"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and 'Hallelujah' is our song". (Pope John Paul II)
"This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw these things". (Ezekiel 16:46-50)
"For the sake of ten just men, I will not destroy [Sodom]". (Genesis 18:32)
During the early days of my evolution into one of the worst Catholics in the Western Hemisphere, as a child crawling through Quebec's post-Quiet Revolution Catholic school system, I felt fatally attracted to the angry, militant Christ--the one who whips the money-changers out of the Temple with a length of knotted hemp after busting up their tills into splinters, the Christ who snarls "Get thee behind me, Satan!" when his most loyal apostle tries to divert him from his mission. To a fundamentally angry, alienated kid with a taste for extreme states and a longing to see the exterminating power of divine wrath visited upon his enemies, that was totally cool.
What occurred to me much later was the clear thematic unity underlying the only outbursts of outrage the scriptures attribute to Christ. In both cases, sacrifice--our highest duty to God--is being thwarted by the venal and the weak. Peter cannot stand the idea of being without his charismatic leader; he sees the disciples as a gang, and he's terrified of the profound vulnerability Christ is demanding of himself and of his followers. He cannot yet accept that Christ's mission requires total surrender, a ruthless and reckless giving away of self, without hope of any return on investment.
In the Temple, unscrupulous brokers are charging the poorest of the poor extortionate rates for something without which they cannot offer sacrifices to their God, without which they cannot properly worship and, thus, cannot be fully human. The money-changers are essentially robbing their victims of their humanity and turning their lost dignity and violated souls into equity.
It appears that, for Christ, the most odious sin--the one sin vile enough to move even the Prince of Peace to acts of violence--is the sin of forcibly removing from the already wretched their means of being fully human. This was the sin of Sodom--not the orgiastic homosexuality that haunts the lurid fantasies of barking fundamentalist preachers, but that the city, in its "excess of food and prosperous ease...did not aid the poor and needy". From this it follows that those who pursue prosperous ease whilst failing to aid the poor and needy have earned a most notorious soubriquet by dint of prophetic proto-canonical fiat: they are "Sodomites".
To us, they may be "capitalists", or "classical liberals", or "laissez-faire", or "Chicago School", or "neoconservatives", or "libertarians", but, to God (and, incidentally, to the many Evangelical/Pentecostal Biblical literalists who sit in Stephen Harper's caucus), they are Sodomites. And it appears that the ten just men (if so many yet remain) who've managed to stave off divine annihilation on behalf of an ingrate nation have scriptural sanction to bludgeon Canada's money-changers out of our temples--literally.
Thus ask yourself "What would Jesus do?" when formulating an appropriate response to Stephen Harper's government only if you're prepared to wield a baseball bat in illegal ways; it's becoming increasingly difficult to be authentically Christian without risking arrest, and perhaps that's how it should be.
In Stephen Harper's Canada, every day is an anti-Easter--a paschal parody. Instead of an empty tomb and a risen Christ, we get a cultural sepulchre redolent of the stench of Canada's rotting heritage and a national morale plummeting to heretofore unplumbed depths. The latest stage in the descent is the Abousfian Abdelrazik fiasco, a revolting injustice ably documented by dauntless blogger Dr. Dawg and journalist Thomas Walkom (among a very few others).
Basically, Abdelrazik is being refused re-entry into Canada as a "security threat" even though every responsible agency (including the RCMP) says he is not a threat. Harper is keeping the man in a wretched Sudanese exile, where he's spent the last six years--away from his children. There are no charges against him; there's not a shred of evidence to suggest he's done or will do anything remotely harmful to Canadian security. There is only the implacable hatred, corrosive indifference and Stalinist, technocratic arrogance of Harper's External Affairs apparatchiks and Public Safety commissars. To them, Abdelrazik's just another brown-skinned loser of whom there are plenty more where he came from (unfortunately) and who never really belonged here anyway. Good riddance, and the law be damned.
If every injustice re-crucifies Christ (as the Sisters of Notre Dame taught me it did), then this Easter is not just the ritual, abstract memorialising of an event far distant from me in time and space. It is also the hour when faceless government cowards, paid by my wages, sit beneath the suspended bodies of the weak and the poor, not to weep nor offer a draught of vinegar, but to parcel out the sad pieces of their lacerated humanity and to throw dice for whatever about them cannot be ripped into shreds.
Have a chocolate bunny on me, Mr. Harper--you worthless, contemptible pile of ordure.