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A Rainbow of Spirituality

A Conversation Between An Indian Chief And The Pope

An interesting conversation that could have taken place between an Indian Chief and The Pope several centuries ago.

Chief: Your Holiness, in the Jewish people's Old Testament, Moses wrote down on a stone tablet the instructions that the Great Mysterious wanted the Jewish people to follow. One of them says, "Thou shalt not kill." Your people, the Catholics, along with other Christians believe this Old Testament to be the Word of God. I have been taught that this is the same God who is the Father of Jesus. Jesus also taught that one should not kill, that one should turn the other cheek, and that one should forgive seventy times seven. Why then have you and your predecessors condoned, encouraged, and, indeed, been the driving force behind so many wars? Why did you kill millions in the so-called New World in the name of Jesus? And, why are you continuing to do so?

Pope: It is not so easy, my child. Jesus also said, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" and that includes the right to wage war. You must remember that there is a difference between the sacred and the secular.

Chief: I have never seen any difference, your Holiness. A tree is just as much a part of the Creator's Creation as I am. When I lead my people, I am responsible to do so by the instructions given our own people by the Creator. Do you mean to tell me that the State or a Caesar can take moral precedence over the Creator's instructions? That makes no sense to me! The Creator does not talk with a forked tongue.

You have great power, your Holiness. Why do you not make killing in a war what you call a cardinal sin? Just think of all the lives that could have been saved over the centuries and in the future!

Pope: Well, people have a right to defend themselves against aggression. Your people certainly have.

Chief: I agree with you - people have a right to defend themselves against aggression. So why not make it a sin to fight an agressive or offensive war?

This conversation could continue a long, long time, no doubt. Our chiefs could never separate the sacred from any other aspect of life, whereas Christian leaders seem to be forever afraid to morally confront the secular rulers by taking a moral stance for the salvation of their people.

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