A Prayer for Our Persecutors (May, 2005)
BY JOHN DEAR
“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who
curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:28)
* * *
A few weeks before he died in 2002, Philip Berrigan was asked what we
could do about George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the U.S.
“We have to do two things,” he answered. “We have to
pray for them and resist them.”
That parting wisdom sums up the mission before us, to pray for our persecutors,
bless the warmakers, and resist them with all our strength and love by
opposing their wars, weapons, greed, injustices, and environmental destruction.
In that Spirit, here goes then:
God of peace, bless the mass murderers who organize the deaths of millions
of your suffering people from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine to Haiti,
Sudan and Colombia, who ignore the cry of the poor from Africa to Latin
America, who heed the voice of the superrich, who lead the world toward
the brink of destruction, specifically, namely, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney,
Donald Rumsfeld, and their killers, these modern day Caesars and Pilates
who crucify the world’s poor.
Bless all those in the U.S. imperial forces, the Joint Chiefs, the generals,
the commanders, the bombers, the bombmakers, the pilots, the obedient
soldiers, the recruiters, the marines, the torturers, the CIA agents,
all who kill, who promote killing, who organize the killing, who order
the killing, who fund the killing, all servants of death.
Bless all murderers and warmakers around the world, all who blow people
up, who use violence for revolution or political gain, all who profit
from war, all the corporate billionaires and their lawyers.
Bless those morally retarded, possessed, law abiding, obedient citizens
who build and maintain nuclear weapons at Los Alamos, Livermore Labs,
Oak Ridge, and elsewhere. Bless those who guard the nuclear bunkers, manage
them, and prepare to push the button.
Bless the executioners on death row, the judges who sentence people to
death, the lawyers and prosecutors who legalize murder.
Bless all Wall Street brokers and bankers and businessmen and corporate
executives who reap a profit off the poverty, misery, squalor, hunger
and death of the world’s poor.
Bless all the brutalized and brutalizing in prisons, all police officers,
FBI agents, immigration agents, marshals, prison guards, sheriffs, and
law officers who hurt and imprison your victimized people.
Bless all the senators, congress people, governors and Chief Justices
who run the American empire which crushes and kills people everywhere.
Bless all racists, all sexist men, all who hurt children, all who refuse
to love, all who shut people out, all who dehumanize others, and all the
pharmaceutical and insurance company managers who oppose universal healthcare,
who prevent free medicine from healing those with AIDS and HIV.
Bless the editors, reporters, news anchors and advertisers who run the
media which supports the culture of war, who publish the myths, tell the
lies and announce the bad news, who look for profit instead of searching
Bless those who destroy the earth, who bulldoze the rain forests, who
run the logging companies, who steal the oil, who pollute the air, poison
the oceans, hunt your creatures, destroy the ozone, operate nuclear power
plants, radiate your land, risk global warming and spread the plague of
cancer through their nuclear industries.
Bless all the empire’s chaplains who honor the forces of war with
your name, all the mean priests, bully ministers, law and order bishops,
cardinals and popes who love power more than you, who punish and condemn,
who refuse to welcome and forgive, who seek control and domination instead
of your reign of justice, equality and peace.
Forgive them. They know not what they do.
May we all resist the structures of violence and makers of war.
May we all be converted to the wisdom of nonviolence, compassion and
May we all one day be blessed with the gift of your peace, a new world
without war, hunger, poverty, injustice or nuclear weapons. Amen.
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