory were the bread and butter of WW I. But, there is nothing new here! Atrocities root in absurdities is Constantinian Christianity has engaged in since it came on stage as a faux witness to Jesus and His Way seventeen hundred years ago.

Below is a photo of the grave of Gavrilo Princip at St. Mark’s Orthodox Serbian Cemetery in Sarajevo. As noted above he is the man who fired the first shot in the deranged orgy of homicidal violence that left fourteen million human beings dead and thirty-seven million human beings maimed in a four years period. The cenotaph at the grave was erected in 1914 by the Orthodox Community of St. Mark’s to honor Gavrilo Princip and his fellow assassins, most of whom were executed in 1914. The marker at the gravesite reads, Heroes of Vidovdan. Vidovdan is a Serbian Orthodox religious holiday in honor of St. Vitus, whose feast day is June 28.

Such are the glories of Constantinian Christianity Orthodox style. But Catholic and Protestant Christianity matched in infidelity and in blood the glories of Orthodox Christianity during World War I. The most famous Protestant preacher in the United States at the time was Billy Sunday. He pretty much summed up Protestant infidelity to the Jesus of the Gospels and His Teaching during WW I by exciting crowds of Christians to a fever pitch with such evocative sound bites as, “I tell you brothers and sisters, it is [Kaiser] Bill against Woodrow, Germany against America, Hell against Heaven.”

The American Catholic Church leadership jumped in to do its part in plowing under the road to glory approved and taught by Jesus. On April 18, 1917, Cardinal Gibbons, the Archbishop of Baltimore, wrote in a letter to President Woodrow Wilson, which is signed not only by him but also by all the other U.S. Archbishops. It reads, “We are all true Americans … Inspired by the holy sentiments of truest patriotic fervor and zeal, we stand ready, we and all the flock committed to our keeping, to cooperate in everyway possible with our President and our national government, to the end that the great and holy cause of liberty may triumph. Our people, as ever, will rise as one man to serve the nation.” Cardinal Gibbons, on the threshold of the U.S. entrance into the demented hellhole of WWI in 1917, continually and sternly told Catholics that when war is declared “the duty of a citizen [is] absolute and unreserved obedience to his country’s call.”

In England during WW I the notion of a Christian duty to fight in homicidal warfare was nearly universal among the Anglican clergy. Those expressing Christian pacifism as a possible alternative were virtually nonexistent during the war. In fact, academic history is unable to find a single man who had taken Anglican Orders who denounced the war for the reasons traditionally put forth by those who believed that Jesus was nonviolent and commanded a Way of Nonviolent love of friends and enemies for His disciples. However, the theology that it was a Christian duty to fight for God and King was all but universal among Anglican clergy and their congregations.

In 1915 the Anglican Bishop of London, Arthur Winnington-Ingram, called for the men of England to “band in a great crusade -we cannot deny it- to kill Germans. To kill them, not for the sake of killing, but to save the world; to kill the good as well as the bad; to kill the young men as well as the old, to kill those who have showed kindness to our wounded as well as those fiends who crucified the Canadian sergeant, who superintended the Armenian massacres, who sank the Lusitania… and to kill them

lest the civilization of the world should itself be killed.” His Excellency went further, giving the war a crusading touch the equal of Billy Sunday’s, by adding, “As I have said a thousand times, I look upon it as a war for purity, I look upon everyone who dies in it as a martyr.”

In France belief that Germany was an amoral nation unified not only French Catholics, but also the nation as a whole, and it gave the country a moral obligation to win the war. Modris Eksteins wrote “French clergymen dressed Jesus in khaki and had him firing machine guns. The war became one not of justice but of righteousness. To kill Germans was to purge the world of the Antichrist…and to herald the New Jerusalem.”

In Germany the pulpits and the Christians were inebriated on the same drug of self righteous, homicidal Constantinian Christian violence as were their enemies in France, England, Russia and the United States.

