Beliefnet
The Divine Hours of Lent

Until recently, there have been relatively few times in my life when I, as an American, have felt any significant need to separate Phyllis the Christian out from Phyllis the Citizen. I have been consciously and outspokenly grateful for that fact many, many times, in fact. But I no longer have such a blessed unity within myself and between my roles as believer and citizen.
If I had the words to say my revulsion out into public space, I would do so. I lack them. Indeed, I suspect such words do not even exist; and so I must speak out with those I do have.
I hear our politicians when they say that folk like me are bleeding-heart liberals, and I chafe under their scorn. But I am flayed by the whip lashes of ideational torture and I am drowned a hundred times over by Guantanamo’s waterboarding of another human being. Freedom bought at such prices is no freedom. It is only the re-location of horror and the sure pledge of our ultimate and greater degradation as a species.
Always in the past, when I heard the words, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me,” I have understood them only in relation to acts of charity and human kindness. This is the first Lent in my life when I have ever looked at some representation of the crucified and dying Christ and heard the words in their whole, broader, all-encompassing power:
In as much as we do it unto any one of these His brethren, we do it unto Him as surely as did His accusers two millennia ago. And I will not crucify Him again, pray God, with either my vote or my silence.

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