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.
Return to Native American Religion
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
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
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