Adolf Hitler at a rally in the Munich Odeonsplatz to celebrate the declaration of war, August 2, 1914. It is the great deception of evil that it convinces people that once they choose it, they can control it.

How blind must the blindness have been of those Christian prelates of distinction—and of no distinction—who believed they could serve two masters, Jesus and a nation engaged in a glorious homicidal orgy? How terrible that they used their office to pied-pipered millions of mothers’ son down the garden path to physical, mental, moral and spiritual destruction—and all in the name of Jesus.

In summing up why he wrote his most recent book, The Great and Holy War: World War I a Religious Crusade, Philip Jenkins says,

The most important thing is to understand what shapes the world’s modern religious history. This story is important for any efforts at interreligious dialogue and understanding. Westerners today often assume that Islam is some dark militaristic doomsday cult because of its willingness to support armed violence, but just a hundred years ago, Christian nations were doing very much the same thing. We don’t have to go back to the Crusades to find eerie parallels among Christians to the jihadi mind set.”

I would add that Christianity today does not even have to go as far back as World War I to find such parallels. Today’s newspaper, secular or Christian, will reveal both a latent and active Christian jihadi mindset among ecclesiastics and laity, for those who have eyes to see and a mind to understand.

In fairness, before concluding this reflection on WW I, it should be specifically noted that Pope Benedict XV (1914-1923) subordinated everything to the moral and evangelical condemnation of war. In language that other Popes have reserved for the Mafia, Benedict XV said to the heads of nations and the world at large,The rulers of the peoples should be satisfied with the ruin already wrought.” To everyone he proclaimed, “You are children of the same Father in Heaven.” In a public Mass at St. Peter’s in July of 1916 at which five thousand children received their First Holy Communion, Benedict XV said to the children and to the world, “You know, my children, how for two long years men who were once innocent and affectionate like you, and are so no longer, have been tearing each other apart and killing each other… May God spare you and your household and the entire world from this.” But alas, what he said and what he called for, “Peace without victory,” the economic, political and military elites on all side, as well as, all clergy on all sides utterly ignored, even his own Catholic bishops and priests.

Your blessing priest, make haste!

For we have no time to waste;

We must be dying, dying, dying,

Our Emperor’s greatness glorifying!

-Bertolt Brecht (Germany, 1917)

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle,” writes George Orwell. One would think that the carnage and agony of World War I, produced and suffered by mostly Christians, would awaken the leadership of the Churches to the fact that it is preposterous and monstrous for them to maintain that war, and the acts that war requires, are consistent with the teaching of Jesus, with the Will and Way of God as reveled by Jesus in the Gospels, with following Jesus, with fidelity to Jesus, with loving Jesus. But, it didn’t and it hasn’t! Why does this depravity, of Churches justifying their communicants participating in war as a way of following Jesus, still find a welcoming abode in the institutional Churches and in the hearts of their leaders? This is a mystery, a mystery only a scintilla short of the mystery of evil itself.

On June 28, 1914, a Christian man killed another Christian man and woman. His Church honors him as a hero for his homicidal deed on behalf of the local Christians. Nothing new here! Christians and Churches have done the same things ten of millions of times during the last seventeen centuries. Open the newspaper for June 28, 2014, and you will find one or many reports of the same charade of glory and faithful discipleship.

I will leave the second last word in this reflection on the hundredth anniversary of the culturally accepted date for the beginning of World War I to Jonathan Dyson, who lived a hundred years before World War I in England. He was a Quaker, who wrote a few well thought out monographs on Christian pacifism and the way of peace. The following is from his An Inquiry into the Accordancy of War:

It is the will of God that war be eventually abolished and Christianity is the means by which this is to occur. Christianity with its present principle and obligations is to produce universal peace. It is because we violate the principle of religion, because we are not what they require us to be, that wars continue.”

The last word belongs to the Word, Jesus:

As He drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If only this day you knew what makes for peace” (Lk 19:41-42)

Emmanuel Charles McCarthy









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