Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sri Lankan Church Leaders Decry Culture of Violence, Express Sorrow for Not Providing Counter-Spirituality

In a united voice Catholic and Protestant Church leaders condemned the attack on a Sri Lankan Navy vessel by the LTTE (separatist Tamil militants) as they appealed for an end to killings that are going on elsewhere in a “culture of violence that is spreading dangerously and indiscriminately.”

“No one seems to be able to stop the spiral of killing for killing,” the statement said, “No one even takes responsibility for wanting to stop this trend. Different by equally tragic incidents are reported almost daily from various parts of the country, and the North and East in particular.”

“The killing of any human is a judgment on us all,” the statement continues. Whatever the rationale or ideology, any killing is an indication of our failure to live with differences and our inability to find a non-violent, inclusive and civilized way to deal with grievance and conflict.”

Then the church leaders offer a self critical apology. “We are sorry that decades of bloodshed, deprivation and suffering have not provided the counter-spirituality and resolve to respect human life and the dignity of our brothers and sisters of the other ethnic group, religion or political ideology.”

This is a significant statement. If we remove the specific examples of violent events in recent Sri Lankan history, it could have been written by US church leaders, except for the last paragraph. Like Sri Lanka, the US is mired in a culture of violence. Yet, despite the large numbers of across the land, with churches in every little village to every other block in certain cities, we’ve failed to develop and present a counter-spirituality of love.


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