We cited Ernest Becker in yesterday’s DM who alerts us to our capacity, thanks to science and to “authentic religion” (I call that spirituality) to tell the truth about “large scale social lies” that interfere with humanity’s capacity for holiness.
One “large scale social lie” is racism and a refusal to allow children in schools to study the history of slavery because it might render some people “uncomfortable.” Another is pseudo-religion and pseudo-Christianity. Another is fascism masquerading as a bonafide political party.
Another is injustice masquerading as fairness. Another is pseudo jurisprudence resulting in killing of (mostly poor) women masquerading as “right to life”. Another is outlawing the teaching of diversity regarding sexuality, gender, gay and lesbian and trans awareness in schools.
One “large scale social lie” is denial of climate change which seems to be baked into Texan politics even as heat waves are breaking records all over the state. Surely this translates into “cruel and inhuman punishment” in Texan prisons at this time. Kudos to Lawrence O’Donnell for exposing the story on “The Last Word” program on MSNBC Tuesday night this week.
The Texas Tribune informs us that the Texas legislature had a surplus of $32.7 billion to spend on the state’s next two-year budget but lawmakers decided “not to put a penny directly toward cooling dangerous hot prisons.” The House passed a law to put $500 million into cooling prisons that was rejected by the senate.
The current triple digit temperatures in Texas have resulted in “baking prisoners to death,” severe staff shortages and costing taxpayers millions of dollars in wrongful death and civil rights lawsuits. More than two-thirds of Texas’ 100 prisons don’t have air condition in most living areas.*
Half a billion dollars to solve the problem when one has a 32.7 billion dollar surplus does not seem like an exorbitant fix.
Isn’t Texas a state where all kinds of politicians and many citizens claim loudly to be Christians of some kind? Didn’t Jesus say something about treating prisoners and others as one would like to be treated? What happened to that chapter in religion?
If justice is a sign of holiness in our day, injustice is its opposite. It follows that Texas is not only a very hot state these days but a very unjust and unholy and cruel state to live in. Time to rise up and wake up?
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society (2016 edition), pp, xlf.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner image: Fierce Sun. Photo by Photoraymond on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Meditate on being in prison when it is 115 degrees day after day. What does it teach you?
Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society
Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them.
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science. A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics